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Attachment vs Detachment

Recently I looked at a show called “Tidying Up” with Marie Kondo.  As a person who wanted order in her life I was attracted to this show because Marie took a holistic approach to tidying up the clutter in many of her client’s homes and by extension their lives.  It is amazing how attached we become to things, even a seemingly trivial item as clothing.  One guy in the show while they were sorting out clothing and having to let go of some saying that a particular T-shirt was very comfortable and he wanted to keep it and his wife chimed in asking when was the last time had he worn that T-Shirt.It is very easy to become attached to many things and to people and begin to believe that I cannot live without it or them.  This came home to me when I recently changed ministry (job) and I realised how attached I had become to this particular position of the ministry.  In retrospect I now see that I had found my identity in that position and had become attached to it, which made it very difficult…
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Maleficent Obsession

Recently I was watching Amanpour & Company on PBS as Andy Slavitt talked about Covid-19 and the impact of wearing masks. He believes that if 80%-90% of people wore masks consistently, the virus would almost disappear. When he was asked why wearing masks is such a problem for people in the U.S., he said that because there is such a deep cultural value placed on individual liberties, many don’t want their lives to be inconvenienced on behalf of other people. To explore this idea further, he suggested making 2 lists: One with words such as individualism, entrepreneurship, great wealth; and the other, with things such as society, community, equality. He speculated that countries described by the 2nd list will have fewer Covid cases because they are willing to wear masks out of concern for others. He mentioned Japan and several African countries as examples.
This was a new moment of clarity for me. It is straight up evil that the value we place on individual liberties is allowing the co…

Learning Across the Miles

In my March 2020 post I shared about being a life-long learner. In Dominican life we are encouraged to cultivate a love for learning. Little did I realize that my learning experiences would expand immediately when the pandemic became widespread. We have sheltered in place at the Mound since March 18, 2020. I’m on an adventure--learning to navigate the world of technology. I’ve participated in virtual Community Days, retreats, classes, webinars, book group, family meetings, a wedding, and birthday parties. I feel more connected with the world. An abundance of resources are available via the internet. At times I am overwhelmed and fatigued by it all. Mostly I am energized by all that has opened up for me since March. Now I am looking forward to a new learning opportunity within the Dominican Family. Two Dominican sisters from Vietnam are participating in a process that will prepare Tuyet Pham for perpetual profession. Although I have ministered with women in discernment about Dominican …

“Wake me up, Lord!”

So begins the prayer of our morning group on Wednesdays.It comes from the pastoral of the US Catholic Bishops, Brothers and Sisters to Us, 1979.So many traumatic things are presented to us lately—virus, violence, climate change and on and on. “Wake us up, Lord” is a good prayer for 2020.The above traumas can be related to the next phrase of the prayer—"so that the evil of racism finds no home within me.” Through listening and discerning with anti-racism groups, I wake up.  I realize that power over others is a disease that is part of all the traumas of our lives. If I think and act as if I am better than another it causes violence. If the organizations to which I belong are based on being more deserving and hoarding energy and material goods, they contribute to climate disasters. Even virus is exacerbated when some people’s dignity and health are regarded as less important than others.How can our waking up bring healing to ourselves and to our world?  How can we help each other s…

Season of Creation

“Purchasing is always a moral and not simply economic act.”  Pope Francis.  Laudato Sí.  Paragraph 206
We are in the last week of the Season of Creation (September 1 - October 4).  Pope Francis has issued a message for this time.  In it he writes: “The disintegration of biodiversity, spiraling climate disasters, and unjust impact of the current pandemic on the poor and vulnerable: all these are a wakeup call in the face of our rampant greed and consumption.”  With the onset of the COVID 19 pandemic, grocery shelves went empty of toilet paper and other basic necessities.   While some stockpiled, others were left without.  This is clearly an injustice.  As religious we are not exempt from falling prey to the culture of greed and consumption.  The temptation is real, to hoard.  Becoming a religious does not take away this temptation but in the company of others who can hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor, we are encouraged to change our lifestyles and choose to live more sim…

Windows of the Soul

These days we see a lot of people wearing masks or, as we say, face coverings. I am intrigued by the variety of designs I see. They seem to come in all shapes and sizes, just like the people themselves. I’m also noticing that sometimes I don’t recognize the face behind the mask. That can be embarrassing. All I see are the eyes peering out from under the fabric. This experience reminds me of how much we human beings count on our eyes to communicate with each other. I see laughing eyes and sad eyes and curious eyes and blank stares. Did you ever notice how you can tell just by their eyes that a person is smiling? Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:22 that “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! “Shakespeare went on from there to describe eyes as “the windows of the soul.” What’s behind your win…

God in the Order of All Things

In these times of chaos and uncertainty, where hatred and violence seem to run rampant, I am comforted by our Orderly God and the Fibonacci Sequence. I am no mathematician by any stretch of the imagination. Math gives me a headache, it makes me hyperventilate. I can’t really explain the Fibonacci sequence except that each number is the sum of the two numbers preceding it. 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, etc. and that it has many scientific and mathematical applications. But it has also been used in music, poker, and the financial trades, among others.  The point is that the application of the sequence came only after its discovery, found everywhere in Nature. The pattern existed first, perhaps God’s way of scattering crumbs to help us find our way, letting us know that while we are not in control neither are we alone. That there is Order amidst the chaos and uncertainty. How beautiful; how hopeful!Seeing beauty and working to dismantle systems of injustice are not mutually exclusive. We need…