In other words

The Word became a human being and, full of grace and truth, lived among us.

John 1:14 

lonely coupleI hurt my beloved*. It wasn’t intentional and it probably wasn’t even avoidable but in truth it happened. I needed to share my concerns, ideas and wishes with him. And I just couldn’t find the right words. As I shared – with the intention of being honest – all he was able to hear was criticism and words that picked at what we both thought were old wounds healed. And as the conversation unfolded no matter how hard I tried, I could not find the words that he could hear that also expressed my equally valid need. In the end we weren’t able to fully resolve the concern. But we were able to remain in our relationship knowing these concerns were not unearthed to win a point or hurt the other. Sometimes we just can’t find the right words.

Have you ever tried to learn something from an expert? They are so intimate with the subject, the nuances, and the implications of certain interactions that they just can’t explain it to a novice. Their intention is good, they want us to understand, but that one word or turn of phrase that would clear the fuzz, allow for understanding and perhaps agreement alludes us both. And we spiral together into frustration and sometimes accusations of stubbornness, being unwilling to bend or intentionally not understanding just out of spite. Good intentions devolve into a power struggle that never needed to happen.

As children many of us probably chanted Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me. I think most of us know words can be more hurtful than any weapon. They hold power and it’s a power so strong because it burrows deep and becomes part of our narrative, of who we are. Sometimes it’s a power that oppresses, controls and keeps us down, words used to hurt others as they’ve been hurt or worse the fear of being hurt. Yet some of those same words can be liberating, life-giving, invitations of healing as we’ve been healed.

I’m mindful of how words have changed me. When I started this position two years ago, I initially thought of this as an office, with tasks, things to be done. After a few conferences, workshops and encounters with others, it became clear that this is a ministry not just an office.  And I began to ask, what does a social justice ministry look like from a pastoral care lens? Just words – but words that changed everything for me. Living into those words, I am not just ticking off a check-list of meetings, petitions, actions, number of bills passed that we endorse. I change how I am at those meetings and actions; I change how I engage those who make decisions that can either help or hurt others. I feel it is something we take for granted when we are working for peace and justice and right relationship. We forget the power of the word.

When I hold something dear – a need, an ideology, a desire for the care and well-being of those being hurt – I know it intimately. And I cannot always find the best way to help others hear and know its importance to me. I cannot always find the right words that clear the fear or discomfort of another in hearing my story. My words may trigger wounds believed healed, long forgotten. And if I spiral into the need of being right, or being “heard” I’ve lost any chance to find the right words.

I don’t think it’s insignificant that we are told in the book of John that the “Word became a human being full of grace and truth, and walked among us”. There is power in words, they shape us, the allow us to catch a glimpse of things unknown. The gospel is good news because it gave us the power, not by might, but by knowing the Word can bring the kindom now by becoming the word as human beings walking with grace and truth.

How do we recognize the power of our words? How do we balance the need to care for another yet still speak our truth? And how do we make amends when our truth has hurt another? How do we live the good news with one another in this unfinished world?

On the path,

Anna

*My husband gave me his blessing to share this part of our story.

Where Do You Come From?

Empty yourself continually in honor of the Incarnate Word who emptied himself with so much love for you (Phil 2:7). Make your commitment to live in the practice of the most sincere, true and profound humility possible to you. Do so on all occasions, to everyone but especially to God, from whom must come all the blessings of your institute.

Fr. Jean Pierre Medaille

c.2013 Kimberly V. Schneider

kimberly_webWe are fortunate to have a wonderful guest blogger, Kimberly Schneider.  As I read her reflection, I am reminded of the importance of connections to our past, shared and personal, connections to our present knowing who we are from where we have been and being open to where that takes us on the journey. Kimberly gently reminds me that many have traveled similar paths and sometimes blaze new trails for us to follow. But we are never alone in the journey even if all we see are one set of footprints in the dust.

Five years ago I lost one of my best friends and most enthusiastic cheerleaders: my Dad. As the years have passed and the pain of losing him has softened, I have begun to really honor and celebrate the traces of him and all the ancestors I find within myself.

The first time I went to Ireland, soon after Dad died, I found pieces of him there—in easy laughter, the love of a good story, the propensity to break out in song, the sparkling eyes and the immense hospitality we encountered in so many people.  It was a healing way to remember him, and to rediscover him in the world around me.

