Wednesday’s Word

Be inspired and encouraged with a weekly reflection on God’s Word and every day life.


 

Women Who Glow

Blog by Sr. Anne Lythgoe, OP

On Saturday, I drove from Columbus to Dayton in a wicked rainstorm, the kind that involves giant blinding sprays of mist flying off tractor-trailer trucks; and cars that whizz by as if they were speeding to a hospital. It was a tense white-knuckle trip.  I had hoped to spend some easy quiet time in the car to contemplate my blog topic that was coming due.   Instead, I kept reminding myself just to breathe.

I safely arrived at a clay supply shop— a heaven for potters, offering every tool, gadget, glaze, clay, book, or equipment you can imagine. A small Home Depot for potters. My mission was to purchase clay (200 pounds), find a liner brush I needed, and talk about a project I am thinking about with Erin, the owner, who stood behind the counter.

We talked about brushes and underglazes, and a workshop I might attend, and the subject turned to her due date — I realized Erin is pregnant, due in April. Then I saw it. Her glow.  You have probably seen this in pregnant women too, or maybe you have experienced it yourself as a mother.  Women who glow have a wonderful and mystical light within them. Erin was glowing as she anticipated the day she would give birth. I felt gifted by her light. I thought of Mary: My being proclaimed the greatness of God and my spirit finds joy in God, my Savior. Joy, the authentic expression of God with us. That is what I experienced in Erin.

Frequently in religious art, this glow is depicted with Mary surrounded by light. This special glow, this captivating energy and light, accompanied Mary and Elizabeth as they shared a precious few months together. Mary came to visit and to help Elizabeth in her pregnancy. What did they talk about? Did they smile together as they described to each other the reaction of Joseph and Zachariah to the news of their pregnancy? Mary probably did the heavy lifting of firewood, or carried water from the well for her elderly cousin. Did she milk the goats for Elizabeth? Elizabeth might have shared with Mary some of her kitchen secrets. Two pregnant women— whose life inside was mysteriously given and known to be of God—talking about herbs and spices.

When did Zachariah notice the glow in Elizabeth when her pregnancy began to show? Did the innkeeper see the glow in Mary when she and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem looking for shelter?

Would we be here if it were not for the power of the relationship between these two women centuries ago? Would Mary have had the courage and capacity to be the mother of Jesus if she did not have the companionship and wisdom of Elizabeth? Elizabeth, who, in a much more hidden and secondary way, was pregnant by the same kind of miracle. An old woman, who probably had given up on having children thinking to herself —what had she done that God would give up on her? Then she felt her child kick when Mary appeared at her door. Joy!

Two women —who glowed with inner light, basking in the joy of knowing God with them —two women who changed the world. So a word for this Christmas Season could be: never underestimate the transformative power of these two women, whose trust in God reaches across centuries inviting us to the same faith, the same trust that God is with us.  May you glow this Christmas.

Posted in News, Wednesday's Word

Advent: Seeing Promise in the Meanwhile

Blog by Sr. Janet Schlichting

An amazingly long time ago, in high school, I began learning guitar. For us starry-eyed “boomers”  there were a number of folk songs that were relatively simple chord-wise so could be learned quickly—and had social messages: “ Where have all the flowers gone,” “Blowing in the wind.” One I loved playing (three easy chords) was ”I can see a new day, a new day soon to be/where the storm clouds are all past/ and the sun shines on a world that is free…”

It was, like our Advent scriptures, a presentation of a vision. And the Hebrew scriptures, especially the prophets and the psalms, are replete with hopes rendered in concrete images. The wolf shall be the guest of the lamb—or as the painter Rousseau rendered the Peaceable Kingdom—a host of God’s creatures, predator and prey,  lying serenely together, surrounded by verdant jungle. More images: valleys made high and mountains made low, the crooked ways straight. The people streaming from East and West to God’s holy mountain, the shining city and the bountiful feast of rich foods and choice wines.

“Blessed are the eyes that see what you see….many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and hear what you hear, but did not hear it.” (Luke 10:24)

Sometimes, in the increasing toxicity of the world we inhabit today, we’re tempted to close our eyes to all but the small safe havens we’ve built for ourselves, or to surrender to the endless battering from a world of troubles, and view the future as threatening darkness and use the present for simmering in resentment;  abandon our capacity for envisioning  peace and reconciliation, or the coming together of enemies—sheep and wolves, Palestinians and Israelis, Saudis and Yemenis, Republicans and Democrats….

But the truth is, we can and must see.  Our widening, deepening vision is a gift and task of our Baptism and our Dominican profession.  We see the weapons, the rubble, the starvation, the pollution and ruination of earth. But our Christian vision allows us the perspective of hope, that capacity to see beyond, to see more deeply, and recognize that even now, as we wait, Christ comes to us, among us, through us, in simple shimmerings of Incarnation and Redemption—small graces in words and actions of love and mercy, everyday kindnesses, contrition and forgiveness, a bandaid, a kleenex.  We view life with “gospel-tinted lenses.”  And we announce the Good News.

