Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Challenged to be "Nice"

“When people become Christians, they don’t, at the same moment, become nice,” says Eugene H. Peterson in his rendition of the Bible in contemporary language (THE MESSAGE). The Corinthian community was such a community of new Christians and they were not always nice! Though St. Paul was cognizant of this fact, his love for the people extended to both truths—the new life of the early Christian community and the fact that they needed correction of their old ways:

“Every time I think of you—and I think of you often!—I thank God for your lives of free and open access to God, given by Jesus. There’s no end to what has happened to you—it’s beyond speech, beyond knowledge. The evidence of Christ has been clearly verified in your lives.

“Just think—you don’t need a thing, you’ve got it all! All God’s gifts are right in front of you as you wait expectantly for our Master Jesus to arrive on the scene for the Finale. And not only that, but God himself is right alongside to keep you steady and on track until things are all wrapped up by Jesus. God, who got you started in this spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of his Son and our Master Jesus.  He will never give up on you.  Never forget that.

“(BUT) I have a serious concern to bring up with you, my friends, using the authority of Jesus, our Master.  I’ll put it as urgently as I can: You must learn to be considerate of one another, cultivating a life in common (1Cor 1).”

To me, St. Paul reads like Jesus or like Pope Francis. Would you agree?  Perhaps you, too, like to read about yourselves in language crafted to our time, our situation, our need for praise and for correction. (You can check your electronic devices for THE MESSAGE: the Bible in Contemporary Language / Eugene H. Peterson).

I live in community. I have been given open access to God through baptism. I am not always nice, even as an octogenarian! How about you?

Renée Domeier, OSB

Photo shows Sister Theresa Lodermeier (l) with a friend

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Visit from the Pope

I often wonder why people are so attracted to Pope Francis. What is it about the Pope that makes us want to listen to another documentary of his life? Why are we infatuated with the Pope? I believe it is because we are seeing an authentic leader who is above all human, vulnerable, paradoxical, kind, and caring.  He is the real thing and people are recognizing it. The Pope is a leader who brings forth a message of joy, mercy and tenderness. I often wonder if this is what people experienced when the encountered the historical Jesus. The Pope mirrors the gospel back to us when we can’t get our head around it. 

We breathe a sigh of relief that we have a pragmatic pope who wants to wear comfortable shoes and drive less expensive cars. He has made it clear he is a Pope to and for the people. He has brought the words "ordinary" and "humility" front and center to the Church.

Pope Francis is a man who truly has taken on the role of shepherding a flock – ironically his flock is the planet. He genuinely cares about connection and it doesn’t just stop with the Catholic Church. He is genuinely concerned about the family, systems of oppression, building bridges for dialogue and the planet's environment.

I believe we are attracted to this Pope because he has the courage to think big, generously and be inclusive. He reminds us we are one and but does not shirk pointing out how divided we have become. He calls us back to connection and oneness, not in shame but in faith and hope. He has the capacity to hold the opposing view so sincerely and thoughtfully, and to top it with off with cheerfulness, so that he makes it hard for anyone to want to demonize our enemies or political opponents.  

And overall he remains vulnerable with a hospitable heart. As a matter of fact he is so hospitable that he is willing to come to richest nation on earth.  Why? Maybe to remind us Americans that, believe it or not, we are not center of the universe but a nation blessed by God who values freedom, a humble spirit and a hospitable heart.   

Trish Dick, OSB

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Tying Blankets and Telling Stories

Last week, seven sisters (including me) were involved in an event with sophomore women at the College of Saint Benedict. The women, Residence Assistants (RAs) from Lottie and Margretta halls of residence, invited me to ask a few sisters to come to tie blankets (that they are giving to Catholic Charities) and to tell stories. It was so much fun! As we entered the building (Margretta Lounge), the smell of cookies filled the air making us all excited about the possibilities of eating some. Yes, the RAs who were sponsoring this event had baked chocolate cookies and served them with milk!

They had laid out five different fleece blankets on the floor for us to tie. We all got started and young women started streaming in, both from Margretta and Lottie. They just kept coming and coming, with as many as six or seven helping with each blanket. That did not take long because of the many hands at work!