I’m home now…I have to admit I’m tired from the week and I have a lot to process, but I truly had a fantastic time. I was sad to leave on many levels and yet, excited to be home (mostly to see kitty). I hesitate writing a day 5 report because I really need to let some stuff slosh around a bit, but I can give some highlights of day 5 and after the sloshing is complete, I may do a cumulative review; we’ll see.
If you missed the other episodes…click here and follow the linkage…
day 5: mission possible (I so wish I could add audio to play when you bring my page up…)
If you’ve followed these days, I’ll bet you know what we talked about on the last day of the conference…ta da! Of course, the Gospel of John! Again, I have a confession to make…all this time I’ve been a Mark and sometimes Matt girl. Luke is too wordy for me and John…well I just didn’t get into the whole ascetic Jesus as much as I like the down-to-earth (no pun intended), historical perspective. And to sing the praises of Sr. Barbara Reid, OP a little more…my perspecitves on, well, pretty much everything Gospel related, study of Scripture, etc…have been flipped over. The name of the conference was: Women and the Word: Preaching with the Mind, Eyes, and Heart of a Woman”…I don’t think I’ll ever be able to read the Scriptures the same again–all for the better! Seriously…she is amazing.
We spent a lot of time on the Samaritan Woman. You know the story, if not here are some cliff notes: Women, well, Samaritan. Jesus, tired, Jew. Jews and Samaritans no talky talky. Jesus thirsty, Samaritan woman bucket. They converse back and forth:
I’m a Samaritan Woman!, J: Drink water of new life!, SW: What in the heck are you talking about?, J: I can’t believe you don’t know who I am…, SW: hmmm, maybe I am starting to get it, J: Uh Oh, my guys are coming; back go tell people, SW: Ok! [runs to town] I’ll be right back with loads of people!
I’m quite confident that I’m not the only person in the world who thought this passage was about Jesus the “love one another” Jew who throws the law-book to the wind and talks to WOMEN and the OTHERS. Jesus the model for social justice and humanity…I still believe that. I never wondered or questioned the role of the Samaritan Woman though. Isn’t it all about Jesus? Well…she definately had something to say to us/me!
As in the other “episodes” of this “Katy visits the Dominicans” series, I’m not going to spend much time with the “academic” learning (although I could do that very easily), but attempt to connect the themes to my journey and discernment in these experiences. Sr. Barbara suggested we look at the Samaritan woman as a model of mission for us. Two key points I’ll reframe: a) the dialog between Jesus and her was a “gradual self-revelation” that was mutual. A quid pro quo, if you will; however, not in Latin and not with a sociopathic Anthony Hopkins. b) As a person in mission–she experiences, goes back to the familiar, talks about it with her friends, and brings them back.
Re-enter discernment, stage right…
Mission…this is important to me. For me, it’s the “hutzpah” of a congregation (not to be confused with charism, which is a part of mission). Why do a group of women, come together, choose to commit their lives together, and remain through the good, bad, and ugly for a life time, AND THEN…how does it continue on into the future? That’s mission. Each congregation has a mission to which the life, the energy, the membership, the fuel, the ministry…is born, nourished, grown, and moved forward. If I can’t relate to a group’s mission or see myself entering into the mission with all my heart, then I can’t authentically commit my life to that group. It’s an integrity/call/authenticity thing. It’s a very important part of discernment for me…no matter what stage you’re in. To what/to whom are you willing to commit your energy and passion to? That’s the question I’m asking now.
Regarding the reinterpreted “model for mission”–this is classic Katy-now (I wish I could claim this process when I was a youngin’ looking at religious life, but alas…this wisdom is all new, uncharted territory) discernment. It looks a little like this:
Katy looks at websites. Katy tries to find mission statement on websites and is aware if it is prominent or not. If Katy likes and can resonate, Katy moves on to experiences. Katy returns home and will talk about it with people. If Katy still experiences a nudge, a connection, Katy will return.
Sounds an awful lot like the woman in Samaria. I know I write in jest often, and I do not want to belittle the importance of her role as a model for mission–she risked, she entered into a mutual process transforming a relationship from perceived impossibility to friendship, and she returned after proclaiming the good news and brought more people with her. Her mission was to invite people to walk this journey of faith.
Finally…the mutual conversation. Dating (women, men, religious communities) is a lot like this conversation between Jesus and Samaritan woman. It was a gradual process…they didn’t discuss “hot topics” right away. Jesus wasn’t like, “Hey I’m the Messiah and you’re supposed to be a model for mission, I’m thirsty, give me something to drink and then go bring people back!” They each gave a little at a time until the reached a comfort level. The important thing for me was breaking open the mutuality of the conversation.
Dating religious communities can reflect this mutuality…you’re both trying to figure out if each other is a good fit. Enter into the process with integrity and authenticity…it should work out the way it needs to for both parties. Subtract that integrity and authenticity…people get hurt and quite frankly, why would you want to commit to something if one of you had a false sense of the other?
I’m not sure this reflection makes a concrete connection, but like I said, I’m still sloshing over the whole experience. I’ll leave you with a few questions…feel free to comment/begin a dialog!
What kinds of “mission” taps your passion? What do you look for when making a major commitment? How do you engage in a risky relationship that still feels compelling enough to pursue?
Ah-ha…there’s my piece that’s floating around…How/Why would I engage in a risky relationship that feels compelling enough to pursue…that’s my discernment question right now. Now I have to get to work too!