Reading the stories in the New Testament about what happened to individual people when they met Jesus, we glimpse the powerful impact of those encounters.
From the lowly shepherds and wise magi visiting Jesus at his birth to his meeting with Mary Magdalene in the garden after his resurrection, we realize each person was deeply affected by being in his presence. Scripture recounts the many times Jesus healed people physically. He also raised sons, daughters, and friends back to life. As we slow down and think more deeply, we conclude not only their lives were transformed but the lives of those around them were most likely totally changed as a result of encountering Jesus.
Vocations, or calls from God to respond to our life’s purpose, are grounded in encounters with Jesus. These encounters include those we meet with great awareness and encounters with him we only later discover were hidden in the shadow of a deeper conversation we had with a friend, a parent, a co-worker, our boss, or a spiritual director. We can experience the encounter as an ordinary happening or something that profoundly touched our hearts when we read it in an online blog or saw the powerful witness of someone giving her or his life for others.
The Spirit of Jesus can work anywhere, anytime, and through anyone or any circumstance in our lives. As those who were lame, blind, or in need of instruction clamored to be in the presence of Jesus once they heard about what he did, we also have opportunities of encounter. May we ready our hearts to pay attention to them. They may look differently than they did in Jesus’ time, but the encounters with him are no less real.
As the Psalmist said, “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts,”
El Encuentro que nos Transforma
Al leer las historias en el Nuevo Testamento sobre los acontecimientos a las personas cuando conocieron a Jesús, divisamos el impacto poderoso de esos encuentros.
Desde los humildes pastores y los magos sabios visitando a Jesús en su nacimiento hasta su encuentro con María Magdalena en el jardín después de su resurrección, nos damos cuenta de que cada persona estaba profundamente afectada por estar en su presencia. Las escrituras relatan las muchas veces que Jesús sanó físicamente a las personas. También resucitó a vida a hijos, hijas, y amigos. Mientras reducimos nuestros pasos, y pensamos más profundamente, llegamos a la conclusión de que no solo sus vidas fueron transformadas, sino que las vidas de quienes los rodeaban probablemente fueron totalmente cambiadas como resultado de encontrarse con Jesús.
Las vocaciones, o los llamados de Dios para responder al propósito de nuestra vida, están asimentadas en encuentros con Jesús. Estos encuentros incluyen aquellos con los que nos encontramos con gran conocimiento y los encuentros con él solo descubrimos más tarde se ocultaron en la sombra de una conversación más profunda que tuvimos con un amigo, un padre, un compañero de trabajo, nuestro jefe, o un director espiritual. Podemos experimentar el encuentro como un acontecimiento ordinario o algo que conmovió profundamente nuestros corazones cuando lo leemos en un blog en línea o vimos el poderoso testimonio de alguien que da su vida por los demás.
El Espíritu de Jesús puede trabajar en cualquier lugar, en cualquier momento, y a través de cualquier persona o cualquier circunstancia en nuestras vidas. Como aquellos que eran cojos, ciegos, o que necesitaban instrucción clamaban estar en la presencia de Jesús una vez que escucharon sobre lo que él hizo, también tenemos oportunidades de encuentro. Que preparemos nuestros corazones para ponerles atención. Es posible que tengan una apariencia diferente a las del tiempo de Jesús, pero los encuentros con él no son menos reales.
Como dijo el Salmista: "Si hoy oyes su voz, no endurezcas tu corazón,"
It’s not hard for me to imagine the scene when the Gospel on the Feast of the Annunciation is read on March 25th. Out of the several exchanges the young Mary has with the visiting angel Gabriel, it ends with Mary saying, “Yes, I see it all now: I'm ... ready to serve. Let it be with me just as you say.” Or today we might translate it, “Yes, ok. I’ll do it.”
And with her “yes” Mary of Nazareth’s life was forever changed. From that time forward she dependably repeated her “yes” to other more ordinary events happened in her life.
In each of our lives, we are only asked for the next “yes.” To a variety of experiences and opportunities in our lives we agree to enter into them – or not. The choice is ours.
In discerning God’s call for our lives, as with Mary’s invitation to be the mother of Jesus, we only need to attend to our response for the “yes” in the moment. All the future “yes-es” we’ll be asked to give will come one at a time. Each time we may be asked to give a little more and stretch a little farther in our life journey. But also when we are asked anew, we have more information about our choices, more insight and, hopefully, more willingness to say ”Yes.”
Stay calm. Stay centered. As Jesus recommends, “remain” in his love. When asked, there’s no need to jump too far into the future and fuel our anxiety. Focus on the choice before you. Will you say “yes” this time?
May our God of abundance be with you,
Ella dijo, “Sí"
No me es dificil imaginar la escena cuando se lea el Evangelio en el dia de la Fiesta de la Anunciación el 25 de Marzo. Despues de los varios intercambios que la joven María tiene con el ángel visitante Gabriel, termina con María diciendo: "Sí, ahora lo veo todo: yo estoy ... lista para servir. Deja que esté conmigo como dices.” U hoy podemos traducirlo, “Sí, está bien. Lo hare."
