Tuesday, July 29, 2014

God as Wisdom Energy

On June 7th I was able to celebrate being three-fourths of a century old.  So I’ve given myself permission to ponder “What if…” whenever it rises in me.  So here’s my most recent “What if … ?”

What if …GOD actually is
WISDOM-ENERGY born of unconditional love

What if the “Father-ness” of God, expresses itself as infinitely-creating-Wisdom-Energy
          Generating:  • awe • praise and • gratefulness
What if the “Son-ness” of God, expresses itself as embodied-Wisdom-Energy

Generating:  a template of how we earthlings can walk/speak/respond as 
 incarnate  unconditional love and respect. 
              Then we would readily be   recognized by
                             • the attentiveness of our listening   
• the consistentness of our  letting go and • the totalness of our forgiving

What if the “Holy Spirit-ness” of God, expresses itself as transforming-Wisdom-Energy
          gentle-patience   emerging-truth    empowering-strength
          compassionate-presence    gift-naming     wound-naming
          resilient-hope             endless-reciprocity          humus-laughter
          mindful-fearlessness humble-peacefulness    • inclusive-respect

Let’s walk together on this Incarnate Unconditional Path.

Mary Rachel Kuebelbeck, OSB

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Five Days with a Prophet

Sandra Schneiders, IHM
Every once in a while someone comes into our life and gives us a message that we cannot ignore. And what a gift that is!  Last week, S. Tamra Thomas, OSB, one of our women in 1st Monastic Profession and I drove to St. Mary's College in South Bend, IN to spend five days with such a person. Sandra Schneiders, IHM, is professor emerita of New Testament and spirituality at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, California. For an unknown number of years she has dedicated herself to studying, reflecting and writing on religious life in the new millennium. In fact, she has just published the third volume of a trilogy on religious life and, in case you are interested, the three volumes combined are 4" thick. The last volume alone is over 650 pages. She had much to share with the 240 of us assembled at St. Mary's, representing 48 congregations.

In the title of this blog I refer to Sr. Sandra as a "prophet". I am positive that she certainly would not call herself that and she would be embarassed to know that I am dedicating this blog to her; then why speak of her as a prophet?  On her last morning with us, the topic of the day was: "The Prophetic Vocation". We heard her say God calls the prophet, it is a vocation and one does not declare oneself a prophet.  One called can refuse, he or she has that freedom. The prophet is someone who gives him/herself over to God's purpose. How can a true prophet be distinguished from a false prophet?  The answer is coherence between the prophet's message and the prophet's life according to Sr. Sandra.  Not everyone who teaches the "Good News" is a prophet. They may be giving the right message but there could be incoherence between their teaching and their lives. Prophets always have their eyes fixed on God's people, the Church, and they witness to God's true nature. Jesus disturbed the leaders of his day.  In fact, his only crime was to challenge the status quo. For Jesus there was no inequality of power. It was never about the strong versus the weak, nor was it about someone being superior to another.

Why do I consider Sandra Schneiders, IHM a prophet for today?  Simple.  God has called her, her life is coherent with her message.  She is in her mid to late seventies now and retired from teaching.  She could now have a quieter life; yet she has a message to share and despite her fatigue last week she gave us the benefit of her wisdom way beyond what she was committed to give us.  Her gift is clarity of thought and preciseness of language. Her closing words to us were:  "Prayer should be the heart and center of our lives."  I have no doubt that she lives this day in and day out.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Toward the Eye of the Storm

Photo courtesy NSSL
I have only seen the effects of a tornado, have no idea what it might be like to be caught—outside—when the winds suddenly occur. I imagine I would be tossed here and there while desperately trying to run from it, to run toward any shelter (given my lapse of memory about what we were all taught: “prostrate yourself in a ditch and protect your head!”) I would surely be looking for another human being, equally in a state of panic, who might give advice on where to go, how to escape, where home might be. I can only imagine the debris:  falling and flying objects/trees/dust; no sunlight to distinguish east from west, panic within and without. Where is my home where I can shut doors, draw curtains, fervently pray and fearfully be with the experience?

Discernment—or any honest searching within one’s self for answers to a problem dealing with faith, a job, a relationship, a change of some dimension -- can be a similar kind of experience. I may feel as if there were a veritable storm within, but with repercussions outside myself. Could someone please tell me where to go? What to do? What is going on? Why are things so chaotic? Why is there so much debris and so little light?  Who will be affected by my decision? What can I do to save the situation? Or save myself from having to make a decision? Indeed, when will I decide to go to my room, enter the closet of my heart and listen to the still small voice that is longing to be heard, eager to bring peace and a decision?

You may have been in similar circumstances, whether large or insignificant? Tell me about it.  How did you get to the eye of the storm?

Renée Domeier, OSB