Looking to become more “double-minded”?

Blog by Sr. Cathy Arnold, OP

As I was recycling some of my old folders and papers, I came across an editorial I saved from 2011. Written by Gregory Rodriguez of the LA Times, he made two significant points in the article.

  1. First, he encourages us to become “double-minded,” that is, to learn and practice the skill of taking into account the feelings of another, of practicing empathy.
  2. Secondly, he notes that the way we can learn to develop our better selves is to follow the example of the poet, Matthew Arnold (no relation as far as I know) of 19th century England. Arnold encouraged people to engage with the arts, the humanities, and literature, especially with experiences that do not try to persuade people to a particular way of thinking. The pursuit of culture equaled the pursuit of the better self in Arnold’s mind. Rodriguez notes also that “great art and ideas can elevate us above pettiness and teach us empathy.”

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Posted in God Calling?

Daydreaming’s Gifts

Blog by Associate Mary Ellen George, OPA

A moment of just being

I like sitting in this one recliner at home because it offers me a place to just be – to be alone with my thoughts, and to just let whatever transpires to wash over me. Sometimes I fall asleep while reclining, sometimes I muse over the day’s events, and sometimes I just daydream, pondering whatever fills my mind and soul. Indulging in these moments of quietude can reveal memories both from the past and the present, from forgotten memories to memories I’d like to forget, and from joyous times to painful or challenging times. Always, however, these moments of just being fill me with the desire for more silent moments to rest in what I perceive as my moments of being in a holy presence. Continue reading →

Posted in God Calling?, News

Overcoming Hardships…Finding an Inner Light

Blog by Associate Mary Ellen George, OPA

Hearing anyone’s story of hardship and pain is never easy. Recently, someone shared with me her childhood and adulthood struggle with feeling rejected and abandoned by her parents, friends and God. As a child, after her parents were divorced, she lived with a foster mother who was abusive and treated her unkindly. Later, in her teens, she was reunited with her father when he remarried and a new family was formed. But, she still found it difficult to bond with both her father and stepmother. As a young adult, she moved away to another state to start a new life, living in hostels and in homeless camps and shelters for a while.

Lonely but Never Alone

Desperate to find food and housing, she was directed by a human services agency to a church that had a food bank and offered community meals. She went to the church, lonely and withdrawn, sitting in a corner by herself, when the pastor’s spouse (George) sat down beside her and expressed concern about her. He encouraged her to come back because he didn’t want her to feel lonely and wanted her to know that she was not alone in her journey. (She had been having nightmares that she was truly alone in the universe and abandoned by God and everyone.) Continue reading →

Posted in God Calling?, News

Wondering What Love is About?

Blog by Associate Mary Ellen George, OPA
Blog by Associate Mary Ellen George, OPA

In First Corinthians, you can find many passages about love. Most commonly known to many is the passage, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” in 1 Corinthians 13:7. I invite you to take a moment with me to think about what each of these proclamations might call forth from us as we reflect on what love entails.

Love Bears All Things

By bearing or sharing each other’s concerns within our hearts, we open ourselves to being God’s instrument of hope and peace to a hurting world. We enter into a space of being with and being in solidarity with another, where oftentimes we are the ones who are transformed. Compassion and empathy can be borne from honoring the trust placed in us to share another person’s concerns. Continue reading →

Posted in God Calling?, News

I Believe…And So Can You

Blog by Associate Mary Ellen George, OPA
Blog by Associate Mary Ellen George, OPA

Many years ago, when I was struggling with what my beliefs were, a spiritual director suggested that I sit down, put on some good music, and just write down what emerged to complete the refrain, “I believe…” In short, she encouraged me to write my own credo of beliefs. I’ve been searching the last few days for this credo and saddened that I can’t “find these beliefs” to share with you from this time ago. Perhaps this “loss” offers a lesson in letting go to discover a new emergence where God can speak to me now. So, I offer this “in the moment” reflection of my beliefs, along with an invitation to you to take a few moments to write your own credo of beliefs.

I believe in the inherent goodness of humanity.
I believe we are called to serve one another.

I believe in silence to connect with ourselves and with God.
I believe peace is possible when we can let go of our differences.

I believe music can lift up and feed the soul and bring communities together.
I believe in the creative abilities of human beings to envision and share a better world.

I believe faith is borne from trusting in God’s providence.
I believe that God can recreate in me a new heart, open to endless possibilities.

I believe that breakdowns can bring about breakthroughs.
I believe that God’s presence surrounds us and enfolds us in love.

I believe that cats are a woman’s best friend.

Once you start this reflection, I think you will find a peace and calmness around your experience of writing your beliefs and that the writing process takes on a life-giving form of its own.

If you believe that God may be calling you to religious life as a Sister, I invite you to contact one of our Vocation Ministers, who will be happy to discern this call with you.

Posted in God Calling?