I had several meetings over the weekend and it was good to engage with sisters who are living religious life and who know that religious life is changing and that we are changing with it. Together we explored the contours of the changes that we are living and the challenges facing us. At its core, our life is open to God in a very profound way. We are made by God for love and we surrender to the loving creative work of God. This is the task of a life time and it is what makes us who we are.
St. Paul encourages the Philippians: whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. These are the things that expand and lift our spirits. For me, it is often in the garden or in nature that I find soul-expanding joy and am absorbed in our loving - creative God.
Once touched in the nameless, but undeniable way, our hearts are re-created, empowered and emboldened to seek the ways of God in our daily lives. We reach out in compassion to the weak and the poor, we work for justice and raise our voices with and for others.
This is the core of religious life, a school of mystics and prophets. And as we face changes in our life together, it is important to remember that this core will never change.
I wrote a book some years ago entitled Religious Life at the Crossroads - that title focuses on the changes and challenges we face as we move forward. The subtitle is a School for Mystics and Prophets. That focuses on that unchanging core of religious life, that is also the core of Christian life and is in fact the fundamental human vocation.