Be Still, My Heart.
I am a contemplative nun. That means the primary focus of my life, every day, is prayer and meditation. I believe deeply in the power of prayer – I’ve seen so many blessed, mysterious and miraculous things happen as a result of prayer that I would be a fool to feel otherwise!
When I am not praying for the world and the people living in it, my directive is to live prayerfully. To live loving, as much as I am able, as Jesus did, and as He tried to teach us to do. Part of that loving manifests in spiritual counselling and teaching others how to find God within and all around themselves. There is nothing in this life that I would rather do, and I count myself blessed to be able to live the life I want and need to lead.
Most contemplatives live under a vow of silence in their own convents and monasteries. Some live alone in private, rural settings that are conducive to contemplation. That’s what I had been doing until my son became a quadraplegic and I was given dispensation to have him come and live with me. So a lot of my time now is taken up with the 24/7 care a paralysed person needs.
You can do anything, or live any kind of life, prayerfully, and having him at home hasn’t diminished my life in any way – in fact, I am indescribably richer for it.
But this week I’m trying to get ready to go on Retreat. It’s enough of a job making sure ministry committments are provided for. Many of us have also written and prepared lectures. Now I also have to make arrangements for my son’s care while I’m gone, and it has to be done with delicacy to preserve his dignity, boost his confidence and help him to find pride in just how much he can do for himself. An emergency nurse who understands that can be hard to find.
It’s not going well. I keep running into obstacles and out of time! I feel extremely stressed, and to frost the cake, I am moving onto my third night of painful insomnia. Instead of feeling filled with joy and expectation about my Retreat, I am bad tempered, overtired, snappy, unpleasant, angry at times, and a little resentful. This all makes me feel even worse!
Some of you may remember my mentioning a very special, sensitive friend of mine who has a gift for asking probing and revealing questions. Recently she asked, “Sister, what is in your heart today?” It stopped me cold because of course I saw that the one and only thing in my heart at that moment, was ME.
Which is why everything was going so badly. I was so intent on doing things right that I forgot to do them lovingly, and prayerfully. I forgot to live from my heart and my spirit and my faith. I forgot to listen for the Holy Spirit and my “PGS”. Thank God that we have the option to go on a Camino or to a Retreat, and find our centre again.Thank God for the blessing of sensitive friends!
How is your week going? What’s in your heart, today?
May God be between you and harm,
And in all the empty places you must walk.
You’re in my heart today. I’ll carry you around all day, and I imagine it will be a beautiful day.
Peter, you remembered! I lose count, you know, of all the thoughtful things you say that bring small tears to my eyes -the hot, little happy tears of knowing someone understands.Thank you -and its so good to find you back on the blog!
Sister, you are in my prayers every step of the Camino. It is hard going but I am blessed to have this time of renewal. I pray that your retreat is fulfilling, rewarding and a time of wonderful renewal. We all must give ourselves this time.
You’re so right, Anne. I often think we would be happier people if spiritual vacation days were mandated, especially in schools. And, there is nothing that holds you up better than the prayers of a friend! Thank you.
I arrived in Leon today. It was too late for me to get in the Cathedral.
I will be visiting the Cathedral tomorrow though and I will light a candle and pray for things to work out for you. But in my heart I already know they will.
Thanks Arlene -I can certainly appreciate all your prayers and good thoughts
Thank you for taking the time, at this very hectic time for you, to write this post reminding us to always be conscious of what’s in our hearts. I wish you a rewarding, rejuvenating and peaceful Retreat. Enjoy this time for you.
Love to you, Janet
Thank you for your kind words!
Light and Love to you and your son. Be loving to yourself, to be loving to others. Ingrid
Thank you Ingrid. Today was an important day for my son and me. He didn’t particularly want to go to the movie – but he went because of me. And then 10 minutes into the film he turned to me and said 10 out of 10!
He is very critical of movies. And he has an extraordinary knowledge of cinema.
Today was a day when he and I shared something special. And we’ll both remember it always.
Sister, I am in the middle of a big hoopla here myself. 150 tasks and no time to accomplish them. I haven’t had time to read the blog for a couple of days. But I did today anyway. You have no idea how much I needed to read your post today. KNOW how much I love you and appreciate you! Julie 🙂
Losing wifi but thanks Julie,and love you too
The contemplation your post generated for me is in my heart today. What a beautiful and thought-provoking post. We are in the process of planning my beloved uncle’s funeral. I consider myself blessed to have been with him 24/7 during the last 12 days of his life. He was in hospice at home with his daughter and I caring for him with occasional visits from the hospice nurse and chaplain. He was 90 years old and a WWII hero. His death was peaceful, and it was amazing to watch as he stepped from this world to the next. I wish you peace in your heart, Sister, and a speedy resolution to the care of your son so that you may enjoy your retreat. With love, Julie
I’ll make sure prayers are said for your uncle tomorrow morning in the chapel here. Blessings and love to you and your family
Sister, I think it is amazing that you are about 3-3.5km as the crow flies from my cousin Karen’s house!!! You could go for a Camino training walk, find a trail through the trees, cross into New Jersey and show up there for dinner. Tell her I sent you 😉
Hi Susan ! Serendipity without doubt. this morning I wa hiking in the rain on the trail that goes from heree to New Jersey.If Id only known where to go…….
Oops, I was a little off. It should read 6-6.5km.