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Living the Vows Today

Sr. Jackie Bates Final Vow Service July 26, 2014

Living the vow of chastity is living a life rooted in God's love. Chastity guides me in my intimate relationships with God and others. I try to witness to the priority of God in my relationships. This involves every part of my life: the way I eat and drink, work and play, sleep and rest, speak and remain silent. In community life it involves fidelity, tenderness, humility, forgiveness, sensitivity and welcome. Chastity is my response to God's desire to make a home in my heart. I feel an ever deepening call to be still and to wait for God without anything to show, to prove or to argue. It's letting go and letting be, that surrender to God's love.

The vow of obedience calls me to a deep listening with my whole being and discerned response. I listen to the voice of the Spirit within me, life itself, community and the person in front of me.  I find that to listen with my whole being I have to take some time alone for personal reflection and consideration. This allows me to be more open and sensitive to the ways God calls me to be together with others.

The vow of poverty calls me to a surrender of my love even as I recognize my own poverty that blesses me. I am poor and can, therefore, be hospitable when I know in the very core of my being that everything is gift. I am poor when I embrace my own darkness as truly mine, and yet know that I am loved; when compassion transforms my word and needs; when I am able to se the nothingness in all things and that leads me to an authentic hunger for God; and when I embrace others in their poverty.
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Joy Out of Darkness
(The Easter season continues...)

When we consider the first Easter, we realize that Easter joy does not come like a cuddly bunny with brightly-colored eggs. Easter dawns bright, but out of the darkness of injustice, political oppression, torture, grief, and death. We might imagine, instead of flowers bought at Home Depot, our Easter lilies blooming out of flame.

Forever after that day of days, the reality of Easter is present whether or not we can perceive it, for it is intrinsic to our own lives and inherent in all of creation. Like that first Easter, it may more often than not be unnoticed, and it may be experienced, for now, in the context of pain. But the Day of Resurrection bears with it the presence of God who shares with us our own pain and sorrow, confounding common stereotypes of how the divine should act, and showing us that this God who is Mystery refuses to allow darkness to have the last word.

We are given hints of the presence of Christ risen—hints of that joy which surpasses the horrors of news reports and the sorrows of our own life. We are granted these hints, for example, in the longings that have been implanted in our hearts, those longings which on the surface may seem to indicate an absence: the longing for the More, the longing to see the face of God, the longing for union with God.

We have hints of the reality of Easter in the glimpses we are granted of goodness, of beauty, of love, of peace, indications of the Beyond that is already and always in our midst.

"Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb."

(John 20:1)

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“Lily Out of Flame” image by Rose Hoover, rc
Fractal flame created with Apophysis and edited with Photoshop
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Easter Hope

Do not be afraid
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”

(John 14:27)

“With its roots in the Abrahamic and prophetic traditions and its own singular revelatory experience of the risen Christ, the New Testament includes a hope-filled vision of the whole universe pervaded with divine promise.”

Elizabeth Johnson, Ask the Beasts

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Resurrection photograph (enhanced picture of stone entry at Castel Sant’Elia) by Rose Hoover, rc
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