One of the questions I hear often when I return to Ireland to facilitate Celtic Spirituality retreats there is some version of “who are your people?” I’m sure the Irish in the tourism industry have caught on to the fact that Americans are searching for their roots, and love talking about their ancestors.  And yet, there’s more to it than that. 

I see it in the way the Irish talk about the history in the landscape and the families who have been there for centuries.  It’s there in the way people work to find some way they are connected with every person they meet.  And in case any doubt remained about the importance of knowing where you come from in the Irish mind, I met one man who said his uncle could list the genealogy of his chickens, going back 14 generations. 

I’ve come to appreciate and revel in the exploration of where I’m from, and who my own people are.  Because understanding how my life experiences and the people whose DNA flows through my body have shaped me (for better and for worse) helps me make more conscious choices about who I want to be.  It reminds me that I owe all of my ancestors a debt of gratitude for just being.  After all, if not for them, I wouldn’t be here. 

Remembering where I’m from deepens my connection to those I’ve lost: my Dad, his brother, and my grandparents—and also to the loved ones who still share life with me: Mom, my brother and my kids, cousins, nephews and nieces and aunts and uncles, all the family and friends I’m lucky enough to know.

Beyond that, contemplating who my people are reminds me that at the deepest level, each one of us is profoundly connected.

Go back far enough and we share the same ancestors.

We’re made of the same star-stuff that created this Universe.

We’re breathing the same material that has given form to every being on this planet.

You and I are family. 

 May the peace of knowing that we are All One be yours today.

Do you know where you come from? And who has helped you walk the path you are on? What would our world look like if we really truly believed we are family, deeply connected and made of the same “star-stuff’? How would you live in practice of the most sincere in this unfinished world?

Thank you Kimberly for reminding us of where we come from. Grateful to be with you all – my beloved family.

On the path,
Anna

Kimberly Schneider has studied, taught and written about Celtic spirituality for decades.  She facilitates classes, retreats and ceremonies at sacred spaces in the U.S. and Ireland, helping modern seekers find fresh relevance in the wisdom of the ancient Celts.  This spring, she will be co-facilitating a Celtic Spirituality retreat at the Motherhouse with Irish singing/songwriting brothers Owen and Moley O’Suilleabhain.  For tickets and information, go to:  Brown Paper Tickets online sales visit the event site and click the links on the top of the page. http://togetherinfaithseries.com/2014/01/02/march-7-8-celtic-soul-experience-2/

Becoming Grandma Laly

Root the strength of your resolutions and the hope of the success of your undertakings in the knowledge of your great weakness and the total mistrust of self, as well as in the firm assured confidence you ought to have in God, for whom nothing is impossible and will always assist you in everything you undertake for God’s glory through the movement of God’s grace and according to the orders of obedience.

Fr. Jean Pierre Medaille

Sr. Gladys Leigh, CSJ has recently begun volunteering with a wonderful organization that is working to provide healing and support for young women who have survived sex trafficking. I hope you’ll visit the Covering House and learn more about how you can help in this work. Sr. Gladys, generously shares this journey of her life. Finding a new way to be and learning that the Holy Spirit can ever reveal inner gifts and strengths we may have forgotten or not known were there. Thank you Sr. Gladys for sharing your story with us.

compassion stained glass Laly, abuelita Laly. It happened to me at the Millennium Hotel, St. Louis. We were having a Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph event. It started with looking for a hotel that would take a public stance against Human Trafficking. The Sisters of St. Joseph take a public stance against human trafficking. We showed up…we listened…we prayed… Transformation happened. I said to one of my fellow sisters, “That is exactly how God is calling me to minister to, girls victims of the worst slavery of the modern world:  sex human trafficking of children.”

And just like that I was told, “There is the woman you need to talk to” and was directed to Deedee Lhamonn, the director of the Covering House.  There wasn’t a need for me in that moment but God was planting a seed. Perhaps, she told me that I could eventually become a loving presence, a Grandmother to the girls. Grandma to the girls? How could that be true, if I am not even a mother to anyone? Be not afraid… you will know it.

See, I was born in a desert called Sullana. North of Peru, close to the border with Ecuador. In 1940 we had a “military event”, a war. And my home town was a “military fort”. I saw many military, hostilities… actually the Military Social Club was next wall to our home. They would get drunk, and start shooting, almost every weekend for sure. No electricity, waking up with shootings. I grew in great fear.

