The 15th Station

Traditionally, there are 14 stations of the cross. The 14th station is “Christ is buried.” Some places add a 15th station: The Resurrection.

We got word this morning that our friend Nick died suddenly yesterday. I don’t know the details. I know that there is at least one group of men who go out to work (landscaping, clearing the grounds, etc) at a favorite retreat house near us in Holy Trinity, AL. Yesterday they were working there. Nick died at the 15th station.

We’ve both cried. But, somewhere in there it occurred to me “What better place to be when you move to the next stage of life than at a spot that recalls the resurrection of Jesus.”

Life is choices. Nick chose to serve God and humanity. Had he chosen differently, the day and the minute might well have been the same. But the circumstance and location would certainly have been different.

We’ll miss you Nick. We pray not only for you, but for Starr and the rest of your family – those you are related to by blood and marriage, and those who are a part of your Cursillo family, your community – your life as a whole.

Healing Service

Have you ever been in a place – a prayer service or just a gathering – where you came away KNOWING that the Presence of God was in that place? Where it was so vibrant you could just about touch it?

Friday evening we celebrated Our Lady of Lourdes and the first Friday of Lent with a healing service. There were about 50 who gathered to pray – this included the 20 or so who received the annointing for the sick. I was not one receiving the sacrament, but as I listened to Nancy speak about healing, I understood that I have experienced deep healing in the last few years.

Had this been 6 years ago, I would have been in there to receive the sacrament of annointing of the sick – or I should have been (whether I would have done it then or not is a different question). Nancy alluded to the fact that one common denominator for those who Jesus healed was that each person who was healed was open to being healed. When I made the doctor’s appointment several years ago ( 7? 8? ) and sat down and said “I think I may be depressed” – that opened the door for healing. Before that, I had been immobile – kind of like the paralytic who sat by the pool at Silaom for 34 years, unable to get into the healing waters because no one could/would assist him. So, perhaps, the healing had to begin before I could even get to the office.

It’s been slow, but after some pharmaceutical assistance and years of counselling there is a wholeness growing inside. An acceptance of who I am. An acceptance that I too am broken as are all humans, but that I am also created perfect – in the image of God/Goddess – creator of us all. A paradox, but a truth to be accepted. On Friday night, the power of healing of mind, spirit and even body came sharply into focus and nearly knocked me over with powerful reality.

A friend remarked that I sounded surprized by the fact it can happen. And I guess I was – I knew it, but Friday night I KNEW it. I’ve heard that if it’s not news, it’s not the Gospel. The Gospel was proclaimed to me in a small Catholic Church on Friday night, 11-Feb-2005.

It’s about needing, not about deserving

Why do I try to help people in need? It hit me yesterday that that the answer is in the question: Need. I listen to those around and hear phrases like “no one is more deserving of help than ….” and yesterday that just struck me as off-base. Mine is not to judge deserving, mine is to respond to needs when I can. Mine is not to say “That person doesn’t deserve my help – she’ll just squander the assistance” or “That guy deserves a lot of help — he’ll do something with the help.” The judging can be left to God.

This is just not coming out the way I want it to. Perhaps I’ll have to rewrite it later. For now, I just need to create a reminder that it’s not about deserving – it’s about responding to another person’s needs.

Sisters

My sisters – the 3 other women that I share breakfast and life with on Wednesday mornings – are truly my sisters in Christ. It’s amazing what happens week after week. One of the questions we reflect on is “when was I most aware of Christ’s presence this week?” Doh! What always seems to happen is one or more of us starts with the statement: “I just don’t remember a close moment….” and then the week comes into a different focus and we become aware of the times when we were touched, or even shouted at by God/dess. “I couldn’t see Christ yesterday during… — but all I could think of was that I need to pursue a new ministry working with….” You get the idea.

One thing that it seems women understand instinctively is the need for community and sharing. In my group, we have an agreement that we can say whatever we are thinking or feeling. The others don’t have to agree or disagree, but listen and love. As with small groups like this, the rule is “what is said here, stays here.” (hence the very generic quote above).

Traveller, there is no road…

When I set this site up, JF sent me the quote “Traveller, there is no road. It is made by walking.” A bit of wisdom from a member of the International Association of Charity. This seems to converge with a story I heard once that shed light on the proclamation of Jesus – “I am the Way.”

It seems a soldier was downed somewhere in SE Asia during one of the recent conflicts (can’t call them wars, you know.) He was rather desperate, being lost in the thick jungle where it was nearly impossible to determine friend or foe. A local villager appeared and said “Follow me. I’ll lead you out – to safety.”

“You’ll show me the road?” asked the soldier.

“There is no road. You have to follow me, I am the way you get out.”

That seems to be what I am bumping up against repeatedly. There is no syllabus, there is no paved road, not even a pig trail. So, I follow the leading of God/Goddess/Jesus/Spirit. And my! what an adventure.

