Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Hope Through the Love of Christ

(Girls, God and Good Times Camp
Photo by Karen Streveler, OSB)
I love the season of summer. I love it for a combination of reasons.  There seems be a more relaxed schedule; there is the hustle and bustle of the noise of children outside playing; and there is the unfolding of the beauty of the earth seen in the many flowers, plants and trees. The gardens are full of little sprouts of hope that desire to bear fruit. I am amazed that these little seeds sprout not knowing what the future holds for them. They could be wiped out by the nibbling of cute little critters who are eager for some fresh nourishment. A rain cloud could decides to ping down hail that tears and flattens them. The heat of the sun could scorch them and a human creature forget to water and nourish them. Yet even when they confronted with adverse conditions, these sprouts are resilient and, with some tender loving care, come back to life with a daunting, generous hope of becoming a part of the sustaining beauty of the earth.

I think of the book of Ecclesiastes where it says there is a season and time for everything. Shauna Niequist, in her book, Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way, states that there is a season for wildness and a season for settledness and this is neither. This season is about becoming.  Hope is about becoming in whatever season we find ourselves.  I do have to admit I am a slower, but impatient, learner at times. The season of becoming and unfolding can be awkward, clumsy and lack coherence.  Yet we Benedictines are given a way to understand the season of becoming through the Rule of St. Benedict, where he stresses the love of Christ as the focal point. The love of Christ is the center of our growth process.  We put hope in Christ and in becoming no matter where we are or how clumsy the process. 

If you find you have little critters of criticism nibbling at your hope of becoming, clouds of voices pinging down doubts of unfolding, or are feeling the sun’s scorning rays of discouragement, then press on in the love of Christ. In Benedict’s Rule, verse 74, Chapter 4, called “The Tools of Good Works,” he admonishes us to not to despair or lose hope in God’s mercy.  That hope may often be found in another person with a watering can, who gently waters your spirit back into the season of becoming.  Ask yourself whether today you are the watering can or the sprout needing nourishment? 

May we all find our anchor of life in the hope of becoming through the love of Christ.

Trish Dick, OSB

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