S: the letter that multiplies and makes abundant through plurals. What words characterize your life? How can you let your good qualities multiply their effects? What spiritual qualities would you like to make plural? Do you seek the more?
Author Archives: Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider
As I sat here looking out the window at the night sky, just still light enough to see cloud formations, I noticed a giant footprint in the sky, but before I could type this sentence, it disappeared. What if I hadn’t looked out at that precise moment? I would have missed an opportunity to smile at creation—actually in union with creation, because everything in the universe is interrelated. I had so many opportunities today to smile with creation.
As I got into the car this morning I saw five deer running through the meadow. Going out the driveway, I was stopped by three huge wild turkeys. A half mile down the road strutted eight “teenage” wild turkeys, perhaps of the same fowl family. Then I saw what I thought were flares. Instead they were ordinary road signs on which the red sun was beaming. Awareness of the present moment opens up delight.
L-I-S-T-E-N. S-I-L-E-N-T. E-N-L-I-S-T. All three words have the same letters. All three words make a great way to live one’s Christian life. LISTEN to what God wants of you from the good desires of your hearts, your talents, and the affirmation you receive. Be SILENT and let the mystery of Christ penetrate your inmost being, deepening your awareness of God’s closeness. Then ENLIST in taking up the ministry God asks whether it’s the day’s mission or a lifetime discipleship. All three words can become your prayer for today. LISTEN. SILENT. ENLIST. AMEN.
Recently I noticed how often in Scripture Jesus experienced rejection. Passages were easy to find: the skepticism of religious leaders, the disciples who left after the Bread of Life discourse, the choice of Barabbas over Jesus, even the feeling of abandonment by his Father, and many more.
“There is nothing you can do that would cause me to reject you. No, today and always you are my friend, and I will stand by you. I will not only stand by you, I will protect you, guide you, help you in your decisions. I am not a magician that will make your problems disappear. I am not a repairman who will fix every mistake. But I am one who loves you intensely.”
Recently I changed my e-mail address, making my business cards useless. Of course, I could build a tower of business cards or write math facts on the back for a youngster learning multiplication tables or store them somewhere. What do you do with useless business cards? A more perplexing question is the content of a new business card. What is my real business? More than liturgist/musician at St. Richard, more than team member atLialRenewalCenter, more than a community member with the Sisters of Notre Dame, I am the created expression of God’s love. I am an initiator of free energy radiating out to give life abundantly to all. I am Christ in evolution. I am an indispensable member of a living body, which is the Body of Christ. Well, if that’s what I am, please excuse me. I better get down to business.
What would you write on a new business card? What is your most useful business?
One of the Sisters with whom I live has a favorite coffee mug with scenes from The Lion King and a handle with “just the right shape.” Most coffee drinkers have a favorite cup, I suppose.
When Jesus asked James and John, “Can you drink of the cup?” they quickly assured Jesus that they could. Just as quickly Jesus assured the two that they would indeed drink of the cup that he would drink—the cup of suffering and death. Then at the Last Supper the apostles drank of the blood of the new covenant, thus sharing in the covenant sealed by the death of Christ.
The next time you sit down with your cup of coffee or tea, ask yourself, “Can I drink of Christ’s cup?” It will mean accepting death as the way to life, crucifixion as the way to resurrection
The satellite sighting information sheet claimed I could see the space station on Friday, August 4 at 8:51 p.m. for five minutes at 20 above NNW. Outside and ready, my inner spirit jumping with exclamation points, I watched the night sky. Before and beyond the predicted minutes I watched, but I missed the “sighting opportunity,” knowing that others were hosting a star party and giving high-fives over an event that I missed.
What I saw was the sky in its pinkish-orange pajamas, dark birds like shutting eyes above yawning clouds. All I saw was the moment between day and night, the miracle that happens every 24 hours. O God, your wonder takes my breath away. May I be attuned to such sightings every day. Let me catch a glimpse of at least one minute each day, and forgive me for missing the other 23 hours and 59 minutes.
What are you doing today? Working? Having fun? Sleeping? What about faith-ing? Verbs ending in –ing tell us something is in process. For example, I am writing this blog now. I’m actually doing something; I don’t just have the capacity to do it. In the spiritual life, too, I think we should go about our day faith-ing. Faith isn’t something I have. It’s something I’m doing and something I’m becoming. I grow more deeply in love with God, I’m more willing to make a difference in people’s lives, I’m more open to the Spirit’s possibilities. Well, gotta go! I’ve got a lot of faith-ing to do today.
Am I bothered enough to bother? My to-do list is long, my job jar is full, the laundry basket is overflowing. I have plenty of reasons not to bother with requests for volunteers or donations or letters to congresspersons. But sometimes the requests touch my heart, especially those wanting help to educate children. Putting a book and a child together is enough to make me bother. Most of the doors to curing the world’s ills are closed to me, but I can at least open the world to a child through a book. What bothers you? Are you bothered enough to bother today?
A mother in today’s Gospel for the feast of St. James asks Jesus to let her two sons, James and John, sit by his side in the Kingdom. Jesus responds with a question to the two sons: “Can you drink the cup that I am to drink?” We can imagine the two men affirming that they can, perhaps with a show of bravado. And perhaps the mother added some proofs of her sons’ loyalty and strength.
Switch to another mother, the mother of Jesus. When it was time for Jesus to leave home and begin his mission, did Mary say to him, “Jesus, my son, can you drink the cup?” Jesus didn’t need to respond with words. Their eyes met, and both knew that they would both experience the cup of suffering. And you and me? Can we drink of the cup?