Y con su "sí", la vida de María de Nazaret cambió para siempre. Desde ese momento en adelante, ella repitió de manera confiable su "sí" a otros eventos más comunes que sucedieron en su vida.
En cada una de nuestras vidas, solo se nos pide el siguiente "sí." A una variedad de experiencias y oportunidades en nuestras vidas, accedemos a participar en ellas - o no. La decisión es nuestra.
Al discernir el llamado de Dios para nuestras vidas, como con la invitación de María a ser la madre de Jesús, solo tenemos que atender a nuestra respuesta para el "sí" en el momento. Todos los futuros "sí-s" que se nos pedirá daremos uno por uno. Cada vez se nos puede pedir que demos un poco más y que nos estiremos un poco más en la jornada de nuestra vida. Pero también cuando se nos pregunta de nuevo, tenemos más información sobre nuestras decisiones, más información y, más visión y, con suerte, más disposición para decir "Sí."
Mantén la calma. Mantente centrada. Como Jesús recomienda, “permanece” en su amor. Cuando se le pregunte, no es necesario saltar demasiado hacia el futuro y alimentar nuestra ansiedad. Concéntrate en la decisión que tienes ante ti. ¿Dirás “sí” esta vez?
Que nuestro Dios de abundancia esté contigo.
Mary’s “yes” to the angel when told she was favored and chosen to bear the Son of God, inspires us by its simple consent and its leap of faith into an uncertain future. She knew she couldn’t fully know or understand what she was getting herself into. But Mary placed her trust in God.
None of us when discerning our future path knows for sure that this or that is the right choice for us because there is no way to know the unknown. It really is all about our willingness to trust that God loves us. In our love and trust, when we have done our best to listen to what the Holy Spirit has in mind for our lives, we step onto the path, continuing to trust in God’s love.
In these days of Advent waiting we can allow ourselves a little extra time to be still, to welcome silence into our lives. Silence is God’s best way to communicate. Our listening and really hearing is best done in silence too.
May you be still enough to hear the still, small whispers of God,
To jump start your listening: http://www.adriandominicans.org/BecomeaSister/EnteringtheLife.aspx
With the start of Advent we begin a time of waiting for the coming of Jesus into our daily lives. In a strange way Advent reminds me of flower bulbs. These oddly-shaped forms are planted in the autumn here in the northern hemisphere, come up every spring and then blossom in beauty. Without waiting throughout the winter buried in the darkness under the soil, they wouldn’t be able to blossom. Darkness and waiting are essential to the fulfillment of their purpose.
When we discern what God’s call is for our lives we often do lots of waiting, praying, and listening without knowing just what the answer may be or when it will come to us. Much like the bulbs (were they able to feel) we wait without knowing, sometimes impatiently, until the time is right. We’re not in control, just as the conditions needed for bulbs to grow are not.
During Advent we’re invited to enter into the mystery, the waiting and the right time to receive the guidance we need.
Blessings on your Advent waiting,
While it probably takes a lifetime to realize the truth embedded in what Jesus told people as he walked on Earth, initially his words about following him can be daunting! Many times we get scared and want to walk away from him, giving a solid “No!” to his invitation to follow his ways.
Each person has a call from God to make of her/his life what God has in mind. Inside ourselves we feel a desire for more until we have found what’s right for our life. We try one thing or another, one direction or a different one, but recognize after awhile that this is not the right way. St. Augustine said, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in [God].”
This alignment with God’s desires for us is what discerning is all about. Whether we spend our time alone in discernment or not, at some point we all benefit from a listening ear, a listening heart that gives us feedback on what we’re pondering for our lives. God wants only the best for us and draws us toward it. May we be open enough and willing to search for that precious path!
As we persist in seeking, we will find,
For more hints about discerning, check out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6hmujPi7mM
That famous question, “Who do you say that I am?” occurs in this Sunday’s Gospel. It can be a very important discernment question because how we answer it affects everything. If you say Jesus was a good man who set a good example, that may be nice, but it doesn’t necessarily call a person to any radical change. If you say Jesus is the one who will judge us in the end, then it might just make you anxious and act out of guilt. If you say Jesus is the creator of the universe manifesting in human form to teach us how to live and love, you might feel more drawn to respond with your life.
At a very personal level, we probably answer this question differently from others, and even for ourselves at different points in our lives. Because Jesus is also a ‘person,’ we are in a relationship, and relationships change over time. Jesus may not change, but our understanding of him and way of relating to him will. Some of the different answers I have had to this question: Jesus you are… my partner… my hope… a caress… a challenger… the one I take time with each night and morning… the core relationship in my life.
Discernment involves other people. But the strongest voice in becoming who I am, and discerning what I am called to do, is the voice of Jesus.
Who do you say Jesus is?
By Sister Patty Harvat, OP
Pentecost is a Jewish feast that comes 50 days after the celebration of Passover, the holiday season in which Jesus was crucified. On the feast of Pentecost, the disciples of Jesus were gathered together in a room sometimes known as the “upper room.”
Doors were locked for fear of the Jews, and hearts were locked in grief.
