Ok, to be honest, I have been back from Lima for nearly two weeks. The 6th International Meeting of Marianist Lay Communities was a great success. The success came not only from the excellent hospitality of our Peruvian hosts, but also from the depth of reflection and sharing among delegates, guests, and observers from around the world. The theme of the meeting was “Faith of the Heart in the Heart of the World”. The process of the meeting was intentional in connecting mind and heart through much personal reflection and small group sharing. Yes, there was time devoted to business matters but the focus was on the gifts and challenges of living and sharing our faith as lay women and men in the world.
It was evident at our meeting that the spirit of Pope Francis has caught on internationally. Here is a piece I wrote for the National Catholic Reporter blog, NCR Today.
The conclusion of the assembly also marked the conclusion of my term as international President of our Marianist Lay Communities. After all of the intense work in the weeks preceding the meeting, I was expecting to come home with all the worries and burdens magically lifted. I was not expecting the intense physical, emotional, and mental draining that happened instead. I still need to take time to enter fully into this time of transition; in thankfulness for all that has been, and with openness to what the future will hold.
Of course, one immediate goal is to get this blog going again! 🙂
WordPress just sent a small note acknowledging the two year anniversary of catholic dialogue. I began this blog on December 8, 2010, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Last year, I wrote a blog post reflecting on this feast.
And, here is a link to my very first blog post. Oh, how I remember the nervousness of that first post. I remember it so well because the nervousness is still there. I still worry if anyone will read what I write. I worry about who will read what I write! In those early months, I remained anonymous. I finally revealed who I was on June 30, 2011.
This blog opened doors to a regular column in the Prairie Messenger, and an invitation to join the NCR Today team of bloggers. Writing for two of my favorite Catholic publications gave me more reason for nervousness. Becoming part of a writing community of so many women and men whom I admire so much, is both an awesome honor and a terrifying task. What can I add? What can I say, that hasn’t already been said…and said so well?
The respectful and thoughtful dialogue on this blog, the community of kindred spirits, and the kind words of affirmation provide the needed energy and incentive. To all who have stopped by, whether your visits are one-time or regular, THANK YOU!
May she, whom we celebrate this day, be our model and guide. Like Mary, may we ponder deeply, reach out generously, act justly, and be ever ready to respond with a faith-filled YES to our God.
Readers and friends of catholic dialogue know that I am a big fan of the National Catholic Reporter down in the US. NCR commentaries and articles have often provided the spring-board and inspiration for my own blog posts. It is one of my go-to sources for international Catholic news as are The Tablet in the UK and our own Prairie Messenger here in Canada. Unlike some Diocesan sponsored newspapers, these journals provide a wide range of voices and critical reflections on the Church in our world. In the spirit of dialogue, I try to read a few more conservative journals also. I enjoy hearing all sides to an issue and seeing how diverse views are presented.
A couple of weeks ago, an editor from NCR sent me an email. He had come across the catholic dialogue blog and the Prairie Messenger columns. He liked what he saw, and wondered if I would be interested in joining the NCR Today Blog Team. In hind-sight, responding with an email that said ‘are you kidding me?’ was probably not the most professional response. But it was an honest one.
I continue to be amazed at the connections that are made through the internet, and in the blog world. The opportunities for open dialogue and networking are phenomenal. In the past, most church conversations took place in curial halls or behind pastoral doors. Today, passionate and committed lay women and men, religious and priests share their voices and share their faith across the miles and across cyber-space. True faith requires a journey of exploring and questioning. Faith grows when we have the opportunity to test out new thoughts on others, to enter into respectful dialogue that seeks understanding.
And we learn. Each and every day we learn from what others are saying and writing. I chose a relatively safe topic for my first NCR Today blog post – an invitation to share experiences on the New Roman Missal. It provided a lively discussion on this blog, and managed to nudge a healthy response on the NCR blog also. In fact, the responses are far wittier and interesting than the post itself! 😉