Yesterday we celebrated the Feast of Epiphany: the Magi, captivated by an extraordinary shining star, studied it, and then followed its lead until they found the Christ child revealed to them as God-with-us. With gladness they worshiped and offered their most precious gifts. As I reflected on this familiar story, I thought of all the “shining stars” of my life that led me to an “epiphany” or revelation of God-with-me, bringing me to my knees (spiritually, if not physically) in joy, gratitude, adoration, and self-giving.
My older sister, Ruth, had first met Sr. Catherine Miller, OP, a Dominican Sister teaching at her high school run by Precious Blood Sisters (Adorers of the Blood of Christ). Attracted and captivated by her, she came home insisting that I must meet this Dominican! So as a teenager Ruth, like the Magi’s star, led me to the first Dominican Sister I met – Sr. Catherine. Radiating joy and love, Catherine then became the “bright star” that not only attracted me, but also led me to the Great Bend Dominicans, where I found God-among-us and offered my most precious gift – my life! There have been many other “bright stars” that have appeared in my life and called me to journeys beyond my familiar comfort zones.
Reflecting on My Story
On January 6, 2017, Srs. Cathy Arnold, OP; Ana Gonzales and I were featured speakers at the Akron First Friday Club dinner, along with Sr. Catherine Walsh, CSA. Our assigned topic was “The Joys and Challenges of Religious Life.” We decided that each of us would start by telling our own vocation story. As I prepared for my part, I spent much time recalling the path that led me to become a Dominican and reviewing my whole life, noting the joys and challenges of my journey as a vowed religious Sister. Knowing we each had a maximum of 10 minutes to share our story, I spent much time writing and rewriting my notes to stay within my time limits. [A podcast of these talks will soon be available on the First Friday Club of Greater Akron website > Podcasts.]
The time I spent preparing for this talk stirred up in me a great appreciation for the “shining stars” who led me to important revelatory and growth times in my life journey, as well as a deep gratitude for all the grace-filled joys and challenges that have enriched my life. During this week as you enjoy King cake, celebrate the opening of Mardi Gras season, or simply settle into ordinary time, I encourage you to take a little time to remember, rejoice, and give thanks for the “shining stars and epiphanies” of your life.
“It is not happiness that makes us grateful, it is gratefulness that makes us happy.” ~ Br. David Steindl-Rast.