I was terrified, afraid of the dark, afraid of violence; I felt I was not safe even at home. For different reasons, I was a hostage in my own home. My father died when I was 7. Then I was so afraid of the “dead, of dying”, of “seeing somebody sick” and was afraid “to see and hear people who were dear to me cry out loud”.  I run away, I hid.  We had been living at my grandmother, abuelita Teresita. My father’s mother. She was so dear to me, she was trying to help me to free myself from so many fears… she would defend me, protect me. She showed me to talk to God, talk to Mary, talk to my angel; she assured me they would protect me when nobody else would.

She was diabetic and became blind… she became very sick, so I was terrified of her… I did not want to go near her bedroom… I separated myself from her because I thought being blind, meant having no eyes in the face… how could I look at her having no eyes?  How was she ever defend me and protect me?  My grandmother kept calling me, sending me messages to not be afraid of her, so I became brave and went to see her, touch her face, jump up in bed with her and cuddle again.  She died three months after my father did. Great losses for a 7-year-old girl. I was left with all my fears, real fears. Who could stand up for me?  Who could protect me?  Who could empower me?  Who could believe me?

Years went by, full of fear. I was face to face to the very poor and oppressed, I saw their reality. Who could stand up for them? Who could protect them” who could empower them”?   I discover who were the poor, no voice, children dying… the sick dying… people crying out loud… Then I discover that there are a varieties of being poor, who was the poorest of the poor?  Women: for being poor and for their sex, and children for being born poor and with financial debt.  Out of the cries of the poor I felt called by God.  “I will go, God if you lead me I will keep your people in my heart”. 

By the grace of God, by the blessings of my CSJ community, by the blessings of being among the poor, the people of God, the church of God, I started liberating myself from all my fears.

With the poor in Peru, with them, with the church and the CSJ I became like them, became to be prophets, the voice of the voiceless, the protector of exploited women, we became the ones who would empower the people of God. We responded with love, and I started to see liberation for all who are oppressed. I was one with the oppressed, lived it, loved them, done it.

In the last 20 years, more liberation on the way.

Terrified of seeing women crying, treating like they have a disease when they were giving birth?  I was called to be their doula, stay in the moment, seeing pain with a purpose for new life. I was free with them!!

Terrified of being touched, even so uncomfortable to hold hands at praying Our Father? I was called to be a massage therapist, divining the body, respecting the body, experience and share “a healing, safe touch.  I was free with them!

Terrified of the dying, of them abandoning me.  By pure grace of God, I was able to stay during the whole process of seeing my two very best friends Mary Ann Fahey and Kathleen Judge both CSJs being seriously ill and staying with them every step of the way when they were dying. Comforting them, encouraging them even to let go and let God.  Then I was privileged to accompany Mary Laurent when she gave birth to her new life. And in all these processes I was healed with them!

I let my grandma, mi abuelita Teresita get the credit for helping me become free of the oppression of my fears.

How can I not be “Grandma Laly” for the girls at the Covering House? How can I not hope empower them from the slavery of sex trafficking? How can I not continue to accept the liberating experiences of God for them, with them, and most importantly, you?

Where one CSJ is, we are all there.

What strengths has God revealed to you in your life? Are you able to see them as gifts to share or do you fear what they may bring? Are you open to a new identity or are you stuck in old ways? Who is God calling you to become?

So grateful to be on the path with you and Grandma Laly,

Anna

Who will judge?

Always speak favorably of others and value highly the good in them, excusing and covering up, in the best way you can, the deficiencies they might have.

Fr. Jean Pierre Medaille

Below is a reflection of one of our sisters, Sr. Pat Murphy. As we post this, Missouri is preparing to execute yet another person next week. One piece that really stood out from our conversations and what Sr. Pat heard from Mr. Smulls was that he was not the same man today as the one who was convicted and sentenced to death all those years ago. He had become a new man but was only judged from the worst point in his life.

“I am peaceful.” These words were spoken to me by Herbert Smulls while he waited for the verdict regarding the “stay” of execution.

