Friday, June 04, 2010

Random Morning Ponderings

I get up very early on Friday mornings, so I've already had many rounds of pondering going on. Here's a little bouquet:

I was remembering a couple of exchanges I had with Viola Talbot during the short time I stayed at Little Portion Hermitage, discerning. One of these happened my first morning on work detail. It was dreadfully early in the morning, and I was with a group of women preparing the grounds for the upcoming celebration of the feast of St. Francis. We were ripping overgrown grass off of a brick walkway. The task was simple enough on the surface, but I felt completely and totally bewildered. This was about 6 months after I'd become a Catholic. I had no clue whatsoever what this task had to do with monastic life. I didn't know how to pray this way, much less how to be with people I barely knew.

At one point, one of the Sisters near me uncovered a mound of nasty ants and recoiled. She said quietly (they have a rule of silence in the mornings) "Does anyone want a good penance?" Without a word, Viola, who was also nearby, reached into the mound of ants and really dove into tearing the grass out. Her strong response to the Sister -- really, to the Lord in this circumstance -- spoke volumes to me.

Later, when it was time for me to have "my official talk" with Viola about what where my discernment had taken me, I remember her telling me (after I told her that I worked in an office) that when she first took on working in the Hermitage business office, that she didn't even know how to go into the room or do any of the work. I also remember not understanding why she told me that. I've since figured it out! She realized far better than I did how clueless I was about their life. What I remember this morning is her patience, her complete lack of judgment, and a very quiet charity.

Next random pondering:  At Mass this morning, we celebrated a votive Mass of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. At communion, I thought of how, at the many Eucharistic miracles that have been scientifically verified, hosts which have turned to flesh are always found to be heart tissue. A text I'd read recently came to mind, talking about how the true center of what we call "the heart" metaphorically speaking is the will. "The heart" includes our affection and our feeling or sentiment, but the core of who we are is our will, which certainly does not preclude but raises up our affections and sentiments. So, I receive Jesus, His Sacred Heart which is filled with love for me. And this love is expressed in His will -- His will for me, which includes all the circumstances of my life right now, and indeed many things of which I grasp very little. I receive, and with my little love, I say yes. My will says yes to His will. This is harmony!

Last random pondering: Recently the organist at one of the local parishes passed away. He was a gifted musician but a surly man, known for being rashly rude. He was not Catholic, which I mention simply to highlight that he seemed to be drawn to be on the outside of things always, never a part of the people he was with. Some months ago, one of my husband's friends explained to me that this organist had lost someone very close to him, a child I think, and that in his sorrow he was never quite "right" after that. I was sad to learn from my husband today that he had opted for no obituary, no funeral, and an anonymous cremation. He had been in a coma before he died, so perhaps he never realized that two of my husband's friends were at his bedside praying just before he died. It really is a sadness to believe that our meanness could really banish all love from our lives.

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