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In Spirit and in Truth

[caption id="attachment_5633" align="alignright" width="300"] Blog by Sr. Janet Schlichting[/caption] Dominicans have three mottoes. One is “Veritas,” another is “to Praise, to Bless, to Preach,” and another, “To share the fruits of contemplation.”  As Sisters of Peace, we share also in the hopes of being, building, and preaching peace, as we lean into the future, voices for Truth. But in this season of primary elections and the threats and miseries of the world, the instant news, and a cacophony of assertions, denials, insults and hate-speech, have us wearied and confused. I keep pondering “Veritas.” Truth.  God’s truth. Is it so humanly compromised, so twisted by the spin masters and the plots of the power brokers that we’re never sure enough of it to witness to it? Our Easter scriptures offer us such contrast. We hear Jesus promising his disciples the Spirit who will lead them in speaking God’s truth and life with boldness. In the Acts of the Apostles, we hear again of the Spirit’s coming as Activator of Jesus’ Resurrection and Transformer of hearts. We witness the joys and struggles of a Spirit-empowered group of believers trying to work out the ways they will live together and practice this new life, this radical energy, which is forming them as the church expands. The Spirit of Pentecost is palpably at work. And we are participants in that Grace, no less consecrated in Divine truth--but how shall we bear witness in today’s “too-muchness?” T.S. Eliot has written that “humans cannot bear much reality.” Our coping with life seems to require some distancing, some small relief from Truth’s demands. Christians know that on our own we don’t have much space for the “All” of God’s fullness. We don’t live easily in close proximity to the God who we fear will overcome us, transform us and send us out before we can get it all together. Individually and collectively humans put up defenses by which we actually deny ourselves access to our deeper truth and God’s patient ways, and with time we have established “religion”--boundaries, hard-edged doctrines and set words and rituals, snares for the free-flow of Spirit, and defense against the possibility of  transformation. The ongoing remedy for our fears and tongue-tiedness are the “Pillars” of Dominican life: Study, Prayer, Common life, Preaching/mission. Together, we study the human situation and its workings, with the conviction that there is such a thing as truth, God’s truth and in our education of each other we have access to something larger than ourselves. We give ourselves to Contemplation, where we open what we can of ourselves to give God space and time to loosen some of our chains, and overcome our fears with love. Community life is the place where we gather and summon the Spirit to work its power and energy among us, bringing life and hope to each other in our shared knowledge and vulnerability, celebrating a new time of Pentecost. Thus fortified, with Christ and Dominic, we send each other again, renewed and empowered by the Word shared, for the life of the world. On a poster I saw some years ago, a Raggedy Ann was being put through a mangle, and the caption read: “The truth will set you free…but first, it will make you miserable.” Our humanity guarantees our falling short in our grasp of Holy Reality, but there is a wonderful invitation there—a reason to listen to each other with care, to try to tame our defensiveness, to live at peace even without clarity, and to happily surrender to the nature our creator has granted us: a  blessed humanness, shared and redeemed by Christ. Truth abounds. It cannot be conquered and it will not be tamed. Go and Tell.

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