Wednesday, September 05, 2007

A little sad...

I have been thinking for a long time about the gospel of August 27, “Woe to you who lock the Kingdom of Heaven before others!” Maybe because of some comments I have heard about whether or not we are orthodox, traditional, liberal and such. I say, why do we have need to label ourselves as if everything in life was black and white?

These days we hear so much on the news about the “new trend” (I don’t like that, how can vocations be a trend?) of people entering communities. And then we hear the comments, “oh, it’s because they are more orthodox” and then we hear, “and for sure those liberal communities will die out.” It is true that in some communities we have a lot more elderly Sisters and when I think of my own nunnies I see vibrant women who have given their all to God and who continue to do so and to be fountains of wisdom, always ready to listen, always ready to dance, always ready to live! And so, those comments hurt me very much. Who are we to think that communities are less of a community because of the age of the Sisters, or to think that my nunnies are “unfaithful” because they do not wear a habit? If only we knew how holy these women are….

I want to say that as outsiders, we really do not know what goes inside a community, and we really can not read hearts. So, that’s plain judgments and God hasn’t died and left us in charge, so, really, we do not know.

We need to remember that Jesus hung out with the sinners, the lepers, the demoniacs, the undesirables of society. Remember his phrase, “the one who is free of sin may cast the first stone”? Why, why, why do we have to label, to judge, to waste time in negativity? Who does it help? How does it make us holier? Jesus condemned the Pharisees who pointed their finger at Jesus and his friends. Jesus said: “Sabbath was made for men and not men for Sabbath.”

Another thought that comes to me is that of our wanting people to have our own experience of God. Growing up between two worlds, that of Anglos and Mexicans, I always felt insecure. At the mall, not knowing English, I would not let go of my daddy’s hand for the life of me (my dad could speak English.) When eventually I entered the world of Mexican-Americans, I so felt at home. My experience of God resonated with them. I wasn’t expected to bow down before the distant Jesus, way up behind the altar, with blond hair and blue eyes, with the Castilian accent (“El Señor esté con vosotros, y con vuestro espíritu.) Instead, Jesus became brown and spoke Mexican Spanish and I could sing to Him with my guitar. And when I think of how many immigrants are probably finding themselves in the same situation, my heart breaks.

We need to let people relate to God from their own experience. We need to let communities be who they are. We need to let God be God and leave the judgments to Him. Today’s Gospel says: “To the other towns also I must proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God, because for this purpose I have been sent.” Let us remember that the sun comes out for everybody, let us not lock the Kingdom of Heaven, because as my grandmother always said, “God will hold you accountable.”

Our community has gone through almost extinction at the French revolution, Mexican Revolution, religious persecution, terrible hurricanes that have wiped our convents, fires which have reduced out convents to nothing, floods, disease, death, and yet, it is God’s will that we continue to adore the Incarnate Word and to proclaim the Mystery of His Incarnation.

Let us continue to love God and to let others love God.

Praised be the Incarnate Word!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this. You speak the truth. I admire your spirit. Prayers for you and your wonderful community.

sr betsy said...

Insightful post, Helga! What you said was the absolute truth. People cannot see past images or stereotypes. It saddens me, too - especially when I know our sisters are dear Souls who minister so hard for our Lord.

I think there are some who hold a romantic notion of religious life. The reality is - it's challenging - it has it's ups and downs but the rewards are so much. How can it not be? We are called to serve the least of God's people with the love of Christ.

Your post about your elderly Sisters reminded me of my senior sisters - they are vibrant - and so full of love. They love so much - I can only hope and pray I can be like them.

Keep up the good work! Know that I am praying for you during your canonical year.