Mary set out....
Two issues of America arrived one after the other -- the current issue very early, then a back issue much delayed. Once we get past Christmas, I will return to Mumford (or so I tell myself).
A busy day yesterday. Gathering with the brothers for tree decorating in the refectory in the morning and in the community recreation room in the evening. Throughout the morning and afternoon, writing and editing articles for the novitiate newsletter. We will publish on the Saturday after Christmas -- a holiday special. We will probably bump up the size from eight to ten pages so we can run large and colorful photos.
Taking it easy this morning. Worshipping with the men at the prison in Lompoc this afternoon. Two services: a 1 p.m. Mass at the medium-security facility, and a 2:30 p.m. Mass in the chapel of the low-security camp.
My novice brother and I went to Lompoc for ministry on Friday, but we could not conduct our two faith sharing groups. We were not turned away from the low and medium facilities -- we did get our badges. But a Christmas gift bag distribution was in process, and all the men were being held for a general move until it was completed. Unfortunately, this did not conclude until after 2 p.m., so the officers told us we were out of luck. We waited for nothing.
We did not know about this event beforehand, though one of the chaplains who explained to us what was going on must have known. My brother and I felt pretty powerless. I felt insignificant and quite useless for the rest of the day.
Little moments of frustration like this can trigger within me irrational feelings of doubt and inadequacy. God's Spirit is within me, and I do feel called to share that Spirit to herald the kin(g)dom, transform lives, and bring about a new world. But many times I wonder, is anybody really waiting to receive me when I come to visit in God's name? Will my greeting be accepted? Will I even be allowed to enter?
I hate rejection, and this fear of rejection causes me often to hold back from going out to greet others. A justified fear, or a self-fulfilling prophecy? The fear reinforces itself. It also causes me to become like a house with no door, refusing others who come in God's name and seek my company. The one who is denied becomes the denier.
Sometimes, in moments of pessimism, I wonder if God, too, is standing back from me and saying, "No, I have not been waiting for you, not at all. Who do you think you are?"
These pitiful temptations I must resist.
Mary set out, in faith, in love, to visit Elizabeth, not knowing what reception she would get, not knowing if she would be affirmed, not knowing if she would survive the journey at all. Maybe no one is waiting for me today, tomorrow, or for a long time. In spite of this, in spite of doubt and resignation, will I set out again, set out today, set out every day, set out for the future, toward the kin(g)dom of heaven? Will I set out, trusting that even when no one else is waiting for me, God is there--God is here, both at my side and expecting me to arrive at her side?
Always a chance of rain nowadays, and always about to turn sharply cold. For now, it is cloudy but it feels bright, and it feels warm.