Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Put a Ring on It!

I said it. It had to be said. Somebody's got to say it!

Actually, we all know Beyonce said it first. And oh-so well, I may add. Imma let you finish, but Beyonce had the best...

Kidding, kidding! That is SO 2009. And I'm so 3000 and...fine.

So where am I going with this today, this EARLY morning reflection of mine?

I think I shared that part of my commitment from the retreat (new year's resolution if you y'all doing with those, btw? Yeah, see, that's why I don't make 'em!) that I would commit to giving myself more time in prayer EACH DAY as to give myself more time and space for contemplation.

Of COURSE I have failed at this already. But that is not the point. I kind of knew I would. But that doesn't mean I don't do it at all and throw the goal of contemplation out the window.

Yesterday, I could've gotten up early and taken more time in prayer before Mass. I could've left at lunch and gone to the Shrine to pray. Of course, I did neither of those things and I was left with the 10 minute break between my 2 and half hour class to run to the chapel.

But it was 10 minutes well spent. Going to Caldwell Chapel on CUA's campus is, like Melwood, another one of those special Campus Ministry places. It has memories attached with it like late night rosaries with friends or gathering with 100+ students for praise and worship Adoration once a week ( I know- WHO AM I? Who does this? But I am so grateful for it). So I naturally think of many things all at once and recall those times when I go into that chapel to pray still as a student now.

I brought to Jesus this time of waiting- AGAIN. But realized that I'm really getting kind of GOOD at it and I'm starting to recognize what it can do. I always knew I wouldn't just settle for anything in life, but now He's really teaching me that. That I can wait and hold out for the RIGHT job, the RIGHT thing. And that even if these things never come, I still have something to hold onto or some worth. Good, right? Who knew?

Before I entered the convent, the sister's used a book called- Discovering Your Personal Vocation- inviting us to look at, not just religious vocation but our thoughts and desires as a PERSON. In other words...

Even if I am not called to be a religious sister- who am I to myself? to others? to God? Am I a daughter? a sister? a friend? What do those calls mean to me?

And in this time of waiting, I've discovered many things, but mainly that I can still have a personal vocation to be a minister or a teacher, even when I am not physically being NAMED that.

This idea of being marked kind of struck me today, I guess. Our society does this, and to some degree we have to. We have to mark those in public service so we know who to go to when we have a problem, are sick, etc. But we can't just take our identities in these titles, which is the problem I think we run into. It's like the readings from Samuel this week (how much do you LOVE them?!) "Man looks at the outer appearance, but God looks into the heart"

And I think that goes for our names too. Not our names like Julia, Therese, whatever. But like 'doctor' 'Mrs' 'Father'. Some names our society has certain conotations with, but if they are given to us by God, they don't necessarily have those conotations. They mean something different than just status or stigma.

Here I go with my liturgical catechesis influence, or media studies influence or whatever: (it is kind of amazing how both are all about SYMBOLS and messages they convey. One divine, and one secular- but SIMILAR!) Okay, so we were talking about symbols in my class yesterday and Sister- OF COURSE- used the symbol of a wedding ring. As if I haven't had enough reflection or experience with those these past 7 years (7 dresses, people! 7 down, 20 to go!) But she asked the simple question- what do the rings symbolize to you? And she (because I think she may hate me. Just saying) looks right at me.

I didn't have a chance for reflex. I did free association. I said the first thing that came to my mind (and surprisingly, I was well-behaved in my response!):


Huh. After I said it, I took a step back to reflect on 'what I meant by that'. I didn't mean like a possession, but I think that meant 'special'. But how funny, because can't we and aren't we special without a physical sign to designate us that we belong exclusively to someone or something?

Other answers were perhaps the more obvious- love, commitment, self-sacrifice (yeah, there was THAT guy. You had to be that guy. That guy with the holy, appropriate, RIGHT answer...ha ;)

So anyways, it gave me something to reflect on, meditate on, and hopefully, lead me to contemplation of belonging to Jesus regardless of physical designation. As humans, we need those signifiers. But can I be okay with not having a religious habit or a wedding ring to signify me as 'special'? Is what God calls me and marks me to be- whatever that is- enough?

"God looks into the heart..."