Summer Retreat 2015

japanese-charactersBy Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

Our annual summer retreat has begun. Silence. Ahhhhh! 🙂

Sister Sharon Zayac, OP, is presenting our daily conferences (talks of about an hour in length to guide our thinking). Her theme: Waking to the Divine in All.

It’s an inspirational and provocative theme that celebrates our connectedness to God in and through all things. In fact, every part of the universe – all the dirt and water, rocks and trees, fish and animals and people – is connected through God, as expressions of God.

And we are one.

And, because we are part of the universe, we – every particle! – are changing and evolving. Stars explode, showering the universe with dust that creates more stars. Volcanoes erupt, covering the land with rich new soil that new plants take root in. Rivers flood, creating new meanders. Dust clouds carry atoms from the coast of China to the west coast of the U.S.

Indeed, every breath we take is composed of atoms that have been here for a long time … and was surely part of other living organisms (dinosaurs, even).

As we change, we become.

Change, Sr. Sharon notes, takes place on the edge of chaos (see above). That’s true of the universe, and, as part of the universe, it’s true of us.

The good news is, our soil will be rich and ready for new creation. Ready for us to stretch ourselves – our imaginations, our definitions, our expectations – into what we are called to become, both individually and collectively.

I’ve posted the Japanese characters for chaos here. Singly, they mean disaster and opportunity. How fitting! Through disaster comes opportunity. The recipe for creation.

Think of the ancient Phoenix, rising from the ashes.

Although this may be a culturally, theologically and personally restless and chaotic time, it is rich with opportunity for change.

How will you respond?

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