Sunday, September 05, 2010

Contemplative Horizon Returns


Last weekend our community had the great pleasure of participating in celebrating the 50th jubilee of religious vows of Father Thomas Deely, CSsR, former missionary in Puerto Rico and Santo Domingo.  Many Redemptorists came to acknowledge Father's fidelity.  One of them greeted me saying, "I hope things are OK. You haven't been publishing to your blog." I told him that 'yes' things were OK but there were a lot of 'things', things that I had to do and took time. And that is what the title of this piece is speaking of; all those people, things, and situations which ask something of us; all of those requests to which we know in our hearts we have no choice but to respond with the word "YES." 

The feast on which we most contemplate this great lesson, the Annunciation, was celebrated last March. We have not yet reached Advent when we might contemplate it again. But it is a lesson for all seasons. In these last two months "Yes" was the only response to community needs; to the volume of orders that came in for the work that supports our community; to help required by elderly parents; to the sister in community who is suddenly hospitalized; and to those times when the easier answer is "No" or "Not again!" or "Did I really mean this when I made that promise, or that vow or that commitment?" And no matter what our state in life this lesson seems to apply.

So that is why I illustrate this piece with the icon of the Archangel Gabriel. Gabriel's voice was heard by Mary. "AND SHE SAID YES." In July I also said "Yes" to myself. I'd been introduced to icon writing (that is how the tradionalists describe icon painting) but could not seem to manage on my own without more instruction.  I love the creativity, color and technique of a work that suits the contemplative life so well. Yet, even though I received permission to particpate in an icon retreat/workshop, I kept vacillating. There was so much to do at home. How could I spare the time? But I resisted the temptation to back out, continuing to say "Yes" to my intuitions and inspirations. In the days to come you will see more icons here. The experience was a blessing.