Those words resonated deep within my soul this weekend, after hearing about the death of Chadwick Boseman.
How did a global superstar – who portrayed historical icons Jackie Robinson, James Brown, Thurgood Marshall, and the revolutionary King T’Challa (aka Black Panther) – keep such a secret for four years?
How did he continue to film blockbusters while battling colon cancer?
How did he keep focus?
I have no answers to those questions, but his private struggle with the devastating disease could not have been easy. His determination to visit and encourage children fighting cancer while privately fighting the disease himself is awe-inspiring.
What I do know is that sometimes the people with the biggest smiles are struggling the most. What I do know is someone somewhere is going through something.
That is why it pays to be kind, to say a prayer, to share a hug, to be a blessing to someone.
Last night, I traveled (via television) to that fictional country of Wakanda – Black Panther’s home nation — built on Vibranium, a fictional metal known for its extraordinary abilities to absorb, store, and release large amounts of kinetic energy.
Right now, amid all the chaos in our world, we could all use our own personal Vibranium to build a world that is stronger, better, and more just.
As I prepare to participate in a year-long spiritual development adventure with the Wellstreams program, I want to share with you what has led me to this moment. But first, let me explain that the Wellstreams program is about deepening one’s spiritual life and awakening to self, to others, and to God, and expanding one’s wisdom. The program “fosters discernment and provides education for those who may feel called to the practice of spiritual direction.”
I started the program once before, many years ago, but was not in a space to continue the program. So this time I needed to discern my readiness and willingness to commit to this opportunity for growth and transformation. Being like the doubting disciple Thomas, my fears about what this journey to the core would require made me question whether I had “the stuff” to be part of this journey with others. My internal dialogue was working overtime to cast doubts about my being “good enough” or “spiritual enough” to be part of this program. While this dialogue still plagues me, my desire to give this time to God, to let God work in me and to be open to whatever God wants to do in me is stronger than these doubts.
During my discernment process, I came to realize also that to move forward and to open myself to possibilities, I needed to take a leap of faith. And so it is that I embark now on this journey, knowing that this program will likely offer opportunities to be stretched, to develop compassion, and to deepen my awareness, appreciation, and acceptance of self and others, and to nurture my relationship with the Divine.
This journey to the core, to understanding who I am (not who I should be), who God is for me, and who God desires me to be, are the strongest pulls for my participating in this program. I trust that it will be an unfolding journey of discovery, mystery, connection, freedom, and groundedness. To connect with and reach this core, I know I will need to be open and vulnerable, something that I have learned to do through writing these blogs and slowly through my own work with my spiritual director.
You might say that my journey to the core is similar to the discernment journey to understanding if God is calling a woman to religious life as a Sister. In both journeys, God speaks to us through our desires and calls us to be who we are meant to be, and invites us to go where we can best be ourselves, knowing God is always with us wherever we are.
If you are feeling called by God, cast aside any fears you might have about religious life and contact us to explore if God is calling you to become a Sister.
Also, we invite you to join us also for a virtual discernment retreat, September 11-13, 2020, which we are hosting via Zoom. Spend some time with us praying and talking with our Sisters, sharing with other women of FAITH, discovering God’s PURPOSE for your life, and enjoying an experience of COMMUNITY online. Click here If interested in this retreat or contact Sr. Bea Tiboldi, OP at firstname.lastname@example.org for details about this free retreat opportunity!
Those of us who are labeled “Baby Boomers”, those folks born between the years 1946 and 1964, are legion and are living longer so we are impacting all levels of our economy, our society, our churches.
We benefited from the “The Greatest Generation” returning from WWII and moving the economy into an incredible upward trend, again at all levels. We blew it in the 80s when we got greedy and now are facing our role in Climate Change, the housing market, the bank closures, the educational system, and so much more; and an awful lot of us are in denial of our responsibility for these things.
But we are also “Busters” of some of the myths around what has made our country great. Yes, maybe we do argue with the younger generation too much and try to make them think the same ways we all used to, but some of us are truly “woke” (that is not a typo), and we are the inheritors of Vatican II, the Civil Rights act, anti-war protests, questioning everything and anyone in authority. We cannot and will not take anything for granted anymore.
