For many years I have reflected on the lives and lessons of the saints, writing about them every day in a column for “Give Us This Day,” and in several books. Now, in A Living Gospel, I reflect on the ways that “God’s story” can be read in such holy lives. Both in their achievements and in their stumbling along the way, these women and men, religious and lay, exemplify the meaning of what Pope Francis calls “a journey faith.” In reflecting on their stories we learn how to read God’s story in our own lives as well.
So as not to testify on my own behalf, let me quote these comments:
One of the great figures we have been blessed to know was Denis Edwards. An Australian priest and theologian, he was a pioneering voice on the relation between faith, science, and ecology. He died this spring, just after finishing his last book, Deep Incarnation: God’s Redemptive Suffering with Creatures, which becomes, sadly, his final legacy. Elizabeth Johnson describes it as a “heartbreakingly beautiful and carefully reasoned argument for divine love present with suffering creatures, holding a promise of future salvation.”
Maryknoll's Church Engagement Division is sponsoring this seminar/retreat held at Maryknoll Los Altos.
Description from the webpage: Looking to find positive ways to minister in our polarized world? Join us on retreat to pray and reflect on how to balance contemplation and action to become an effective bridge building missionary disciple. Within a collaborative seminar/retreat format using the See-Judge-Act methodology of Evangelii Gaudium, we we will continue to develop the knowledge, skills and confidence to teach and inspire others to live out their own call as missionary disciples.
For more information and/or to apply, click: https://mission.maryknoll.us/2019amdfp
Sr. Ellen McDonald, co-founder of the Affiliate movement, sent this article on religious associate communities (some similarities to Affiliates) and women religious. The paradigm is changing. See: https://www.globalsistersreport.org/news/spirituality-trends/us-associates-track-surpass-women-religious-both-face-turning-point-56195?utm_source=GSR+digest+5-23-19&utm_campaign=cc&utm_medium=email.
The Kenya virtual chapter (including Affiliates from Kenya, Germany and the U.S.) met yesterday via Zoom technology. Virtual chapters are still relatively new in the Affiliate world. When former Board chair, Dave Schaffner first suggested virtual chapters, the concept was received with mixed reviews. After all, wouldn’t physical present be necessary to realize genuine community?! And later, when Gerald and Marita Grudzen first suggested a Kenya-based virtual chapter to Russ Feldmeier MM and Bob Short, we had some initial reservations.
Today’s virtual chapter (stretching 8 time zones) confirmed that virtual can be a meaningful and efficacious way to gather as a chapter. Gerry and Marita Grudzen, who facilitated the meeting, have a long history with Maryknoll. When Russ and I first met them, we were impressed with their academic and professional credentials; even more so with their humility, deep faith and love for the people of East Africa. Seven Affiliates (a smaller number than is typical) were on the call. The theme addressed our varying interfaith expressions of spiritual practice at this time of the year.
For my part, I could not help but feel throughout the call that, on so many levels, this was a reflection of why, as John Sivalon MM once put it, “…Maryknoll Affiliates are well positioned to be carried into the future by this new wave of mission.” Very briefly, it was global, interfaith - two Muslim Affiliates spoke informatively and movingly of Ramadan, and the Catholic and Christians shared their beliefs and values around Resurrection, care of the earth (Laudato Si)* and, for all present, the importance of prayer and inclusion of the poor and marginalized in all our focuses. Throughout the call profound respect and caring for one another was visibly and viscerally present - a poignant and important moment in our movement’s history.
* Marita pointed out that these virtual meetings kept us out of planes and thereby lessened our carbon footprint.
ALSO - in thinking of climate change and caring for our earthly home, please keep in mind the people of so many countries in the world that are suffering from severe climate. Carlos Apcho, Affiliate in Lima, who asked us to pray for the people in northern Peru who just experienced a strong earthquake.
The State of the Heart report at conclusion of Maryknoll Affiliate Board Meeting, May 3-5, 2019 – is a heartfelt (rather than a head-focused ) essential summary of the meeting. Bill Murphy, the Board's soon-to-be-officially-recognized Poet Laureate, wrote: "I found the central theme of the meeting to be contemplative action. The poem below tries to express that theme - what I heard and experienced." Bill's poem follows.
FRACKING THE HEART
How do I turn my heart of stone into a heart of flesh?
I used to think the waters of baptism were sufficient:
Gentle, flowing waters can soothe but rarely awaken;
Still waters warm and calm but hardly get me moving.
