Dessert in our backyard
The 10-12 foot pointsettia-ish plant in the back
So as I write this, my sister-in-law, Jen, is in the hospital waiting impatiently for the baby to come. Today is 4 weeks until the actual due date but there's been some heart rate and blood pressure questions so they thought it best to help the process along. I've been eagerly awaiting each call since noon yesterday and just keep praying that everything will be okay. So I guess it's safe to say that my mind (and I wish my body) is at home with the fam and so it's a little hard to focus on what's happening or what has happened here... we'll see what I can come up with.
Last week Marie Schwan from our very own community was here with us to share about Ignatian Spirituality. I knew before that our CSJ spirituality has a base in Ignatian spirituality but before this last week I didn't have a class that was specifically about Ignatius to thoroughly understand it and know what prayer experiences to label as Ignatian. It's a strange thing sometimes when these speakers come to us and you can just feel like they're speaking from your own heart and you feel everything just fall into place and it finds a home in you. We spend some time talking about the life of Ignatius and the founding of the Jesuits and then spent a good deal of time with the Spiritual Exercises and the process of that. The idea of the 30 day retreat seems a bit intimidating right now but who knows what will happen. I'm sure it would be a great experience but at this point I would have a hard time being in that space for that long.
This is one of my favorite quotes from the classes that comes from the Principle and Foundation: “All other things on the face of the earth are created for human beings in order to help them pursue the end for which they are created. It follows from this that one must use other created things, in so far as they help towards one's end, and free oneself from them, in so far as they are obstacles to one's end.” There's a lot in this quote and I think that's why it stuck with me... because there's a lot to unpack. The Spiritual Exercises just seem to be a natural process that happens in life whether you're educated in it or not: an experience, an awareness, a need for change/transformation, a realization of the need for God’s presence and voice in it, an understanding of how Jesus and the people he encountered experienced the same, and coming to greater union with God and living more deeply in that reality. I have a feeling that if anyone is living life in a contemplative/reflective way, then this process would automatically happen. Maybe it's just a nature course in my life because I already have the charism, etc. in me but I wonder about non-CSJs.
Friday's prayer day was really, really good for me. I decided to take the car and drive to an Orange County park in the mountains but when I woke up that morning it was raining. (A VERY rare occurence.) I left about 11 and it was still raining but I went anyway. I drove toward the mountains that we see out the window at the end of the hall. It was gorgeous! I decided to keep driving up the mountain but ended up on a road that only led to the landfill... opps. It stopped raining at about one and I decided not to pay the money to get into the park when I couldn't enjoy it that much while it was raining or directly after. I ended up driving through the mountain areas that were burned out from the recent fires. It was amazing to see the newly green green grass popping up from the rain and then get into the charred trees with rain dripping off. Every now and then there would be a patch of green grass next to a tree like that and it just gave me a new and different example of resurrection. I drove through these incredibly winding roads feeling very small with the mountains surrounding the shoulder-less road, through the burned out areas and found a small park on the side of the road. I parked there, ate my lunch and just spent time reading and writing with God for a few hours. When it was about time to head back, I found this road called "Scenic Ridge". It led into a subdivision but it was amazing; there were a few empty lots and you could see the amazing view below. I'm sure I could have seen a lot farther without the clouds but none-the-less, it was a beautiful view. This weekend we're planning a trip to the mountains. It's funny how they have to DRIVE to the snow around here. So that's the plan and I'm hoping for a great view and some good pictures. I'll let you know how it goes.
This week we had our first Order of the House meeting. We have State of the Heart every Sunday but this semester they've added the Order of the House as a new experience. Not sure how often this will take place but it was a good experience. I have to admit that I wasn't so sure about it when it was being explained. It turned out to be a very life-giving experience for us. I think it's just another way of increasing awareness of our actions as a whole and how they effect others and our mission together. We were open, honest and respectful and I think that attitude in all of us makes interactions and relationships stronger. I think it's a great process for religious but really there needs to be mutual openness for it to work. I'm learning that about many things.
So that's what's going on these days. It was quite a surprise for me to hear about Joan's passing and that's been deeply in my heart and my process lately. Experiences like this definitely give a new perspective on life and the future. Rest in peace Joan... and Emily.
Please keep Jen, Jeff and the "nephew in waiting"(to be born) on your prayer list. Peace! Namaste!