Stand up, Sisters! “Fill Jerusalem with your teachings…”

Infuriorated.  Befuddled.  Disbelief.  Utter disgust.  Some of the thoughts (feelings?) that crossed my mind last night when I read several articles on the Vatican’s decision to appoint a Bishop to “reform” the workings of the LCWR (Leadership Conference of Women Religious)…before I begin my thoughts on this…let me help set some context:

You can read the NCR version of the article or the NY Times version by clicking these links:  National Catholic Reporter       NY Times

NunSpeak 101:  LCWR–Conference of most of the Head Honcho Nuns in the US.  Offer support, education, retreats, and social justice activism for most of the congregations in the country.  Organization was originally set up by the Vatican.  They do great work especially in helping congregations living out their charism (Nun word for “spirit/flavor” of each individual group) and responding to the needs of the time.

I was a member of a religious community (whose Provincials [Nun for: Boss Ladies] belonged to LCWR) for 6 years; vowed for 3.  Religious life is a huge part of me and despite the fact that my “legal/canonical” status has changed, I still have very much spirit and commitment in me as a woman religious.

I don’t even know what to say.  My first reaction was all of this rage-y energy flowing and I posted my fury on FB immediately.  I couldn’t sleep last night…I was so distrubed.  This is MY church…the faith tradition in which I believe, was raised, and continue to put energy into…what are these guys, and I mean GUYS, thinking?  Why the attack on women religious?  Do they forget who has established and maintained most schools and hospitals in this country?  Do they forget teachings of the church like, hmmm…I don’t know…CATHOLIC SOCIAL TEACHING?  Do we ignore the messages of JESUS?  I feel like I’m in an episode of the twilight zone!  Obviously, I’m a bit riled up.

This morning…I decided to look at today’s readings and was immediately struck with the 1st Reading: Acts 5:27-33–AMAZING!  The Spirit speaks to me again.  I guess my rage turned to anticipatory hope.  Knowing I struggle with the hierarchy of the church prioritizing an attack on women religious’ conference speakers when we have real, human, social issues to deal with in the world, this reading reminding me that this is the work of Jesus…no matter how unfortunate it seems.

So using my ragey energy…I pray for our chuch, especially the hierarchy, today.  That we be reminded of the God-ness in our faith and not the “man-ness” of power.  That we see our church as a living organism…changing, adapting, mutating as necessary with the signs and needs of the time.

I pray for my girls–my woman religious family…that you have the courage and strength to continue to “fill Jerusalem with your teachings” and “obey God not man” in just and ways in which benefit humankind…sometimes at a great price.

real.truth.experience.joy

Washing Feet…not mine…not now…

Wash my feet? Mine? Now?

Sorry, they are rough and tired.

Profound gesture, thanks.

(Haiku.  Holy Thursday, 4/5/12.  KML)

It’s Holy Thursday…my “tied-for-first” favorite liturgical feast (the other?  Pentecost).  I find the story, the reflection, and the profundity of washing feet deeply touch me.  My tied-for-first  feasts are so closely related in meaning.  They both are about commissioning, service, mission…values embedded deep within me.  Values that led me to consider and pursue my call to religious life.

A short story insert to help with context:

Once upon a time there was a college freshman named, Katy.  Katy’s family went to Florida every year for Easter and unfortunately, because Katy’s college schedule didn’t allow for that, she was stuck at home.  Katy had to vacate the dorms for Triduum–Easter Monday so naturally she went to the convent to hang with the nuns.  Now, Katy, although growing up mostly Catholic, never went to a Triduum service in her life.  Not only was she churched that weekend…when she woke up on Easter Sunday (to get ready for more church), the nuns had the 8 o’clock MASS on the RADIO.  Katy hadn’t been to this much church, in consecutive days in her life…let alone listen to it on the radio. (although there was that one time she tried to convince her mom watching it on TV was legit because it was the Pope…)

Come to think of it…I think it was Holy Thursday that weekend of Nunning it where the universe united and I began considering religious life as an option.  After (you guessed it…) Mass, Srs. Toni, Guisselle, Kathy, and I sat in Toni’s room and somehow started looking at Toni’s ceremony pictures.  Then I slowly started to ask questions…and I still have the journal entry somewhere…but something changed within me.  That night my heart heard something different…

Fast forward…14 (ugh…) years…

I’m disinterested, not moved, not inspired…I don’t want church, hell…I don’t want faith, prayer, spirituality…any of it at the moment.  I love God and I know God exisists…that’s about it.  It’s painful to think about going to church.  It’s painful to think about a feast which represents my call…my vocation.

Selfish…probably.  Feeling guilty…yep.  Taking care of me, despite my charred insides…you bet.  (My spiritual director says that I’m allowed and I don’t need to be interested in God for God to be interested in me…hmmmm.)

So here I sit…on my favorite feast day, blogging.  I wrote the Haiku above this morning.  I have had many profound experiences with the feet washing ritual.  I’ve had the Jesus–“Hey…I gotta do this to be an example…”, the “Peter”–Wash mine? I should be washing yours…”, the “Collective”–we wash one another’s as communion, etc.  I’ve never felt the–“Disgust and the need to hide my feet (or self)” mode, like I do today.

My feet; they are rough and tired.  My feet have been on a hard journey–over hot coals, thistles, sand, dirt, rocks…you get the point…  They have been beaten up, they have been soothed along the way, yes; however, need to heal a bit more before exposing them again.

This self-care stuff, I’ve been working on for a couple of years now, in a deep way.  It’s hard!  It doesn’t feel right…especially when you feel called to pour out your love for others.  Tonight…I need to care for my battered and blistered feet…and humbly bow before my spirit and let myself be ok with this (and know God is too…). Not easy. Not comfortable…but what journey is easy and comfortable?

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