Arriving early at the Regional site in Bonne Terre, I signed in and was asked my business. A phone communication alerted someone in another building that Herbert Smulls had a friend visiting him. I was to keep my coat since it was so cold today and I needed to walk to another building. My coat and cane were x-rayed, but keys and other objects were stored in a locker.  With my driver’s license and locker key in hand, I walked through the security door, and was given directions as to which other doors would take me where I needed to be. I continued unescorted! Each door was electronically opened and locked behind me and a warden of some rank checked my ID (driver license) at various places. I was directed to room 2 where I waited for Herbert Smulls to be brought. This was a small cubicle with a wall separating me from the other side; a glass window separated us. Communication was to be done via phone. 

barbed heartAfter about a ten-minute delay, a warden and two other guards brought Herbert to the opened door on his side. They gently unbuttoned his coat and removed it before allowing him into his side of the cubicle. His hands were manacled together and connected with a chain around his waist. His feet were also chained, allowing enough linkage for walking. Every time he needed a hand (to reach for the phone, or to wipe his tears and nose) both hands had to move together, often disturbing his glasses which then needed to be righted. I desperately wanted to unlock his chains and clean those glasses! 

As you may know, he and I have corresponded for nearly eight years, but we had never met. Today (January 28, the morning prior to his scheduled execution date) we met for the first time and I became privy to parts of his life that I had not yet heard. I knew he was adopted because I had met his birth-mother at a court hearing several years ago. He says his adoptive home was a good one, although it was still in the ghetto. He was quite gifted athletically, and I have found him very good intellectually, also. The family and he had high hopes that he could get a scholarship and end up playing with the NBA. However, about the time he was 19 years old, he had a shotgun pointed at him…. He raised his hand and knocked the gun down as the gun went off. The result, a badly disfigured and functionally disabled hand, ended his hopes athletically. He felt he had failed himself and his family. He had no chance of success in his own mind. There was no one in his life who could point him in a new positive direction, either. 

In our conversation Herbert pointed out that choices open to a person in the ghetto are quite different from what a middle-class person could choose. What you have neither seen nor been exposed to certainly wouldn’t cross your mind as an option at a time like this. He was so discouraged that he “joined” the violence in his neighborhood; in his words, he “went down the wrong path.”

I’m not clear about the next part. He admits being at the jewelry store to steal; however, he claims that he and his younger friend “left” and he does not know how the murder “went down.” In retrospect, I wonder if he was not physically present or if it was his mind that “left the premises.” What if he was on drugs or got too frightened to think straight? If that is true, Herbert feels that it clearly was not premeditated on his part and should not have been judged worthy of the death-penalty. 

We talked about many things while we were together. When I asked him where his heart and mind were regarding the expected execution at midnight, he seemed to be at peace. He talked about his Bible and the phone connections he has with several prayer groups. I asked him about his feelings regarding the possibility of the 60-day stay. He stated that he did not want to “go through this again” referring to the move to this facility. He would rather have stayed at Potosi where the guards knew him and he was comfortable with the guards. Here in Bonne Terre they are all strangers to each other. He feels violated over the fact that his “space” has a full glass side with two guards observing him at every second. He can’t even go to the toilet without being watched. (Is the goal to keep him from committing suicide which would prevent the state from executing him???)   

However, in the next string of conversation following his claim that he doesn’t want to go through this again, Herbert talked of the hope that, given 60 days, there is the possibility that the death penalty will be dropped in Missouri. At this time I felt that he was thinking he had 60 days rather than 24 hours…. 

Some of the more personal moments involved our sharing feelings for one another. He was happy that I had declined the invitation to witness the actual execution. Then he got “ecstatic” knowing I planned to come and visit with him. He was aware of my discomfort after sitting for so long, knowing from my letters that I had had recent back surgery. It was he who terminated our visit because he did not want me to be so uncomfortable. That, coming from a man facing imminent death.

Once he stood up and nodded to the warden standing just outside the door, I also stood. He was agitated over the fact that it was taking them so long (maybe 10 minutes) to bring the guards who would take him back to his holding cell. I made gestures to let him know I was OK with this, and he gave me a broad smile. As he was readied to leave his side of the cubicle, phones having been hung up, his coat on and buttoned, he mouthed “I love you,” to me through the glass. I was able to say “I love you, too back at him. Leaving the visiting area seemed so final to me…. I also shed tears. 

Instead of being executed at 12:01 am as originally scheduled, the “stay” request wasn’t settled until much later. This gave me the opportunity to call him on the phone around 11:30 the following morning. He claimed to still be peaceful, not agitated. He was trusting God to be with him. His actual execution took place at 10:20 pm. For sure, Herbert Smulls is now at peace with our God of Peace. 

