My dear friend, Sister Rita, SSJ, and I are writing a book together, and will tell you more about it as we go along. For now, let me just say I couldn’t be more excited about it, as the wisdom I’ve received from her over the years has been, and continues to be, invaluable.
She sent me a reflection she wrote for Thanksgiving, and I thought I’d share it with you. Here it is:
Reflection: November 23, 2016
Here I am . . . these are the 3 words that begin my journal day after day. Here I am in a world wracked with fear, a terrorized world. Here I am . . . in world where so many people are moving beyond fear and hatred toward forgiveness and hospitality. Here I am , a first-world white woman with an education, with a warm home, going to celebrate a veritable feast day meal with my local community. Here I am in a world where women are traded and trafficked, denied education, violated and abused. Here I am . . . I am in my world as Jesus was in his, surrounded by persons of good will, surrounded by enmity, surrounded by finger pointing, surrounded by people looking for God, surrounded by people like myself, capable of great generosity , capable of great self-absorption, of withholding love.
My daily “here I am” reminds me that the brokenness and beauty I see in the world lives in me. My thanksgiving prayer is begging the grace to live from gratitude and when I experience my poverty of age, energy, selflessness, empathy and practically every other virtue – to be grateful for that. It is my poverty that helps me understand the desperation of others. It is my poverty that teaches me humility, to stand in awe of the incredible courage and sacrifice so many bring to each day. It is my poverty that reminds me to live completely dependent on God and grace. It is my poverty that makes me look into my heart each morning to what 2 cents I have and beg for the grace to be generous with it.
My abundance is all I have been given. None of it was owed me . . . the companionship of others, their honesty with me, the gift of home, family ( with all its imperfections) those who believed in me when I did not believe in myself. My poverty is my own.
Thinking about my inner poverty is for me a good way to prepare for Advent. It reminds of all the empty places needing to be filled by God. It reminds me that the emptiness in me might be a haven for others. My poverty reminds me of all the world’s longings, Earth longing for a respite from out relentless exploitation, persons longing for what they need to survive, and of course Jesus – the one who embraced and experienced all our longings, the one with us.
Thanks for all the ways you give of you 2 cents to bring about care of Earth and the dear neighbor, to heal broken relationships, to make room in the inn of your hearts for the Christ who comes in myriad guises.
Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends.