Friday, October 23, 2009

On the Road ~ Reflections on Community pt 1

The past couple of weeks have been busy ones for me - I've "been on the road" a fair amount traveling north and south on well as a few other roads. As I traveled to and from Tacoma, WA one day last week I was very aware of the weather because it was a blustery autumn day... fairly rainy, but with the sun was ducking in and out revealing rainbows at different points. The wind was blowing leaves around and as I journeyed along I saw a few flocks of geese in the sky flying south in V formation. It reminded me of a handout I got years ago called "A Lesson From The Geese" which is comprised of 5 lessons learned from observations of geese. I'm not exactly sure who wrote it and need to investigate that. It is quite profound and started me thinking about community.
The first observation and lesson is: As each bird flaps its wings, by flying in a V formation, the whole flock adds 71% flying range than if each bird flew alone. Lesson: People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.

Like the leaves that were blowing about me over the freeway and the beautiful ones with multiple colors still on the trees along the road, members in a "community" are diverse with many different individuals and yet we share a common direction. I am often reminded of that in my religious community of Sisters. We certainly are each unique, but we share our many different gifts and talents to enhance the group as a whole, to help each other along the way, and to make the world a better place. Together we can do something beautiful for God that I/we might not be able to do individually!

I leave you with a quote from Mark Morrison-Reed:
~ The religious community is essential, for alone our vision is too narrow to see all that must be seen. Together, our vision widens and strength is renewed. ~
So, whether in a religious community or a faith community may we unite (fly) together to bring about the Kingdom of God!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

...October Opulence...

"The course of Nature is the art of God."
~ Edward Young

Here we are, into the second weekend of October already! So far we have been having a beautiful October. The colors of the trees have been very pretty and the days are having a crisp feel to them. The autumn season is definitely upon us and the harvest days of October are here!
October brings another abundance to us as well ... The other day as I came to the end of the evening office of prayers in my local community, I was looking through the back of my prayer book at the Feast days of this month. I already noted that we celebrated St. Francis Day on the 4th, but for some reason I was also more aware of other feast days during this month. What a rich month of celebrating holy men and women as well as a few other feasts!
October ...
1: St. Therese of Lisieux - the little flower
2: Feast of The Guardian Angels
4: St. Francis of Assisi
7: Our Lady of the Rosary
11: Pope John XXIII ~ St. John XXIII
15: Teresa of Avila
17: Ignatius of Antioch
18: St. Luke
23: St. John of Capistrono
28: Sts. Simon and Jude
Of course there are others too ... I bet you might be able to name a few I forgot ... The point is though, October has an abundance of beautiful feast days to celebrate! What a rich heritage we have as Catholics ... and so many models of faith!
One that I would like to highlight briefly since we are on the eve of his feast day and I personally think he was a very good and holy man is Pope John XXIII. A new realization I had recently is that he was a Secular Franciscan making his profession at age 16. He was truly a man of faith and vision, with a quick wit and a strong sense of care and relationship for all people. As I come to the end of this writing I want to close with words from "good Pope John" :
"Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do."

The learn more about Pope John XXIII, convener of the Second Vatican Council go to ...
Also, a book that I am interested in reading, one that Archbishop John Vlazny of Portland, OR suggested as "book worthy of your attention" is Journal of the Soul - the diary of the late Pope's spiritual reflections. I bet it has some gems for reflection! Peace and All Good!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Let's Celebrate!

Today is the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi!

It is a grand day to celebrate ... to celebrate the saint, to celebrate the Franciscan Spirit in our world today after 800 years, and to celebrate
the gifts and legacy that Francis left us to follow Jesus more closely
and to walk gently on our earth as brothers and sisters!

As I celebrate this feast day I am able to recall some wonderful memories of being able to make a pilgrimage to Assisi several years ago. What a wonderful experience that was to spend time in many of the holy places where St. Francis walked and prayed! If you ever have a chance to go to Italy, be sure to add a visit to Assisi - preferably for more than a day! There is so much to soak in there ... a beautiful spirit that will bless your life immensely!

So, today, with Franciscan men and women throughout the world, I celebrate! I must get busy now though, because company will be arriving shortly. There will be seven of us here for a nice St. Francis Day dinner ~ a time to be together as community, share a meal, visit with each other and pray. It should be a most enjoyable evening.

As I close off on this entry though I leave you with a "Franciscan thought" ... There is a little book - Francis: The Journey and the The Dream - that Murray Bodo, OFM wrote many years ago that has really become a classic. It is a wonderful, poetic book that is a good introduction to the life of St. Francis. As I read it many years ago I was touched by many things, but a couple of the lines that Fr. Bodo wrote that have really stuck with me over the years are:
"... Francis wanted more than anything else to leave behind in all men and women an attitude of celebration. Union with God and with every person and with every thing was love and love brought joy, not gloom ..."
So, let's celebrate
.... celebrate this day and all the wonderful gifts of our God!
Pace E Bene! Peace and All Good!