Thursday, July 29, 2004

And in a more mundane set of concerns...

... I am still struggling with the Donec Formitur retreat. Sr. Kathryn James suggested I not worry to much about the inability to stick to a consistent time and method of prayer. She gave me a great metaphor to think about, a picture of the vine and the branch:

Today I was reflecting on the words "remain on the Vine, that's all
you need to worry about." It made me think of your sharing because of the
way the word "interaction" summed up many of the invitations of the
Spirit--interaction with life, with others, with your family, with God. It
seemed to me that you do best in letting God show you how to pray--perhaps
for this moment in your life he is interacting with you in daily living and
in your relationships with others. Our only concern need be to remain on the
Vine. A friend of mine visited a vineyard for meditation and her first
discovery was that the vine was huge, old, bore many scars. The branch was
about 2 inches long. It was tiny. The rest of the old branches had been
taken away to be burned. All the branch had to do was to remain on the vine
and grow alone the wires that the owner of the vineyard had created (the
presence and direction of the Father). Those wires could be a symbol of this
retreat. As you grow along the wires, your life stretches out in always
deeper transformation, and you will bear much fruit.- Sr. Kathryn James

So I have been trying to keep that image of the thick, old, scarred vine and the tiny branches in mind. I also know that the ups and downs of my moods and health are not worthy of the worry with which I endow them while in the midst of a down period or a time when the back hurts and the leg limps. Leonard Cohen captured the illusion when he sang, in Sisters of Mercy, " When you're not feeling holy, your loneliness says that you've sinned. "

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