Friday, July 31, 2015

a holy harmony

I returned last weekend from YASC orientation in New York, and while I'll post again soon with pictures and highlights, I wanted to go ahead and write the reflection that was really on my heart. Reflecting on discernment weekend in February, I found myself surprised at how intimately connected I could feel to people after four days. At mission orientation I was once again struck by this. Having spent less than 3 combined weeks with these individuals, I feel that many of them know me better than most people I have known for years.

During one of our orientation sessions, we read excerpts from Howard Thurman’s “The Sound of the Genuine,” a beautiful baccalaureate address to the graduating class of Spelman College in 1980. Thurman posits that within each of us is “the sound of the genuine” and that we must first learn to hear our own, lest we live our lives “on the ends of strings that someone else pulls.” He goes on to describe that when two people allow themselves to be vulnerable with one another, the sounds of the genuine in each of them form a harmony, the beautiful noise that Thurman claims inspired God to make man in his image.

During our two weeks at Holy Cross, I heard this holy music daily - during small group sessions and one-on-one chats, shared meals and walks to the river, a bilingual church service, the moving story of a Muslim woman, and countless other occasions. 

In our baptismal vows, we promise to “seek Christ in all persons.” When we listen for the sound of the genuine, that is what we are doing. We are acknowledging humanity and divinity simultaneously, and it is a joyful noise indeed. 

It is also much harder to achieve in the hustle and bustle of everyday life than it is during a two week stint at a monastery. But the goal is to bring that intentionality into the world with us, to bring it to our daily interactions whether with family and friends or while waiting in line at Starbucks.

My goal is to achieve this holy harmony as often as possible during my year in Cape Town and beyond. To those who honored our safe space and practiced vulnerability with me, thank you. Keep exercising that holy courage, and please keep in touch. I love you and miss your beautiful souls already.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

thomas merton prayer

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

- Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude