Tuesday, January 5, 2010
I am back and my New Year’s resolution is… to blog more! (Or at least to try…) As Christmas was approaching, my Focolare house had plans to go upstate to our conference center in order to celebrate with a larger group, but we were also flanking one of the women in my community as she accompanied her mother in her last days. Sensing that the time was close, we decided to scrap our initial plans so as to facilitate taking turns being together with our friend as she kept vigil over her mom. I have had many wonderful Christmas Eves in my life, but this was the most beautiful: standing next to my friend as we assured her mother that Jesus and Mary were close to her. On Christmas morning another group went to be with her… and she left peacefully for heaven on Christmas evening. The wake and the funeral were filled with this sense of peace. All of this helped me to discover in a deeper way the meaning of Christmas, which is closely tied to the whole point of a Focolare house: to love one another to the point of receiving the gift of Christ’s presence among us and for the world, “where two or three are gathered in my name…” (Mt. 18:19). It seems like in these moments that reality takes on an extraordinary depth.
Then we all shifted gears and went up to the conference center for our annual retreat. The theme that we are reflecting on this year is the reality of God as love in our lives, and our response to that love. I realized that when I am in the middle of stuff and the messiness of life—struggles, questions, issues, and just the work of growing in understanding how love can permeate in a deeper way my work in being a member of a community, a scholar, a teacher, a colleague, a daughter, a sister, a friend… often in this process it is not always straightforward to see God’s love at work. What came to my soul at the end of the retreat was that exchange between Jesus and Martha after Lazarus’s death. (John 11:21-27). When Jesus says, “Your brother will rise again,” Martha’s first reaction is, I know that will happen—eventually: “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus invites her to look again, to recognize the power of his love in her life not just eventually but also right now, standing in front of her: “I am the resurrection and the life.” I sensed the Jesus was saying also to me, “Do you believe this?” It was a wonderful invitation to look again, to see all of the ways in which the life of the Risen One is at work right now, even in the midst of the struggles. Not a bad way to start the new semester!
guess with that, also a New Year’s wish that our little “Mirror of Justice”
community can this year discover in a deeper way how in the midst of our
conversations in which differences often emerge, and as we engage the messiness
of our culture, that we can look again to see all of the ways in which God is
loving us, and at work in our lives.
Happy New Year, and happy new semester! Amy
So I guess with that, also a New Year’s wish that our little “Mirror of Justice” community can this year discover in a deeper way how in the midst of our conversations in which differences often emerge, and as we engage the messiness of our culture, that we can look again to see all of the ways in which God is loving us, and at work in our lives. Happy New Year, and happy new semester! Amy