Saturday, July 20, 2013

A hobbit among ancient giants...

At least, that's how I felt at Big Basin Redwoods Park yesterday.  It was beautiful, glorious, total peace.

And then... Went here and met this guy. :) However, this is a postcard I bought...the museum itself is a little more worn and dusty than it looks here.   The guy is about the same, though.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Yesterday's pilgrimage

As promised, the photos from Carmel Mission and the burial site of Junipero Serra.

From what I read, this mission was Serra's favorite, and it became his home base.  It also had some significant damage from neglect before being rebuilt/repaired.

The outside of the mission.  To the right is the old cemetery, and to the left are buildings around a courtyard.

I think this said it was the original cross from the top of the church.

Serra's burial place, beneath the floor of the sanctuary.

And I cannot resist this last one.  I think it will find its way into future lectures on the Spanish conquest. I can't get over the imagery... Sacred Heart of Jesus / Christ the King rolled into one.  Complete with gilded cape and wooden cross.  I was a bit amused, but also a bit saddened by the way we use imagery sometimes.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today is my first anniversary of first vows!  I am so happy to be here, and grateful for all that this year has been (though not all of it has been easy!)

As part of my celebratory day, I took a mini pilgrimage to the Carmel Mission, which I'll post in a little bit.  I lit a candle there for my own vocation, in gratitude and hope, for my dear friend who is just beginning a new journey, and for all women who are discerning a vocation to religious life in the Society of the Sacred Heart.  May they be courageous and confident in their choices.

And, here is my favorite picture from the ceremony a year published in a newspaper in my hometown.  

Amen, and Blessings all around!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Going by the side roads

There is a great woman among our Sacred Heart sisters, who wrote of the side-roads and their spirituality (as opposed to the highways).  Janet Erskine Stuart, rscj, was the superior general of the order 1911-1914, and she wrote an essay called "Highways and By-ways."  "By-ways" is what we would call side-roads.

I'm on vacation at a house we have in the mountains in California, and I'm learning a little about the side-roads.  To get to this house, you have to go 5-10 miles in either direction on a winding road up and down mountains through the redwoods.  It's spectacular.  Of course, I can't actually take a picture of it (since I'm driving in it!!) but you can imagine the smell of the forest, and the sickeningly-windy roads going through it. (I do mean sickening.  I'm not sure I would want to be a passenger traversing these roads!)

These days have brought back to me the feel of growing up in Montana, and the vacations we took when I was a child to visit my extended family in Oregon.  The smell of the trees alone brings memories and happy feelings to my heart!  Ah!

A little snippet of Janet Stuart's essay on the highways and by-ways....  She contrasts the two ways, that by the highway, one is trying to "arrive" at the destination.  The journey is not about the journey at all, but about getting to a final location in a speedy fashion.  In contrast, the side-roads attract those who are on a journey, for whom the journey is more important than anything else.  She says of the side-roads:

“There pass the inspired people, the seers, poets in contemplation, shepherds and sons of the soil who hide behind irresponsive faces strange gleams of the unseen world, shadows of inarticulate fears, and hopes still more unutterable.  There pass village children gathering flowers, and gypsies in quest of forbidden things, and crazy, harmless wanderers perhaps wiser than the sane, and all the uncounted seekers after that which can never be known, and lovers of that which always lies beyond.  The people of the other world are attracted to the by-ways, where the mysteries call them onward, and the shy nightingales sing, and the stress of life is lifted off, and the ticking of time is still, where it is no longer the chronometer that divides the seconds, but the sun that rules the day, and the moon and stars that govern the night; where life seems larger because of silence and calm, where the soul may be invaded and taken captive unresisting by the power of the world to come, where the mind learns to rest in the Lord and wait patiently for the heart’s desire, where the conviction grows that at long last all things come home to their God, Ad Te omnis caro veniet!”

Her language is so lovely! And I pray that each of us find the path to a heart open to being "taken captive" by God, resting there in love.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Reflecting on Freedom

To begin with, this post really has nothing to do with the coming celebration of Independence Day.  Just in case the title led you to think that...

Instead, I want to focus on yesterday's readings.  The second reading was from Paul's letter to the Galatians.  I'll abbreviate it here (but the whole thing is Gal. 5:1, 13-18, and can be found here):

Brothers and sisters:  For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.

For you were called for freedom, brothers and sisters.  But do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh; rather, serve one another through love. For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement, namely, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

What is it that keeps you from freely following Jesus?  What freedom to you need to be truly able to live a whole-hearted life in love?
  • Freedom from illness or physical pain?
  • Freedom from mental illness, depression, or otherwise?
  • Freedom from attachment to "stuff" -- a closet full of nice clothes, a fancy car, a designer dog?

None of those things are really bad in themselves, and of course, illness (mental or physical) is not something that we can control.  But they are certainly things we can pray for.  I pray right now for freedom from whatever stops each one of us from serving our neighbors in love.  For healing for all those who are ill, in pain or mental anguish.  For detachment for those who need it.  For freedom to be who we are called by God to be.  Freedom for loving as God loves us.