“There are some griefs so loud
They could bring down the sky
And there are griefs so still
None knows how deep they lie...” - May Sarton
What are the emotions filling this room?
In the midst of this Jesus appears and says, “Peace be with you.”
What is this upper room? Your upper room?
Is our upper room being in solidarity with people who lost everything through fire, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, who say, “This is all we have known our whole life. What do we do now?” Or sitting quietly in front of the TV, watching the slow death of our Earth as climate change stills the heartbeat of Mother Earth’s life?
Think about your upper room, whatever is going on … it impacts me … because we are community … we are together in that locked room.
And it’s in that locked room that Jesus appears and says, “Peace,” breathes on us, and says, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
The Holy Spirit comes to us in a small flame. Whatever gift we receive is what we need to take with us as we leave our upper room. What gift of the Spirit, what Pentecost Fire, did you pray for?
Alleluia! It’s True!
(Inspired by the Easter Gospel readings)
Could it be?
Dare I trust?
Dare we risk?
We had hoped for so long
Have felt betrayed and
done our share of betraying
it could be true
They say they saw him
And they are glowing
They are different somehow
not cowering like the rest of us
They don’t just believe
I can see it
They know in their bones
He is alive
Angels spoke to them
She saw him at the tomb
and he sent her to us
They actually broke bread with him
Could it be?
It is all coming together
Everything he said that sounded so crazy
now is falling into place
And, wait, who is that coming into our room?
How did he get in here –
the door is closed
He looks so familiar
and yet I cannot place him
Those terrible, awful nail marks
It is him
He is eating, drinking
smiling at us
He is alive as they said
O God of our ancestors
You have raised him
It is true
Now I know
And now that I know
I have to leave this safe room
No, I want to leave this safe, closed room
I want to share this news
The nails didn’t do it
The shameful crucifixion didn’t destroy him
And all that is death dealing
in our world
cannot destroy us
We are on the side of
the one who was raised from the dead
And he has called us to go forth
And has given us a Word of life to preach
to a hurting world
Death does not have the final power
Hope and life remain
I know it now
Sister Lorraine Réaume, OP
I look upon you with such love. You are so hard on yourself. You feel guilty for all you do not do, and for some of the things you do. I see it. I know you. You can’t hide anything from me and you don’t need to. You are safe with me. I don’t condemn you. I want to cheer you on. I want you to be all that I made you to be. I see the goodness inside you even when you don’t see it yourself. I do call you to be more, but out of love, out of knowing the goodness that is within you.
Sometimes it is hard to look at the pain in yourself, in those around you, in the world. I know. It is overwhelming at times. When I walked the Earth it pained my heart that I could not cure all. It caused me such sadness that my message about God’s reign was twisted and used against me and my followers. It angered me that the poor suffered so much due to the greed of those in power.
It’s not easy being a human being and trying to follow me is it? Sometimes it means you will have to suffer. There are times you will feel like you are being put on a cross.
Maybe you will be judged falsely by those around you.
Maybe a relationship will be ruptured that will not be repaired in this life.
Maybe you have experienced a loss you weren’t sure you could bear.
I know. Look at me up here. I know all your hurt and all your pain and I embrace it. And transform it. An empty tomb is actually a sign of new life.
Pay attention – there is hope in places you might not expect. Look for the signs of new life, within you and around you. I did not stay up on this cross. Yes, it was a shameful, excruciating death. But it passed over. God raised me and God will raise you. Once you accept and know the cross, you do not need to stay there.
Honor what has been, in my witness and in your own life, kiss it, venerate it, bow before it.
And then get ready, because resurrection is on its way!
Composed by Sister Lorraine Réaume, OP
By Sister Corinne Sanders, OP
The Gospels portray Jesus as a great teacher. He teaches and suddenly things happen. Jesus not only carries authority in his teaching but he carries power to heal and bring freedom. His presence, his authority, and power will continue to amaze and astonish as he speaks of the presence of God among us. His teaching will also frighten some and threaten others.
We know the world is longing for hearts and souls whose voices carry authority; strong voices that cause us to sit up, to take notice and to respond. My life has been shaped by these voices as I have heard those who speak of the rights of nature and I find myself taking delight in listening to Earth with a new heart.
I have been shaped and inspired by those who speak with passion and urgency on behalf of immigrants. And I have been freed over the years by women who teach and speak from a feminist perspective releasing my spirit to new ways of knowing and expressing faith in my God.
I am sure you can name those who have taught with authority and have shaped your lives, calling you deeper and deeper into mystery. As disciples, each of us has this responsibility to step out in whatever ways we can and to speak of God’s presence among us. In what ways are you being called to spread God’s truth in our world? How do you teach with your life?
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Sister Tarianne DeYonker, OP
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Adrian Dominican Sisters
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Get out your bell-bottoms and platform shoes, because DISCO is here!
Okay, so it's a little less dancing, a little more talking... Sisters Lorraine Réaume, OP, and Sara Fairbanks, OP, have a new video series called DISCO (Discernment Conversations): Dancing with the questions of life!