Today is the feast of Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat, RSCJ. Religious of the Sacred Heart, former RSCJ, students and former students of Sacred Heart, Associates, and colleagues around the world, are celebrating her vision, her gift, her life, in varieties of ways. Sometimes that celebration includes wishes in voice or emails sent to one another in friendship and faithful bond. And sometime in the course of the day, there might be a sharing of favorite maxims, or sayings.
Several quotations crossed my mind and heart this morning as I sipped my mug of caffeinated glory, and gave thanks to be back in my room here in California. I returned yesterday afternoon from a quick and challenging trip to see a family member. It was a journey done in love, a journey whose fruit is sadness and uncertainty on many levels and the sure knowledge of bringing joy, how ever fleeting, to someone on another.
This mix got me thinking about walking with it as a part of who I am and praying that the reality of the situation may shape me, may soften serrations of personality, may serve to enrich any sense of compassion and understanding that I bring to other people and circumstances…whether that sense converts into word or action or simple presence.
I do believe that experience shapes a person’s presence, their feel, their being. May walking with this serve to nuance mine, to flavor it with depth and breadth and a pinch of wisdom. May it flavor with equal parts of a far more complex and far more elemental understanding of what it means to love someone.
It occurred to me too that I usually think of more elemental or foundational things as being simpler, more basic, but I wonder if that is true. Or, it could well be that the other side of that idea is that the more simple a thing, the more true or basic or elemental a thing, the more Mystery is involved as well.
Organic mystery. Integrated mystery. Naturally occurring Mystery.
Yes, I find that a pleasing thing to consider…that Mystery itself is part of the truth, part of the elemental order of things.
The maxims I recorded today are two…and I like them together.
“To live without suffering is to live without love. To live without love is to die.”
“Be humble. Be simple. Bring joy to others.”
What is the alternative but to love in full freedom? Live in that love…that includes the marvel and the mess and the mystery entire.