The Grace of November

As our earth continues its journey around the sun, we experience shorter days of sunlight. Perhaps you notice a change within yourself. For some, this month of November herald's the coming of colder weather, barren trees, and long nights. So the changes are quite apparent.

For me, November is a month of grace. This year November began with an interactive presentation with children at St. Luke's Parish. Connections were made between Halloween, All Saints' Day, Day of the Dead, and All Souls' Day.  Sharing stories of the lives of the saints like our founder, Samuel Mazzuchelli (November 4), Martin de Porres, OP (November 3), and Kateri Tekkawitha helped me realize more and more that all of us have the call and ability to become saints. It's in every one of us to be a light in our world.

The light of Christ that is within me is real and tangible in a new way as I intentionally focus on Christ's light at my center. The practice begins with  mindfulness of breath, body, emotions, thoughts, and spirit. Then I focus on the light at the center of my body. The light grows as I breathe. Finally I offer these words: "The Light of Christ surrounds me. The Love of Christ enfolds me. The Power of Christ protects me. The Presence of Christ watches over me. And wherever I am, God is, and all is well." It has made the greatest difference in how I live each day.

The children also did this with me and they seemed to beam with greater joy. I am now involved in a Busy Student Retreat at Dominican University. As I companion students we begin by centering in the Light.

The celebration of Thanksgiving rounds off this month in gratitude. A nightly practice for me is to reflect on what I am most grateful for and what I am least grateful for. "A grateful heart knows many joys."

Though November has shorter days of sunlight the "son light" that dwells in us is shining brightly. How do you keep the "Light of Christ" aglow?

Mary T. Johnson, OP
Westchester, IL


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