In the wake of the elections, I feel the need to be grounded ever more deeply in contemplation so I can move forward in new ways into the space that holds the tensions, contradictions and challenges that are before us as families, as congregations, as a nation, as Christians, as Earth community.
Contemplate This explores the deepening dimensions of silence and contemplation.
Early last month I was giving a day presentation to religious congregations in San Rafael, California. The day focused on the power of contemplation as a transformative process, the transformation of consciousness and communal contemplation. The day ended with a section on exercising contemplative power. During the final discussion the question arose as to whether we could do something collectively to exercise contemplative power during this election.
There is something unsettling about liminality's blurry boundaries and unclear surroundings yet, as I continue to learn, it is unreal to expect complete certainly, clarity, and confidence. As much as l long to look out to a vast horizon where land and sky are clearly marked off, each to their own separate territory, there's also an unreachable "more" that stretches out beyond my grasp.
I wrote recently about needing to tell a new story, a new narrative — one of communion and not separation. Yet as I listen to the news I feel as though I don't want to be in communion with some people. I want to be separate from them. I want to scream how can you do that? How can you believe that?
There are rare moments when one experiences a fullness of time. A time and place where the previous years' hopes and desires emerge as an intensified whole deeper and more grounded than one could have hoped. That was my experience of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious' (LCWR) Assembly this year.
As I write this it is one of those perfect Michigan summer mornings — temperature in high 70s, low humidity, sun shining and the flowers fully blooming in all their rich colors. One of the sisters with whom I live is our gardener, and she has created a most splendid banquet of myriad flowers whose colors were profuse this morning. I so needed this "chapel" within which to pray.
Because of my ministries I have never lived near relatives or my grade school friends as their children grew up. Recently my cousin moved to Lansing, Michigan, not too far from Detroit. One of her many grandchildren was making his first Holy Communion, and I was invited to attend. I accepted, and as I drove on this beautiful Saturday morning I found myself filling up with tears.
Many years ago I toured St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City. I can recall climbing up to the top of the cupola and going outside on the balcony from which there is a marvelous view. As I stood there, I reflected on how impenetrable this wall was and couldn't help making the connection to how difficult it was to communicate with many of our bishops and cardinals about critical issues.
Good health is wealth, and so often we take this for granted. We rise each morning and often go through the day mechanically. Yet there are moments and incidents that take place in our life which make us think of how grateful we need to be for the Gift of Life.
Contemplate This - We live in a much-too-hasty age. There is little or no time to process what happens to us each day. This is even true in religious life.