community, history, make a difference, presence, psalm 116, religious communities, Sisters of St. Joseph, St. Louis, The Sophia Center for Spirituality, travel, vows
I just thought of a line of “pop philosophy” (“pop” = popular) that sounds silly but contains a great truth. It says, Wherever you go, there you are.” This morning I’m in St. Louis, Missouri, the place from which our religious congregation has radiated out over the whole country including Hawaii and further to Japan, Peru and Chile. I laugh to say that it took me a long time to get here from New York because of weather delays. The entire trip took 10 hours, quite a lot different from the journey of the first Sisters coming from France who spent 2 months of travel to arrive here in 1836! I had my usual love affair with the skies along the way, marveling that nothing but the grace of God and jet propulsion was keeping our very weighty conveyance (to say nothing of ourselves) in the air. There is so much beauty, so much clarity that is visible from six miles up – even in the darkness!
Psalm 116 flooded me with gratitude for the possibilities afforded me by the age I live in and the community of which I am a part. As I read: How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good God has done for me?…My vows to the Lord I will pay in the presence of all His people. I was keenly aware of all the history in this place and the ministry done by the Sisters of St. Joseph here and elsewhere over the past 180 years. I am part of that history. Whether I am in this “parlor” in St. Louis or my bedroom in Windsor, New York typing my thoughts, I am the same, a cog in the wheel. Sometimes though, I am more aware of the “bigger picture” as today when I will sit with ten other Sisters designing ways for the larger body of us to create a future that will include smaller numbers of us but will have the same spirit and engagement with the world.
Today, then, I ask God’s blessing on all Sisters of St. Joseph and other religious communities of women and men whose vows call them to prayer and ministry for God’s sake in the world. Secondly, I recognize the blessing of all people in whatever state of life who have vowed to make a difference for the good. May we all be blessed to know the ways that our presence (wherever we find ourselves) is valuable to our world and to our God.