Friday, March 25, 2016

The Journey

                                           My 70th birthday bouquet, on the porch.

  I can be glad I have the south porch my mother built onto this house. I go there in my power chair and sit in the sun and enjoy the sky. There are crowds of birds and squirrels feasting in the mulberry tree in summer or, later on, from the bird-feeders in the snow. There is a track of storms coming down across the northwest or up from the south which keeps us and the trees and the crops and pastures hydrated. I pray for those suffering in drought, monsoons, floods, landslides, hurricanes, tidal waves, famine and war. I pray for the people in ambulances, life flights, hospitals, nursing homes, hospice care, home care and refugee camps.
     I am a Carmelite, a third order religious sister; prayer is what we do. We recognize God’s power as creator and operator of this world and that He appreciates the attempts we make at conversation and in the stories we write and that He uses all we offer of our own suffering. We have at the center of our lives of prayer that our Lord Jesus Christ suffered and died on the Cross to teach us that there is life after death and reason to hope. He even left us His Body and Blood in the transubstantiated bread and wine by ordained Priests at every Mass to help us follow Him.
    This may seem extreme, but Christianity is the only divine idea extreme enough to surround and contain all of life, including illness. Best of all, Carmel is extreme even in the Catholic tradition. Carmelite regulars, the nuns who live in community, are voluntarily confined behind a grille to eliminate distraction, to protect that pure life of prayer. Sisters in other orders may become teachers or nurses, also with prayer, but the Carmelite charism is simply to pray. We like it that Jesus points this out to the sisters Martha and Mary in Scripture, “Martha, Martha, you are busy about many things, but Mary has chosen the better way.” Mary’s way was to sit at His knee, listen and learn what He taught, which was to pray.

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