We have read and learned more about the “sin history” of this country than we ever did in our classrooms of the 50s, 60s, and 70s; a lot of us don’t know what to do with this new found knowledge. It has been frightening, disturbing, uncomfortable to say the least. But we have been learning it and have decisions to make. What will we do with what we now know and how can we use what we now know to make a difference?
As always, I have turned to reading and have found books I never saw before but maybe that was only because I am ready for them now. Among them are Walking with the Wind a memoir by John Lewis. Stamped from the Beginning by Ibraim Kendi and Fire on the Mountain by James Baldwin. We thought we were pretty cool in the 60s when our class had to read Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin. I remember being present in Washington in 1972 for the inaugural Mass celebrating the creation of the National Office of Black Catholics, and it took me a long while to understand the need for such an office. I mean, wasn’t a Catholic a Catholic? Little did we know we had barely scratched the surface of race relations, racism and what it really meant to be white.
If we persist in our resistance to inform ourselves, to “re-educate” ourselves, we will never understand why athletes kneel on their playing fields; why “All Lives Matter” is really a sign of ignorance not of support; why avoiding difficult conversations about race or LGBTQ issues or the right to life in all of its aspects will achieve nothing.
As Dominicans we are challenged to do our homework and by the principle of disputatio which expects us to listen to all sides, to hear all sides. True practice of this leads us deeper and challenges us to listen more deeply. It does not demand that we agree with everything we hear but that we have learned where someone is really rooted. How many of us just throw up our hands, shake our heads, walk away and consider the other person too liberal or too conservative and pretty much a lost cause? As Dominicans we must challenge others, family, friends and other Dominicans to make sure that what we are preaching is giving the message of truth and not just of “well this is how I learned it” and “so it must be true”. All around us so many are fearful, feeling hopeless and having great doubts about how God could really be present in the midst of all this. So, we have a great challenge facing us as women and men of the Truth. God is good!
The Season of Creation is an annual celebration of prayer and action to protect creation. It runs from Sept. 1 – Oct. 4. September 1 was proclaimed as a day of prayer for creation (World Day of Prayer) by Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios I for the Orthodox in 1989. Other Christian European churches embraced it in 2001 and Pope Francis for the Roman Catholic Church in 2015.
Laudato Si’ Week was held in May which was the first step in a year-long journey to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Laudato Si’, On Care of Our Common Home. It is a time to care for the most vulnerable and restore the connections that make us whole.
Pope Francis invites us to join the annual celebration of prayer and action for our common home. The Pope says “this is the season for letting our prayer life be inspired anew. To reflect on lifestyles, and to undertake prophetic acts of creation. It’s time to call for courageous decisions and direct the planet toward life, not death.”
Please join us each week as we focus on a theme for prayer, reflection, and action.
CMN invites you for a series of two Virtual Prayer Vigils next week, as we lament the latest round of executions in the federal government’s campaign to ramp up the practice of capital punishment. Lezmond Mitchell is set to be executed on August 26, followed by Keith Dwayne Nelson on August 28.
Together we will hold in prayer the victims (Alyce Slim, Tiffany Lee, and Pamela Butler), their loved ones, and all those who will be impacted by these acts of state-sanctioned violence. Find more information below:
Virtual Prayer Vigil for Lezmond Mitchell with Bishop James S. Wall of Gallup, New Mexico
Wednesday, August 26 | 2-3 pm EDT
Virtual Prayer Vigil for Keith Dwayne Nelson
Friday, August 28 | 2-3 pm EDT
NYT Book Review – White Too Long
This thought-provoking book by Robert P. Jones presents a stark choice: Hold onto white Christianity or hold onto Jesus. Read the review here.
League of Women Voters has information on how to protect the 2020 election
Intercommunity of Social Justice Summer newsletter, “A Matter of Spirit,” provides resources that discuss the democratic process, the spread of misinformation, voter suppression, and respectful dialogue to promote unity
Interfaith Power and Light’s Democracy and Values & the 2020 Election Reflection Guide
Read Stacy Abrams Sojourners’ article on voting: “We’ve Got To Talk About Power: How to outsmart the deliberate barriers placed in voters’ way”