Monday, October 19, 2009

Let the prophet speak...

It was my honor to introduce Sister Joan Chittister, OSB, to the participants at the National Benedictine Vocation Directors Conference. Not exactly a person who needs one - DUH! But, a few gracious words were required so I listened to my prioress who advised me to "keep it short."

Her topic, "Monasticism as Radical Christianity," was the brain child of the planning team. What Joan did with that topic, though, was completely her own. I know I took notes but it wasn't a lecture in the traditional sense. It was an experience.

There are some among us who are instruments of the Spirit - faithful people who welcome the Word in their very being. We called them "prophets" in the Scriptures. They are among us still, I think, because GOD never gives up on us - never fails to be faithful Love. Prophets are human - frail, fallible and sometimes frightened - but they say "yes" to their part in the building of the kingdom. Often, it gets them into trouble. [Remember Jonah? Daniel? Ezekiel?] Yet, they seem compelled to speak the Word they have heard in the stillness of prayer. This alone is reason enough to listen. The truth is often hard to hear, though. When a voice calls us to authenticity in the Gospel life, to integrity in the pursuit of justice, to mercy instead of righteous anger, we would rather cover our ears and sing a happy tune. But this is precisely why we need them.

Joan said many profound things that morning. She spoke to the particular challenges of our ministry and the way in which Benedictine spirituality feeds the deepest longings of our post-modern world. Here are just a few of the sentences that touched me deeply:

On work: "The work we do is not as important as why we do it."

On stewardship: "How can we no build green"

On community:
"We exist to be miracle workers for one another."

On Vocation Ministry:

"Numbers were not Benedict's criteria for success."

"Build a future worthy of our past."

I am still so amazed that Joan said "yes" to our invitation - busy as she is in the global conversation about GOD. May this same GOD bless and protect Sister Joan...and all the prophets to come.
Blessings and love to you all...

- Sister Vicki