Our Midday Prayer at Holy Wisdom Monastery always includes a Gospel reading and a non-scripture reading. Currently we are reading from Hope in the Midst of Darkness, a publication of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. A reading this week, written by Marcia Allen, CSJ from Concordia, KS, is entitled God’s Horizon. It begins with these quotes:
“Everything is possible for one who believes, still more for one who hopes, even more for one who loves.” – Brother Lawrence
“Set me like a seal on your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death.” – Song of Solomon 8:6
Sister Marcia’s writing follows, with the reflections that came to my heart (in italics) during this reading:
Hope? Our world’s woes break our hearts. We see no future relief. Yet, we do one more thing for NOW which is already in the future past. We stick one green twig in our ground out of inveterate optimism.
My heart broke last night when I read the story in the newspaper about children starving in Haiti. Haitian aid workers spend hours walking to remote mountain villages carrying vitamins and potatoes from their own gardens to the children and their families. The aid workers are like green twigs of hope.
The horizon of God’s future? Christ is already God’s future, alive in our world. Christ has been the future and the past in God’s eternal NOW all along. Christ is the bond that holds together and melds the divine and human into a single reality – the divinehuman. The cross is right there in the joining where Christ is crucified to the world and the world to him. This is true for us too. Here, in that splitting/one-ing intimacy we become who we must be – other Christs who, one green sprig at a time, create the horizon of God’s desire for creation.
What I do might be one green twig like the tiny evergreen twigs we set out in the garden. After they grow for a year protected in the garden from the deer, we will set them out on the monastery grounds where they can grow into trees. What I do seems so small, yet I hope and trust that God will make it grow into something larger in God’s plan.
We live God’s love that endures, and our love that desires. Both save. Each act, word, desire, is a simple, green twig that reveals God’s horizon and shifts ours.
I desire to love God and to serve. That desire in itself is a simple, green twig. Often my desire doesn’t seem like much but it is infused with God’s love – a love as strong as death. That’s what keeps it alive. That love has been present throughout my life, from the beginning, wooing me. Thankfully God’s love will not let me go.
They illuminate the divine-human bond where everything is possible because Christ has been there before us, is every future, and embraces NOW in and through us. Hope? I have only another green twig and the belief that it counts, for Christ is the seal upon my heart. We are nailed with the suffering and joy around us, and Christ, our hope, bridges our weak faith and God’s great love.
Christ is the bridge, the link between my faith which seems so small and God’s love which is great. Christ is our hope. Our community is small, but we continue to plant one green twig after another, believing that what we do counts. We hear from retreatants, oblates, members of Sunday Assembly, friends, co-workers, benefactors, Comunity of Benedict that what we do does count. The prayer, hospitality, justice, and care for the earth that we seek to live makes a difference in their lives. The people who come to the monastery are like green twigs that God plants in our lives. They give us hope. Christ is the seal on our hearts and the bond between us.
What are the green twigs in your life that give you hope? Please share your thoughts, below.