Friday, February 17, 2012

What's the gift?

I have been inspired by persons who, in the face of difficulty, ask the question, “What’s the gift?”  I believe that the ability to see the positive growing, edging forward energy within those difficult times is at the center of our Christian Faith.  When Jesus announced that He would go through suffering and death and on the third day be raised, Peter tried to deny that this terrible thing would ever happen.  Jesus told Peter that he was not thinking the way God thinks.  No, God does not will suffering and death in itself, but gives gifts of love in new life in and through suffering.  I want to find what’s the gift in every untoward event as it happens. Maybe I can end up being very gifted!  And my friends, too!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Many Facets

Greetings and blessings from Beautiful Minnesota!  The fall colors these beginning October days are simply spectacular!  In fact, I feel called not to be sitting at the computer!  I do want to stay in touch with you, however, in spite of my weeks of absence, so here I am.  What do you call this:  the tension of inside/outside, of breathing out and taking in?  All of life seems characterized by this, as Fr. Timothy Radcliffe recently described – even love itself.  Love’s dimensions need to be both intimacy and allowing the beloved his/her own space.  Life is never one-dimensional.  So I struggle with blogging.

This brings me to my heart’s desire.  St. Paul says it:  I want to know the height and the depth of Christ, the Word of God – and the length and width of Christ’s Presence and Meaning in life.  It is something of which I have no control, and so I pray for it, this experience of the multi-dimensional richness of relationship in Christ.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


One of our Sisters lost her cell phone.  She would be set back terribly in her professional work if she did not find it.  Besides, where would she find the money to buy a new one?  She had calls to make and could not do it.  Lots of stress and distress.  The last time she had touched the phone was in a church two hours away, to turn it off.  My mind went to the suspicious.  There was a family with small boys behind us.  Did one of them sneak an entry into her purse?  
Unexpectedly Sister had met a friend at the church.  At the discovery of the loss, Sister called her friend to ask her to look for it in and around the pew where we had sat.  A telephone call came this morning:  would the friend say she couldn’t find it?  (If someone else had found it, it could be gone forever.)
The cell phone was found in the sacristy of the church.  Whoever had found it at the pew had placed it in a safe place where the owner could find it.
The loss of a cell phone is an every-day kind of grief that takes place for all of us sooner or later.  It’s just a tiny example of the many sufferings of life.  In her book, The Emergent Christ,  Ilia Delio makes a big point that suffering is connected with love.  God is love.  How can one embrace the suffering from having lost one’s cell phone?  On hind sight, at least, one can see points of love in the story above.  The friend was there for Sister.  The one who found it respected that the owner would be delighted to have the phone. 

Monday, August 29, 2011


Have you noticed how often the word “love” is appearing in advertisements?  The word “love” must have an attraction to draw the attention of people more than it used to have.  I wonder about that, because it seems we are being called more and more to be a loving people. This love is being  expressed  through relationships in a diversity of cultures, in and through the social media, in a growing volunteerism, etc.
Are we growing from a culture focused primarily on being rational, having “the facts”, judging, counting, and categorizing everything as things to a more relational mode of living?   In the book The Social Animal, David Brooks tells of the difference between how North Americans and Chinese respond to a test to categorize the subjects in a picture of a cow, a chicken, and grass.  The North Americans point out that the cow and the chicken are animals.  The Chinese  put  the cow and the grass together because they are related.    

Thursday, July 21, 2011

We Measure Everything


Picture this:  lunch together at the motherhouse:  one missionary Sister with her guest-- a citizen of Tanzania, Africa--, myself and my brother  from the Black Hills of South Dakota.  My brother asks of the Tanzanian, “How much rainfall do you get?”  The Tanzanian laughs and says:  “You Americans, you measure everything!  We just know when we have enough rain for the crops, or not enough.” 

These days of this dome of heat together with an amount of humidity surpassing any record for 28 states so far, I wonder how we would do if we just relied on experience and said, “It’s hot out there.  Grandma should stay inside for now.”  Of course, the meteorologists would be out of a job, which would not be good..  

Monday, July 11, 2011

Time Out

I am up and running!  I have heard it said not to wait until you are sick or dying to improve your relationship with God.  It is not easy to pray when one is sick.  Nor is it easy to blog.  About a month ago I had emergency surgery to remove a perforated appendix, and I am just coming back from that.

How are you?  I pray that you are noticing more and more how God our Father tenderly cares for you in the little things as well as in the big, as I have been learning during this “time out” from the usual.  May God bless you!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Way of Jesus

Sometimes we do the “non-reign of God” thing because we do not know what else to do.  We killed Osama bin Laden to make the world safer and yet we know from Jesus’ teaching that the way to go is to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us.

I would rather do the type of action that promotes the Reign of God. All I can do is take care that my own thoughts and actions do that, with God’s help.  I catch myself putting others into categories that “put them down”.  Lord, help me to see Your love and Your goodness in every other person. Help me to see clearly how Your Way of respect and littleness is truly victorious.

I have begun reading a book about Islam so that with the next Muslim I meet, I will be able to dialog and affirm the Spirit in that person.  Lord, may your kingdom come!