Thursday, November 29, 2012

Redemption At Hand

Lectio Divina

"... your redemption is at hand."

Luke 21:28


Catching up now on recently arrived issues of Commonweal and National Catholic Reporter. Wading slowly through Mumford, The City in History. 

A novice brother has loaned me a copy of his book about the correspondence between Saint Clare of Assisi, founder of the first community of Franciscan women religious, and Princess Agnes of Prague, who renounced marriage and her destiny as royalty to live Gospel poverty and care for the sick and poor. Here is the citation:

Mueller, Joan. Clare's Letters to Agnes: Texts and Sources. Saint Bonaventure, N.Y.: The Franciscan Institute, 2001.

While we are talking about women Franciscans, I am working on a small-group assignment about Saint Colette of Corbie, France, a 15th-century reformer of both the men's and women's religious communities. I found a biography in our novice library:

Schimberg, Albert P. Tall in Paradise: The Story of Saint Coletta of Corbie. Francestown, N.H.: Marshall Jones, 1947. It's probably typical of the pious hagiographies of the time, but at least it will illuminate for me the significance of her life and works.


This morning at Mass, we celebrated all the saints of the Franciscan order. Thinking prayerfully about Dorothy Day, who entered into her eternal reward 32 years ago today. She was not formally a Franciscan, but who better lived the Gospel example of Francis and Clare in our times than she?

Staying put today because I have several things to get done. First, updating this blog! Next, getting a haircut and trimming my beard -- I want to clean up for my first day of ministry at the Lompoc federal penitentiary. While working on my presentation on Saint Colette, I am also reading my kid brother's graduate school application essays and offering him advice and improvements. If I have additional time, I will get to that Advent/Christmas circular I have been meaning to write. And, if I am really industrious, a Christmas greeting card to the Walmart home office and the managers of the supercenter and grocery in Santa Maria.

So many troubles in our world: the polar ice caps are melting, and creation is crucified; greed ruins lives, corrupts souls, and batters families; the machinery of the global industrial economy kills workers, and still we worship Mammon over God; we turn to violence for redemption, and we wonder why peoples refuse to live in peace. But then there is the Gospel and today's message in Luke. We are at the very end of Ordinary Time, and Advent feels really near. Redemption is always near, always at hand.


Damp but warmer than yesterday. It is important to keep the heart warm and the blood moving. It's California but the valley gets cold at night. It can be hard sometimes to shake off the chill and the hardening of the extremities. Lord, don't let the chill harden my heart, my core.

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