The following is from an article written by Sr. Jean Iadevito as she quotes Judy Cannato’s book, Field of Compassion.  I found to be my own prayer as well….

Incomprehensible Holy Mystery, in and through your grace I can hold the gift of this moment in time. Help me embrace each and every resurrection, every experience of self-transcendence and self-dissolution that invites me to enflesh compassion and love in the world. May I continue to grow in my capacity to witness so that I may form intentions that are life-giving for all. May I engage the new story of connectedness in a way that facilitates my own evolution and calls others to evolve as well. May we together manifest a Field of Compassion, a place where the holy and human converge in grace. Amen.

As I sit with Sr. Pat’s story I have to ask myself, do I hold others eternally accountable for acts committed in the past, with no chance of redemption? If I believe to be a follower of Jesus, how can I deny another the possibility of being reborn and made new? Who am I to judge?

On the path with you and Sr. Pat Murphy, CSJ

Anna Sandidge

A thought about limitations

Never go ahead of grace by an imprudent eagerness, but quietly await its movements, and, when it comes to you, go along with it, with great gentleness, humility, fidelity and courage.

Fr. Jean-Pierre Medaille

Have you ever had such dear and special friends that as a thought pops into mind or you experience something just a little special, you try to make a mental note to share that with them? That’s how I’ve felt this past month. Something trail arrowwould happen and I’d think, I must share that with the folks on an Unfinished World! But then life got away from me. Holidays, an extended illness (fully recovered now) and some family needs that kept pulling me into other places with no room spiritually or physically to write. But you were ever present in my heart.

It was hard to let go of feeling obligated to write something every week.  There was a sense of shirking my duties if I hadn’t produced an essay or recruited someone to write in my stead. Letting go is lot easier said than done. That is one of the challenges of living in these times. How do we stay open, reflective and sharing with one another when we are pulled in so many directions? Especially as we hold responsibilities as care-givers for family or are forced to be realistic with our physical limitations. And while I did often find myself thinking of something to say, the Way never quite opened to get it in writing. As difficult as it was I finally surrendered and it was good to rest.

Quotas, obligations, and getting things done are only useful as tools that prompt and motivate. When they become the reason and not the means to accomplish a better world, then I’ve lost the point and sometimes stopping is the only way to start again. Often having the humility to never “go ahead of grace” is much more difficult than expected.  But surrendering to the great gentleness can be balm for the soul, in this unfinished world. Because if I remember that I am in this with Spirit, then I need not be so anxious. I can take courage that all will be well with grace and if I am faithful, even in resting great things will be done.

How have you been? I’d love to hear how things are in your journey today.

On the path,

Anna

Tis better to receive

Jesus asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’

John 21:17

I haven’t written in a while, end of year projects, hustle and bustle of the holidays and like so many folks this pesky cold that just won’t go away. There are all kinds of reasons, but honestly, the main reason is because I’ve been arguing with the Holy Spirit. I’ve had this nagging back and forth in my prayer life, “You want me to write about what? I can’t write about baptisms and Jesus after the crucifixion. It’s Christmas! You know celebration, magi, humble beginnings, new life, gifts, and great joy!” And it always comes back to me, “what greater joy is there than to receive this?”

love locketAt the recent Call to Action conference two speakers touched my prayer life in unexpected ways, Dan Schutte and Megan McKenna. Mr. Schutte shared with us, from John where Jesus asks, “Simon, do you love me?” There is an aching vulnerability in such a question, that anticipation of what if the answer is “no” or, “uhhh…” or that dismissive “what a silly question to ask”. We are wide open, exposed, showing that we care about the answer; we need to receive assurance, comfort, love.  Our need is not silly and Jesus, gifted us with that knowing. He too wanted to know “do you love me?” Being loved is just as important as being able to love.

Ms. McKenna spoke on Jesus’ baptism from Luke. She shared that “and Jesus was praying” is so significant, because to pray means to stand in the presence of God, to be seen and known for who you are and not run away.  And as a result of that God told Jesus, “I am deeply pleased. I take great delight in you.” And that Jesus’ baptism becomes the example for us. God is pleased and delights in us. Even when we stand in that presence and are seen and known for who we are and do not runaway, we are recipients of this amazing gift, this miraculous love – agape. Fr. Jean Corbon defines agape as love that “renders the object lovable”.  Oh to experience such love. To be rendered loveable. It implies that when we are boiled down to the most basic part, and when wholly seen we are still worthy of love.

