Saturday, February 28, 2015

Welcome....

 
Those who know me well, know that I LOVE the color purple.  It can be found on my shoes, sheets, water bottle, pajamas, backpack, pens and much more.  So, when I came home from mass this evening and found this outside my bedroom door with a little note from one of my fellow novices it certianly caught my eye.

Then I took this picture and I was struck by the imagery of a slightly cracked door and a mat outside it....as if it said welcome...take off your shoes....come on in......  Seems to me like that's the invitation we have from God during this Lenten season too.

Maybe this Lent is your opportunity to lay out the welcome mat for yourself take a long, loving look at your heart.
Do you need to do some room by room re-organizing?
Do you simply need to be at home with who you are as a welcomed daughter or son of God?

Maybe you need to "leave something at the door" and enter into a new doorway ready to be embraced by our loving and compassionate God.

The Good News is that while our doors may open and close......God's door is ALWAYS open and the welcome mat will ALWAYS be rolled out for YOU!  God knows just what color to make your welcome mat too!
   


Sunday, February 22, 2015

An echo from time




             When I was in a home Congregation visiting time, I had a schedule to visit and spend time with my Sisters at the Mother-House. It was only some months living far from California, but I felt as if I lived far from home much longer.  I even went around garden and all trails inside mother house area. I felt, maybe each old olive trees still carry some story which I should know when I am learning about the Dominicans and Mission of San Jose.
            When I was staying there, a sister asked me to read Christmas cards and letters for some of our sisters in a care center. Thus, I read Christmas cards and letters for Sister X. There were many Christmas cards and letters were sent to her for Christmas and the New Year.  She is an old sister, who is on a wheelchair. She is very nice but talks very little. I had known her a long time, but I only heard she say, “yes, I am fine, thank you” at any time I visited sisters at care center. Thus, I thought that she is very old and that she is losing her much memory so she speaks very little. 
             When I read letters and Christmas cards for her, I stopped many times for her to share. We had much smiles, surprises, sharing, comments and laughs in our conversation. She often put her hands on her chest as she was hold some one when she expressed “oh how sweet it is”, or “how nice she/he is”.
            There were so many things she shared with me. She brought me one surprise to another.  She shared with me about how she knew them, how long have they been in relationship, how many beautiful and good things this person did, that person did. Where this or that person wrote to her about what they did, what they saw when they traveled etc. They kept that style of sharing with her for many years to now.
            After that day, I did not remember much of what she told me, and I don’t need to remember. However, I remember some things, her smile, her gentle voice, her excitement at sharing, and the happiness on her face at that time. All those things helped me to see her beauty within. I did not ask about or know her past, but through these things, I can see herself in her past. She must have been a very nice, simple and easy going person, because she left good memories and love in her students’ heart. Today, her students have grown up, they have gone to many places. They have already met many interesting persons, but they still think of her and write to her about their interesting moments.
             In our care center, she is a nice and silent person. Seeing that, I believe she must be very good in her prayer.  I imagined that in the flower garden of God, she is a small elegant rose, which hides itself under other leaves, but when persons find it, they will discover this flower is so beautiful. It produces much good scent around.
            After meeting with her, I directly go to the chapel to silence myself in front of God. I thank God for giving me a chance to meet and know her more. Her life appears so beautiful to my eyes and mind. I thought that she was a person who left a lot of flowers on places where her foot steps passed by.
             I often saw she was sleeping, when I returned to see her on some other days. Thus, I did not finish reading Christmas cards and letters for her when I was at mother house. However, it was enough for me to see her past and her beautiful world inside of her. I stayed a little time in her room to look at her, when she was sleeping. She was sleeping in peace with gentle breaths. Her body is very slim, which gave me a feeling that her life is very fragrant on this earth. However, this world is more beautiful because of her presence. I thank God for her life. In silence of my heart in her room, I thank her for what she did and how she lived. I thank her for being my older sister who goes ahead of me. Now, I can see her story, not by words, but by my feelings, my discovering through some pieces of story and letter, which were sent to her last Christmas. I can hear an echo from time to me through meeting and working with her. Dear Sister X and other old Sisters, you are blessing for me. Thank you.


Monday, February 16, 2015

In Love and I Don't Care Who Knows It


So, how’s your love life these days?  Mine’s AWESOME.




But, um… sister?  You’re celibate.  What do you mean, your love life?

Glad you asked.  As it turns out, “Religious chastity is rooted in the commandment to love given to us by Jesus: ‘Love one another.  Such as my love has been for you, so must your love be for each other (John 13:34).  By vowing total chastity… We seek to make ourselves available to others in non-exclusive love and hope to give witness to the unconditional love of God.”

Although these lines are from the constitution of the Sinsinawa congregation, I’d be willing to bet the other CDN novices and directors have near-identical passages in their constitutions.  It’s really a beautiful part of the document, and one that I’m coming to embrace in a deeper way.  There's much more to celibacy than sacrifice, but that seems to be all many people can see at first.

Sure, celibacy does entail sacrifice.  In discerning this life, I’m discerning saying no to a certain kind of intimacy, to having a life partner and children of my own, and even to a certain amount of autonomy.  But is it all about “no?”  NO!

Consecrated celibacy is mostly about yes.  It is, first and foremost, a yes to God’s incomprehensible love for me.  It’s a yes to responding to the needs of God’s beautiful and broken world, wherever that may take me.  It’s a yes to the myriad relationships this life has to offer: friendship and sisterhood and community and…

Sometimes celibacy is even a yes to looking ridiculous 
as you "Just Dance" with other young sistas.

The past few weeks have provided me with ample opportunity to reflect upon and experience the beauty of this yes.  We attended a multi-day workshop on sexuality and celibacy, celebrated Valentine’s Day with some serious young nun fun, and celebrated Tet (Vietnamese New Year) in our community.  

As I reflect on the richness of all these experiences, and I’m realizing more deeply just how freeing this life is for me.  This doesn't hold true for everyone (which is cause for celebration, because life would be super boring without a variety of vocations), but in my case, I believe that religious life really does free me to love more abundantly and fruitfully.  And in the end, isn't that all God asks of us?


Speaking of abundant and fruitful… 
our Tet tree of blessings.

Friday, February 13, 2015