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purpose

Saturday, January 27, 2007

I may disagree with Sr. JC at times, but I do admit that she communicates stuff that is of considerable value to us all.

Excerpts taken (without permission) from THE FIRE IN THESE ASHES,
by Joan Chittister, OSB

On the other hand, Mother Sylvester, my first prioress, made two trips to our novitiate yearly. In both of them, she came to ask us only one question. Patience was her hallmark; she tutored us with measured steps. In fact, she viewed with great benignity the fact that most novices failed the test rather routinely at the time of her first visit. At the same time, she was anything but complacent if we failed it at the time of her second one. "Why have you come to religious life?" she asked each of us in turn, arms folded under her scapular, head tilted down to scrutinize us over her glasses as she scanned us around the table. At first blush, we made up wonderful answers: "To give our lives to the church," the pious said; "To save our souls," the cautious said; "To convert the world," the zealots said. But no, no, no, she signaled with a shake of the head. Not that. Not that. Not that. "You come to religious life, dear sisters," she said sadly, "only to seek God."

Only to seek God. The answer stuns in its simplicity. In its ubiquitousness. In its universality. In its demands. The awful truth of the answer changes everything. For the person who cannot find God here, staying here is a mistake. For the person who does not seek God here, leaving here is an imperative. For the person who can find God better someplace else, leaving here is a grace.
and unfortunately no, I don't own the book and have not read the book ... God bless the Sisters who sent me this (it's a longer excerp than this) for reflection

2 comments:

Truth Seeker said...

I think I'm wondering if I'm one of these two people:

"For the person who cannot find God here, staying here is a mistake. ... For the person who can find God better someplace else, leaving here is a grace."

Sophie's Daughter said...

ooohhh.. Good quote. Thanks for pointing it out to me. Sometimes it's just this that keeps me wanting to enter religious life--I have to remember again and again that it's not about the church, that I'm entering to seek God alone. All the things that bother me about the church are tiny compared to that.