Posts

Being Earthlings

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As we began Community Days 2022 this week with great anticipation of being together – albeit virtually - we were challenged by this statement of Parker Palmer:   “Before you tell your life what you intend to do with it,  ask your life what it intends to do with you.”   It really is an illusion to think we are in total control of our lives. We are part of the unfolding universe, living in relationship with everything that makes up the Earth community, spinning in a tiny part of the Milky Way Galaxy, among millions of galaxies, some of which are coming into view for the first time through the lens of the James Webb Telescope.   Can we learn from the universe what our lives intend to do with us? We are inextricably tied to  planet Earth, and we are called to be her caregivers and life-givers and co-creators with our God. Whatever else we intend to do with our lives, it will be in the context of that primary responsibility. May we accept it with gratitude and joy!   Do you know what your l

Overwhelmed

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What do you do when you have so much to do and so little time? Often I begin to “burn the candle at both ends.” This is dangerous. I chip away some of my prayer time in the morning and stay up late to do one more thing. Result? I’m exhausted and overwhelmed. This is when burnout can happen.   In times of this kind of stress I “stop” and pay attention as I ask myself: What do I need right now? What I needed was already on my schedule for today—a spiritual guidance session. But did I have time for that now?   Thank God I decided to save time and met via ZOOM rather that traveling to meet with her in person. As I shared what was going on for me and how I was feeling she listened compassionately, asked a few questions, and soon I was able see my way and found inner peace, no longer overwhelmed.    When you are overwhelmed do you have a “go-to” person to help you navigate and refocus? What a difference it makes.   Mary Therese Johnson, OP Pastoral Minister at Sinsinawa Mound

What shall I wear today?

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Each morning as I prepare for the day I look in my closet and ask, “What shall I wear today?” The answer depends on different factors, e.g., the weather, my schedule, where I’ll be, how I feel, etc., etc. The outfit chosen reflects a number of mostly inconsequential factors, yet it is an important part of my day. In fact, what I am asking is, “Who am I today?’ or “What is my purpose?” Clothes are a significant aspect, a very personal aspect of ourselves. Clothes help to create the “persona” that I reflect to the world – my message. On the other hand, we could dig deeper and look at the persona within and ask what that reflects. Saint Paul says in his Letter to the Ephesians, chapter four, “You were taught to…clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” In other words, we are invited to “put on Christ” and actually BE the persona, the image of God Incarnate, reflecting mercy, generosity, forgiveness and hope. What wil

Hospitality

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Lately, the concept of   Hospitality   has been in the forefront of my days.     Even the Scriptural readings for this past Sunday have focused on offering hospitality – Abraham and Sarah greeting and providing a meal for travelers outside their tent, Martha and Mary providing food & beverages and a listening ear when Jesus came to enjoy their company.     I recently read a novel called  Martha  based upon the Mary, Martha, and Lazarus stories in the Gospel. Throughout the story, gracious hospitality was extended to guests who appeared at their gate.     My sisters and a cousin came to visit the home where I live last weekend.  In that case, the hospitality was reciprocal.  Since I am still in full-time ministry and they are retired from full-time employment, they brought the first evening’s supper and ideas of “adventures” they’d like to explore during the weekend.  I provided beds, showers, and a dining room table around which we gathered for much of the time telling stories with

Dominicans and Priorities

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How do you define what or who is most important to you?  Where does your energy go?  What would you grab if you had to run out of a burning building? There are so many ways to ask each of us what really matters.  For Dominicans, our mission to share with others the fruits of our contemplation centers our lives around the life of Christ.  We name mercy, love, peace, and justice as our main concerns.  Prayer, study, community, and preaching make up the rhythm of our days and our nights.  We work to free ourselves, our Congregation, and our world from racism.  We join with others to find ways to live sustainably. Gun violence, the protection of our planet, being concerned for the equity and inclusion of all of God’s children, the plight of migrant refugees and immigrants searching for ways to feed their families, fair voting, and making sure that all those who have been marginalized can tell that we are with them….these are some of the issues where we choose to put our energy.   What abou

I learn many things at the lake

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Contemplative kayaking along the edges affords me the opportunity to become more deeply aware of the many expressions of life. The amazing rocks and roots systems of gnarled fallen trees that bridge themselves between land and water and sprout all kinds  of new growth moss, grass, and plantings. They become warm places for turtles to climb on and soak up the sun. They become places for otters to play. Badgers can pull away small bits of dried twigs to build their dens. Herons stand sentinel in the cattails and mother ducks keep watchful eyes on their exuberant young chicks. Native plants flower around the edges, loons nest and eagles perch on the tops of the tall living trees and swoop down to fish.  We are so  blessed to be part of this amazing abundance of life expressing itself at this moment in time. Where do I belong in this tapestry of life? For  certainly I am an integral part. How do I honor all life? How do I honor all living beings? Contribute to the healing of the whole?   A

TIME for COMMUNITY TEA

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The Community's Cup is overflowing with Divine Cosmic Presence! You and I, along with all life, are privileged to sit and sip together around its rim.   Hand-picked leaves of compassionate love, forgiveness and inclusion have been seeped together to create this brew.   Really smell life's aromas.   Feel their textures. Taste their flavors. See similarities and differences in this ONE Cosmic Cup of Tea.   Eighty-five of us from twelve different countries (Nigeria, Spain, Philippines, Canada, Jamaica, Kenya, USA, Iraq, Lebanon, Belgium, England, Australia) attended an English boarding school, in Southern England. We slept, played, prayed, talked and ate together.   When Tea Time came around, each of us excitedly brought out our prized treat packages received from home to share at table.   As Sinsinawa Dominicans I believe we live on the rim of this Cosmic Cup, looking outward and looking inward. Grounded in Contemplative Wholeness. I personally imagine the Community of "tomo