Thursday, February 09, 2012
Nuns have taken a bad rap from many a contemporary for some examples of excess cited from parochial education. But my experience of those who trained me for Spiritual Direction was a marvel of brilliance, intelligence and compassion.
I am particularly indebted to Sr. Carole Riley, Sr. Pelikane, Sr. Molly, and a dear sweet woman who has now gone on to the larger life to be with Jesus.
I've read of the lives of Julian of Norwich, Teresa of Avila, Hildegaard of Bingen and find that their spirituality helped pave the way for current understandings of critical importance for Spiritual Direction in our present day.
I awoke last night to words dancing in my heart of these wonderful women. I thought of my dear grandmother, and then too my wife with whom I am reunited today after months of separation. She has been tending to my son after he suffered a stroke. And then I awoke to a stream of words which I hurriedly wrote down.
Here then is
A Nun's Prayer
She is impeccably dressed
With a countenance that is quiet and collected
She loves to read and greets passers by with a knowing smile
There is laughter in her saddened eyes
And she works tirelessly without haste
She cannot stop praying
But without holy words until chapel
Her life is such that prayer is her only possible alternative left
And we flock to her to seek counsel, comfort, and consolation
Her cup overflows with the goodness of God
Yet more than once she upbraided us
Stopped us dead with a glance
And before we knew it there was laughter
Blended with a sorrowful tear
And we were enfolded by Our Lady’s embrace.
I wanted to tell her of her beauty
But she would hear none of it
In fact she renounced all that
With pure raw courage
And tended instead to the sick and dying
The poor and the homeless
The brokenhearted and sin sick
Black and broken hearts and souls
And she mended us tirelessly
As a woman would her knitting.
She is not always treated well
But she refuses to indulge herself in sadness
And insists instead on long life and happiness
Strictly enforcing the rule upon herself
And seeking so for others
Until the Glory of God’s radiance shines through
O the stories she can tell!
And O how I love to sit at her knee and listen
To her as she brings the scripture to life
And redeems my soul trembling, remembering
That the story is mine
I only wish I could have done more for her and better
But she beat me to that too by doing more and better for everyone else.
With every breath she takes, with every stride she walks
And with every word she speaks
She is Something Beautiful for God!
(Note on September 2, 2012. It is of interest to me that I wrote these words long before we knew that the Religious would be taken to task for their "feminist" views, their "inclusive love of all", their rigorous devotion to the poor and the outcast. Frankly, their have always been Pharisees and Sadducees who would take Jesus and his followers to task for doing such things. Isn't it an irony above all ironies that this time it would be The Church! God help us. What I have written stands. God bless, preserve and build our Sisters Religious!)