In the “good old days” when I was young and eager – especially in the novitiate, but also in the convent at my first teaching assignment where I lived in a group of 21 Sisters – life was very structured and predictable. The “horarium” (schedule) of the days was built around times of prayer, teaching school, meals and community sharing time – known in the novitiate at least as “recreation,” a.k.a. the hour after supper when we relaxed and talked to one another while knitting or listening to music or some such simple activity before preparing schoolwork for the next day. Saturdays were set aside for cleaning and other charges (read: household tasks) or meetings and the occasional planning time for community celebration days.
Today is Saturday. Although nearly everything has changed about the rhythm of community life, it seems that the Saturday horarium is part of our DNA that has not disappeared. I woke up today feeling altogether unable to even make a list of necessary tasks, nevermind the possibility of achieving anything. Lying lazily in bed listening to the birds who’ve been up for hours, I heard Julie Andrews singing in my head: What will this day be like…I wonder…as she was getting up her gumption to take on a job as a nanny for the seven children of the widowed Captain Von Trapp.
Having seen The Sound of Music several times over the years, I have learned a lot about attitude – starting with the above-mentioned song about confidence. I was reminded of that in my short reverie this morning and so got up determined to face the day in a positive way. Downstairs I encountered two of my three housemates who had been up maybe longer than the birds – one having already accomplished preliminary tasks that would allow her to concentrate next on what is central to her major plan of the day and the other whose response to a needy phone call of yesterday had allowed her to formulate a plan much larger than the requesting person could have imagined. The most amazing thing about my encounters with all this news was just a smile, knowing that difference does not mean distress and that we are now free to live our commitments as we can and use our energy for the highest good of ourselves and all others.
I practically laughed aloud when I returned to do the one task that is not discriminated by the day of the week. (This blog is a discipline that marks my days, much as the horarium of yesteryear gave shape to everything.) It is all a question of listening to God speaking through whatever is in front of us. Each one of the readings told me that this morning. How can I not proceed in delight?!
- EX 24:3-8. When Moses came to the people and related the words and ordinances of the Lord, they all answered with one voice, “We will do everything that the Lord has told us.”
- PS 50:1-2, 14. God the Lord has spoken and summoned the earth, from the rising of the sun to its setting. From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth…Offer to God praise as your sacrifice and fulfill your vows to the Most High…
- LK 10: 38-42. Jesus entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”
Amazing, no? Happy Saturday to all!