Wednesday, February 18, 2009

It's Richmond!

We finished morning office at 7:30 and, as I was telling Sister Charlotte to "have a good day", I saw it. BIG, puffy wet flakes, coming down in a mini-blizzard - SNOW! You'd think Elvis had rung the doorbell the way I wooped and carried on.
I can't tell you what this sight has done for my soul. I've been sensing an early spring down here and feeling as if winter never really came. I'm a northern girl. Thirty years ago in NJ, we had feet and feet of snow. We had "snow days" every now and then because there was just so much of it. The bus drivers were wary on our winding, narrow roads - one of the perks of living in the way-out, hills of Kinnelon. We'd listen like fools to the 5:oo am radio news hoping...praying...willing our small parochial school to close. When it worked, there would be a small, tribal happy-dance in our pajamas. Too excited to go back to sleep, we'd watch cartoons until the sun came up. Then, my Mom would go through the elaborate snow-suit procedure. We had to lie down to get into them. I fancied myself an astronaut going out into a cold, white universe. We would play in it for hours. We'd come in for hot soup and sandwiches with the crusts cut off and then we'd go through the snow-suit procedure all over again so that we could play in it until the light failed us. Memory is such a gift...I can taste the snow on my tongue...see my brother's long lashes heavy with wet flakes...hear the mitten clips close on the water-proof fabric. All this from a morning flurry in Richmond.

I never ask GOD for signs. Mostly, I'm afraid that I'll get one. Besides, there are so many signs of GOD's love and care around me, if I pay attention - my community, the richness of the Word, the students who greet me each morning, the communal prayer that holds all of life in sacred space, a stranger in the grocery store, the sacrament of a smile. Paying attention is the heart of the spiritual journey. But this morning...Sister got a sign. For the beauty of this day and the GOD of snow and rain, I give thanks. (I think it's sticking - perfect for snowballs!)

Blessings and love to you all...
- Sister Vicki

Monday, February 16, 2009

Healer of our every ill...

In yesterday’s gospel, Jesus, moved by compassion, touches a leper and heals him of his disease. While this miracle, in and of itself, speaks of the tenderness in the heart of GOD, it also comes with a bit of a challenge. Where are the “lepers” today? Who are the “unclean” we try to avoid? Challenging questions, yes? You’ve got to love the way scripture can turn things upside down and blow the dust off your soul.

Our presider at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart talked about the grieving as “lepers.” Msgr. Shreve said that often, because we can’t think of what to say, we avoid the sorrowing entirely and isolate them in their sadness. He expanded the idea to include anyone who has experienced a personal tragedy. It’s so easy for us to forget that our presence is the gift, not the words which always fail to touch the mystery of another’s suffering.

I think there are all kinds of people we deem “unclean.” The homeless, the addicted and those living with AIDS, come easily to mind. What is it about their situation that frightens us? What do we fear will happen if we see these people as real human beings? The saints among us have faced this question and moved through it by way of the cross - Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, Bill “W” and Father Michal Judge, OFM. You and I have the chance to love as they did. May the same GOD, who came in flesh and blood, touch our hearts with the love that fears nothing. May we leave no one outside the boundaries of our compassion. May we have the courage to touch the wounds of the world and will them to be healed..

Blessings and love to you all…
- Sister Vicki