Firmness of Rock

I've been back in my graduate student life for a week and a half now, after spending a wonderful three weeks immersed in the present and future of my religious community.

If you've been reading the blog, then you know that I am in the midst of writing my thesis and studying for comps as I finish up my time at Catholic Theological Union. And you also probably saw that starting in January I begin a new adventure as part of our full time five person Congregation Leadership Team. Lots of changes and transition and unknown are ahead. Lots of work and deadlines and, undoubtedly, stress ahead (I'm thinking more about the work of finishing thesis/comps, but this will also be part of the mix of the work and life of the next 6 years too!). But for now, at least, I feel oddly calm, deeply at peace, and ready for what God has in store.

Thursday I had the opportunity to meet with my spiritual director and look more closely at the movement and my experience of God in my life during these weeks. Spiritual direction is always such an amazing chance to step back and get a glimpse of what is really unseen in our relationship with God, of touching into the underlying presence and power of the Spirit in our lives.  I sometimes compare spiritual direction to the experience of therapy, except that instead of being about problem solving or developing coping mechanisms for the craziness of life, the focus is on opening the heart and letting God in to do what God does, if that makes any sense.  Really, it is a graced time of digging into the God stuff in the midst of all of our human stuff.

My spiritual director listened as I recounted the experience of Chapter and my excitement and hope for religious life and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace, as well as my deep desire to share my gifts in service of our charism and future, now. I also shared some of my own murkier feelings, my wonderings, my vulnerabilities, and the prayer I have felt since the day my community invited me to discern this journey: to grow in humility, gentleness, and patience.  She then invited me to stop, sit with all that I had shared, and see if a word or an image or a feeling emerged.

And it was this ... I feel the strength of God's presence as I face the unkown. I feel held and supported by God's deep abiding love for all God's creation, including me. And it is upon this foundation, step by step, that I feel God pushing and pulling and drawing me forward into my/our/God's evolving future. I didn't have a picture for this feeling at the time, but since I have remembered and reflected on this picture I took a few years ago on retreat of a stone wall ... Big stones, small stones, a rocky path, but firm, true, and sure all the same, leading us together into the heart of God.

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