I’ve seen signposts as we walk:

  • the need within myself to image (not imagine) God as the Feminine Divine and learn to appreciate the very fact of my being: I am female, and created in the image of God. The need to recognize that this is not to become an exclusive view.
  • Just as I venture into the Feminine I am confronted with truth that comes from the traditional male-centric Catholic faith. I had the first real talk I’ve ever had with the pastor at St. Michael’s and discovered someone I could talk to.
  • friend or foe is still difficult to determine. Some people I expect to be “friend” come back to me as non-comprehending impediments. Some that I suspect to be “foe” turn out to share an understanding and an openess to discussing some ideas.

Go figure.

Is it Love that brings you here, or Love that brings you life?

That line always bugged me – I’ve never quite understood it. It always seemed that why would you be getting married (the line is from Paul Stookey’s Wedding Song) if it wasn’t Love that brought you here.

A glimmer of light: if it’s not Love that brings you life, you’ll never have what it takes for a marriage to be a sacrament… Love that brings you here just ain’t enough. It pins its hope on another human being and is bound to fail. The Love that brings you life is a centering point, so that it is possible to love another person.

You’re in a maze of twisty little passages

Sometime it feels like a maze – maybe it’s just the labyrinth aspect.

Sunday, I found myself at mass listening carefully to both the homily looking for the non-masculine elements. Jack is really a wonderful preacher. There is a deep spirituality in the man that bubbles out when he preaches. He almost always gets to me. This weekend he spoke about Jesus calling the apostles, about them getting up and following — about the change of heart and life — about metanoia. And, in listening, I think I “met a noia.” That’s a joke from a Cursillo weekend.

My current journey has been emotionally draining for the past couple of weeks. Listening to feelings what they are trying to tell me. Metanoia means that I not only listen, but allow what I discover to make a change: a change in attitude that will effect a change in life. It’s hard to be fearless in this case.

Upon finishing Dance, I decided that I would try to catch up on reading “His Way” (David Knight). His WayThis is the text book for The School (of Leaders). It was originally published in about 1970. Still good stuff, but not for the feint-hearted. Right now I’m into the first part of chapter 5, but I’m still chewing on the questions at the end of Chapter 1: If I no longer believed in Jesus, what choices would I make differently – what would be the difference.

This is a struggle… I’m not sure. I have difficulty trying to figure out what would be different. If I no longer “believed in Jesus” would I then no longer be able to accept that God[dess] loves me unconditionally? Not sure. And if so, what would that mean? Again, not sure. ‘Tis something to ponder.

Serendipity

Last night I caught most of “The Spoken Word” on GPB – a talk by a historian on which facts are true in The DaVinci Code. It was interesting… and I did find out a bit more about some of the “lost gospels.”

The strength of The DaVinci Code still seems to be 2-fold: a fun, interesting mystery/puzzle AND it tapped into the missing, or at least buried, Feminine Divine. I really think that the second is the reason for the popularity and the talk. Whether or not people will admit it out loud, deep inside Christians have a sense that the current mainline Christian view is skewed. It makes some folks really angry that one can conceive of God as Mother. It makes some folks sad that we don’t often see the image of God(dess) as Mother/Sister. The common thread is that this idea really gets folks heated up… it touches a nerve somewhere.

The author of this book stayed away from theology – but did offer some assistance on where to look for the Gospel of Phillip and the Gospel of Mary. They will go onto my reading list.

Picking Up Stones

At the Foot of Knocknarea (Cathie Ryan:The Music of What Happens) is a song about a woman carrying a stones to the top of Knocknarea to leave at Queen Mave’s (sp?) cairn – a stone that bears all her troubles. I’m picking through the stones I’d like to leave at the tomb, or the cross.

One stone is regret (and guilt) over being silent and fearful. Not listening to my soul. Hiding my feelings so deep they were hidden from myself. To be honest, I can’t name those times. I can name a few times when I was brave, wasn’t silent. So – I’ll leave the un-named stones for healing and remember being brave and what it meant.

Many years ago, neighbors and family were at my house for dinner or some such gathering. We were standing in the kitchen. I think my sister and brother in-law were there, and the folks across the street. The conversation had to do with the others recently joining a local club (think a large relative of the whitetail deer). Only the men could/can join as it’s a men’s organization. (I really don’t have as much of a problem with men’s only organizations as maybe I should, because if women need to be free to have sisterhoods, then men probably need brotherhoods…. but that’s an aside to this story. ) They were encouraging my husband to think about becoming a member. The lodge has a nice swimming pool and the kids could go there to swim during out brutally hot summer. And – this is the part that got me rolling – when the kids went there you didn’t have to deal with the blacks like you did /do at the city pool. Something snapped. I heard myself proclaim the “John wouldn’t ever be joining any a racially prejudiced men’s club.” The room went silent. My heart pounded. Then the conversation slowly restarted – on a different topic.

Fear is a powerful thing… overcoming it is also powerful. However, I still need to learn to accept my own spot when I do find my voice…. and not feel guilty about succeeding.

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