Maybe knowledge was the answer?
Theology or the facts and figures of science and computers
Would guide me to a meaningful life and best solutions.
Sit with the darkness; it becomes light
Listen in the silence
Share stories of life:
accompanying gospels of struggles, pains, joys -
compassion for ourselves as well as others
breaks open my heart.
Don’t just move, stand there
move in the direction that beckons me.
Ted Miles, Executive Director of MKLM sent this notice and invitation:
This weekend, the 2019 mission integration program begins with the arrival of Marilyn Kott (Brazil, Class of 2015), Sonny and Hong Nguyen (Bolivia, 2015), and Claire Stewart (Brazil, 2015). We invite you to keep them in your prayers during the next two weeks as they travel to Maryknoll and embrace this time of transition and reflection.
We also invite you to join us for the MIP Blessing and Recommitment (Claire Stewart has renewed for two years in Brazil). This closing ceremony will take place in the Rogers Chapel at 11:00am on Wednesday, May 22 followed by lunch at the Walsh Building.
In a recent email, Robert Ellsberg, Publisher of Orbis Books wrote, “Times of social turbulence make good times to revisit the Hebrew prophets. They were not prognosticators, except in the sense of understanding the moral law of cause and effect. The prophets read their historical situation through the lens of God’s covenant—and in that light measured their nation’s “greatness”—or its dereliction—in terms of such values as mercy, justice, and care for those on the margins.”
To see the inventory of Orbis Books, go to: https://www.orbisbooks.com/
Contemplation is very far from being just one kind of thing that Christians do: it is the key to prayer, liturgy, art and ethics, the key to the essence of a renewed humanity that is capable of seeing the world and other subjects in the world with freedom--freedom from self-oriented, acquisitive habits and the distorted understanding that comes from them. To put it boldly, contemplation is the only ultimate answer to the unreal and insane world that our financial systems and our advertising culture and our chaotic and unexamined emotions encourage us to inhabit. To learn contemplative practice is to learn what we need so as to live truthfully and honestly and lovingly. It is a deeply revolutionary matter. (Rowan Williams)
In the Affiliate Board Meeting this weekend an underlying contemplative approach was chosen as the most meaningful and effective to address the agenda. More importantly, it was a way to be present to each other. In the long run that’s probably the best way for all of us as Affiliates to understand how to live out our (personal & Affiliate) lives with more conviction and joy. More to follow on Contemplation.
The link that follows is a 10-minute video by Rich Rohr that we used at the Board meeting:
In recent weeks a few among us have had the chance to visit with Jack Sullivan MM. Below is a brief letter from Ann Carr, who visited with Jack on Easter Sunday. Following that is the poetic prayer written by Joe Veneroso MM, that Jack asked Bob Short to read at the end of their visit at Maryknoll last week
Please keep our dear friend and long time Maryknoll Affiliate companion, Jack Sullivan, close in heart and prayer in these days. Jack served as one of our Executive Coordinators in the early 2000’s and has always offered his support, creativity and deep commitment to our movement. He has been struggling with emphysema for the past few years and recently developed the flu followed by MRSA pneumonia. He has improved a bit, but remains on oxygen and has now been placed on hospice. Click on READ MORE to see the rest of the article.
New elements of next year's MAC - now just 14 months away - continue to take shape. Most excitingly, after scores of drafts and retakes, we now have a theme (below) that will give cohesiveness to the Conference and, most importantly, speak to the moment in history where we find ourselves. Also in the excitement category, Jim & Ann Coady, formerly of the Long Island Chapter and, since they moved to Minnesota, now the Virtual Chapter, have joined Ginny McEvoy, Celine Woznica and Bob Short on the Planning Team.
THEME: Witnessing Love in The Interim Time - a deeper commentary will follow in the months ahead. Briefly, "Witnessing" is how we live our lives. "Love" is love of God, each other, our earth and all sentient beings thereon. "Interim Time" is for this time we now find ourselves - living between a paradigm that is dying out and a new paradigm yet to be fully born (see John O'Donohue's, For The Interim Time). We are especially grateful to architect & artist, Jim Coady, who designed the logo.
A few more updates: (1) The tuition/room & board fee will be at or slightly lower that the last two conferences (2) Scholarships will be available (3) Schedule will include keynote (Nancy Sylvester) a special focus on Intergenerational Dialogue WITH youth present, Open Space, Connections with International Chapters and many other breakout sessions.
Mark the dates on your calendar.