Advent is longing and yearning, hunger and thirst, darkness expecting sunrise, the mystery of “already and not yet.”  A Holy Interim between the First Pentecost and Last Advent, the dawning of creation and the dawning of New Creation. Advent bids us to preach God’s promised future, and to bring hope and joy to voice, even as we contemplate our own weak faith and eroding patience. Advent bids us not to turn away from the world but to trust that light can be found there, and to stand firm in our common human struggle for truth, take it to heart, and preach it from the housetops.

 Come Lord Jesus, come Compassionate Lover, come, Spirit who makes all things new. Come, be incarnate in us, among us and through us, stir up our hearts, prepare the feast, sing the song of salvation, and  shine through our expectant faces as we wait the day when “kindness and truth shall meet, justice and peace will kiss.”  When sorrow’s chains are broken, and the sun shines on a world that is free.

Posted in News, Wednesday's Word

Wednesday’s Word

Blog by Sr. Pat Connick, OP

This past Sunday began the new Church year!  HAPPY NEW YEAR!

In Advent, we do the dance between waiting and activity, between what has been & what will be, between tradition and innovation.  How to know which will take the lead and for how long?

Wisdom and openness—we pause, we ponder, we pray, we proceed.

I would suggest during this time of Advent, we pause this first week: just slow down a bit. I know this will feel like going upstream in our Christmas-present-buying-crazed culture, but maybe it’s time simply to step out of the stream, at least a little bit each day!

Next week when we’ve slowed ourselves down a bit, perhaps we can take in the view of ourselves and of our world around us.  You know, just like when you walk somewhere instead of driving.  I know I notice much more when I stroll then when I drive….

In the third week, then, we will have paused and pondered enough to know what is in our hearts.  Then we can offer it in prayer to God…all of it, the joys and sorrows, the triumphs and the defeats, the love and the loss, the unexpected surprises and the great disappointments.

And then, eventually we’ll know how to proceed, but we will not be alone.  We will have caught up not only with God but with ourselves!

 

HAPPY ADVENT!

 

O come O wisdom, from on high,               PAUSE

Who orders all things mightily,                   PONDER

To us the path of knowledge show,          PRAY

and teach us in her ways to go.                  PROCEED

Posted in News, Wednesday's Word

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Sr. Pat Thomas, OP
Blog by Sr. Pat Thomas, OP

How often have you said to someone or has someone said to you: “I cannot thank you enough”? Why not? What’s stopping you? Usually we say it when someone has gone above and beyond in doing us a favor or a donation. So our humble thanks seems lacking somehow but we say thank you anyway.

But who are the people in your neck of the woods who need to hear thank you again and again and again for the simplest of reasons? I am thinking of our garbage collectors…does anyone ever just say thank you for doing a job that needs to be done? How about the people who clean up the highways, those folks out there with garbage bags and picks picking up our trash…I know some times they are inmates from the local hoosegow but does that make them less useful?

What our police and fire personnel? Teachers? Mail carriers? The grocery baggers at the store—I know that at Kroger’s in Gahanna they usually want to take your cart out for you and load your cars if you wish; don’t think they get extra pay for this but how about “I can’t thank you enough”s?

Of course, all of these thoughts are surrounding Thanksgiving Day, but “thank you” never takes a holiday!

Posted in News, Wednesday's Word

What does God See?

Blog by Sr. Anne Lythgoe, OP

Lately I have been asking this question: What does God see? When we were growing up we learned that God sees EVERYTHING. But think about the question, what does God see?

God sees us as whole human beings, our past, our present, our hopes, our fears, our struggles and our faith, but most of all God sees in us, all of that ALL AT THE SAME TIME. It is all one for God. God does not see your good parts one day and your failings another day. We might see that– but God just sees you and God just sees me. God sees your youth, your middle years, your old age. God sees you now whole and holy, somewhat incomplete, but on the way to being a fully realized person.

No moment in time, no slip up, no sin, no failure or defect can separate us from God.  Even if there still remains in us some lack of forgiveness perhaps or an unfinished “something”.

This is the message of Paul in Roman 8:38-39: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” I would add, not even our past.

When we remember family and friends that have gone home to God, it is all love now.  God now sees those we have lost in a most complete and fully realized way.  God sees those we love with the eyes of love. God sees each of us as whole, that is, God cannot see just one part, God sees every part of each of us as one life: one precious, beautiful, exquisite son or daughter.  Nothing now, in the past, or in the future, can separate us or our loved one from the love of God.

What does God see when God looks at us, when we fail or when something we did hurts another person? God sees people of faith, people of hope, even if on some days we only see a small slice of what God sees.  If we can look at each other the way God looks at us, would there be anyone hungry among us? Would there be anyone a stranger among us? Would there be any room for hate? Could we do anything less than feel compassion and offer forgiveness?

When we look at each other the way God sees us, there is no hate, there is no fear, nor judgment, no disappointment – only forgiveness and joy.

This is what it might be like in heaven. God’s gaze is on those who have gone before us and God looks at them and is smiling, God is satisfied, is happy that our mother, our father, our brother or sister, friend or family member is now home. When we look at our own lives and the lives of others the way God sees us, freedom is born anew. We are free from regret, we gain a capacity for forgiveness, and compassion is planted in our souls.

Posted in News, Wednesday's Word