Many of us have been raised with the teaching that “it’s better to give than to receive.” And at face value one can hardly argue with that. We’ve all seen what becomes of the world when it’s focused on winner take all, all for me, and I get mine first. We lament the outcome of such actions. And at Christmas time, many of us get a little bit more generous.

In the spirit of Christmas, we adopt needy families, serve in soup kitchens. Maybe we don’t think twice about the five dollars we hand to the person with the cardboard sign at the off-ramp. We are feeling so gracious we don’t even care that she/he might go buy a drink on this bitterly cold night; all in the Christmas spirit – eh? But I have to stop and ask myself, why is it so easy to be generous now and not the other eleven months of the year? What would it take for me to not only give but receive love all year long? What would it take to be open when it’s not the season to celebrate the Christ-child?

Am I being so generous because I have more power and security than those who are receiving? In the giving, I can maintain that distance from need. I have the power to say “Yes I love you or find you worthy.” Is it better to give than to receive because that means, I’m a “have” not a “have not”? OK – now that is NOT to say, don’t give. But I need to think about how and why I am giving? And how well do I receive gifts of all kinds in return? Am I willing to be the one in need? Am I willing to ask, “do you love me?” Am I willing to hear and believe, “I take great delight in you”? And am I willing to believe that gift is received of others as well – regardless of who and how they stand before God?

This Christmas season, what gifts are you willing to receive? How have you been “rendered lovable?”

Delighting with you on the path,

Anna

Trusting in a miracle

What they trust in is fragile; what they rely on is a spider’s web.

Job 8:14

spider webMy six year old grandson and I have been reading Charlotte’s Web together. He’s been fascinated with spiders and spider webs. Their intricate patterns with purpose yet very delicate, destroyed with a falling leaf or sudden gust of wind. At the same time spider’s webs can be deceptively strong, clinging, entangling, difficult to extract oneself from once encountered.

In a recent radio program I heard reported that two-thirds of Americans don’t trust one another. Not only that, they think it’s dangerous to put their trust in someone else. It seems as if we are becoming a society that is grounded less in spirituality and more in consumerism. Trusting tablets, televisions, video games to bring us peace and fill the void. I can’t help but think of these things as spider webs, attractive, clinging, but neither supportive nor life giving but life-taking. And yet in “things we trust.” Or so it would seem as we spend our dollars, thinking this will show our families how much we love them or worse show how much value we have in what we buy.

When I think on the times that I have been most blessed, felt most valued and cherished it has been when someone has placed their trust in me. Trusting me with a confidence, a fear, a shared hope. Opening their heart in my presence and trusting I will hold it with great care. That trust is the most amazing gift I have ever known. And it’s scary, to keep that trust, to want desperately not to fail, to not want to cause harm or betray that trust. But stepping forward boldly and holding that trust with equal vulnerability.

As I reflect on advent this season, I can’t help but think about the miracle of trust. How did Mary trust her experience of the visitation? How did Joseph trust what he had heard? I can only imagine how hard it would have been as they began to share with friends and neighbors. The comments, the gossip, relationships they trusted, tested and perhaps failed. But yet they placed their trust in a higher place and were willing to be vulnerable in sharing that trust. They knew that in being vulnerable one can be hurt. And theirs was not an easy or painless life.

What would our life look like if we placed our trust in God, owning that in the vulnerability of giving our trust to others we will most likely be hurt? But also, we may experience that graced gift of returned trust, acceptance and love, sharing with one another our willingness to be vulnerable and love.

Civil rights leader Vincent Harding recently said in an interview on NPR’s program On Being, “It’s going to be generations before that really comes to fruition. Not just generations, but working generations. Commitment to give ourselves fully and deeply to the task of creating something new, not just assuming that by sitting around the new is going to come. Only as we, strengthened by the grace of God, say there must be something new and we must help to embody it and to create it.”

And that requires trust, the miracle of trusting in the movement of the Holy Spirit, the miracle of trusting in one another and a willingness to see that as strength not the weakness of a spider’s web. As Mary and Joseph waited, they also gave themselves fully, deepening that trust with God and one another. In this time of waiting for the miracle, how have you trusted? Where have you been willing to step boldly, making something new from the gift we were given?

Trusting you on the path,

Anna