Saturday, March 19, 2011


Perhaps it is my recent experience with a 30 day retreat. Perhaps it is being on the cusp of a new adventure in people and place. Perhaps it is simply that though it is Lent and not August, the second Sunday's cycle A Gospel reading has Peter, James, and John taking a hike up Tabor with Jesus. Whatever the reason, I had a long think today on Transfiguration and several things occurred to me.

One, death is not itself transfiguration. Transfiguration changes Life....changes living...ways of being...ways of seeing... It is an experience that might move from living through dying...but always into life again.

Another, Love is what transfigures. Love. Nothing else but this difficult and stunning honor.

And, more... it is something that asks in love for my freedom. I cannot be bound and be transfigured.

As well, it is not a once for all. It is a consistent draw, an enticing motivation toward being more and more free...

Which includes being willing to walk the valleys...openly...trusting in walk because of walk with, beside, toward, within...Love... believing that an unknown Greater Still awaits.

I tend to think of Jesus' baptism as the first transfiguration...and that it was personal. I imagine the dawning awareness that must have come upon Jesus...under the river water, the hands of a trusted friend bearing him, hearing the voice of God name him Beloved, name him Son... Love called him, named him, washed over and through...

The trip up the mountain was a call from Love to the others. “Look.” “Listen.” “Attend.” And, understandably, it was a little much. What did it take to have them rise again? The touch of Jesus, the physical, beckoning, reassurance of deepest understanding, most profound presence, deepest love. Time to go, can’t stay here on the mountain…things to do, valleys to walk. And yet, in spite of the marvel of what happened, the trio were asked to not say anything to others.

Which brings me to another insight. I can live open to transfiguration, but the timing is not mine to mark or plan.

Makes it all that much more an adventure, really…because, who knows what opportunity will become an invitation toward new life, given in love?

And what I know for sure is that it is an act of giving and receiving. That is part of what I experienced in that thirty day retreat. Giving in to my desire for walking in freedom; for forgoing fear; for walking openly into come what may. Receiving strength; receiving even more desire; receiving more of Love’s truth and beauty; knowing more intimately the weight and pain of loving as well and knowing that there is no other choice I’d rather make than choosing to live on in love's fullness. Transfiguration is the bend of the Mobius…the both-and…the challenge-grace…the already-not yet…human-divine…

Another word for that came to me as I prayed today. The Cross.

Ah. Perhaps that is why it does not feel out of place to climb a mountain in the desert of Lent.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Another Friday Five from RevGals!

Whether we liked it or not, we all "sprang forward" with the change to daylight savings time in the USA this past Sunday. There is lightness and brightness slipping in as spring approaches, so let us consider what is springing forth in our lives right now.

Name 5 things that are springing forth...

1. The croci are in foci! There's more than one I've seen...otherwise, it'd be the crocus is in focus...I've spied daffodils on the hills... Flowers in the bowers... pfloxes in boxes...Blooms in rooms... you get the idea!

2. New adventures in the freedom born from loving God, being loved by God, believing in that, and acting on a desire to keep walking on right into the midst of that, pasa lo que pasa.

3. A curious sense of the world being on a dangerous cusp of some sort.

4. In spite of the weariness that brings, a renewed and deepening call to be a person of listening and acting where need draws is also venturing forth.

5. And, really, a sense of stillness and peace within... the likes of which I have not known before... or perhaps, it is that I am experiencing them from a new place. Seeing a new side, the light glancing from a different facet of God...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Lent, 2011...or, Placards, the Paper, and Morning Ritual

I was running an errand after daily Mass at my parish and passed New York Foundling—founded by the Sisters of Charity in 1869 as a home for children, its “extensive network of community based services provides havens for children whose safety is at risk, loving foster and group facilities to protect children and support for families to strengthen them.” (from their website,

There is a small placard fixed by their front door that I had never seen before earlier this week. On the placard is Foundling’s three word mission. Beautifully succinct, expressive of commitment, and above all, boldly clear—“Abandon No one.”

The simplicity of that, the stark call of that, prompted a shrug of my shoulder to lower my bag and fish around for pen and notebook, though in reality I knew I would not forget those words.

Several days later, I was on the 4/5/6 train headed downtown and noticed what I first thought were new “Poetry In Motion” signs posted above the seats. It turns out the quotations I was reading and enjoying were actually advertisements for a large, local, non-denominational Christian church. It might be better said that the cards were less advertisements than invitations… The one that prompted another pat down for pen and paper is this—“The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing…to find the place where all beauty came from.” C.S. Lewis

Most mornings my ritual follows a similar pattern. I head downstairs, put the water on or make coffee, get the mug ready for either tea or coffee, fix a bowl of oatmeal, and take both of those along with my missal and notebook into the living room where I tuck into the corner of the couch to pray and begin the day. Within the first several sips, I hear the whack of the New York Times arriving. I retrieve it, sort out the sections, and return to my spot with the front pages. First, though, the readings in the missal…followed by the front section of the paper. It occurred to me this morning, how well those two things go together.

So often, what I read in the paper I can only consider with eyes and a heart of faith…the suffering of so many, the atrocities, the wild misunderstandings of self, others, and the world, that lead to behaviors that harm…as well as acts of heroism, beauty, and daily humanity that touch the soul and encourage the spirit. Today’s reading from Sirach begins, “Come to our aid, O God of the Universe, look upon us and show us the light of your mercies…hear the prayer of your servants, for you are ever gracious to your people.

The Gospel of today says that there are those who are amazed and those who are afraid…and that greatness is known only in terms of service and self-giving…the measure is not riches, or well stocked niches, or knowledge…but a willingness to lay down one’s life for another… to live within the challenge and the grace of God’s love as made manifest in Jesus.

Next week is Ash Wednesday. Forty days from now, who can know or predict the state of our world, especially given recent events? Approaching Lent this year, my prayer is this: As we journey together, the people of God, the church, may I seek to abandon no one, but instead offer prayer and service in the way and substance of my life... May I set my eyes upon the mysterious and beckoning beauty of God alive within and among creation and not fear what I encounter as I walk openly into the unknown “more” God promises... May I live ever amazed by love and desiring to embody what I receive so generously.