Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Nuns on the Bus, Nuns on the Radio

It is rare that I feel God speaking to me multiple times during an hour.  To be honest, I don't feel like I have that kind of relationship with God. 

At Synod Assembly a few years ago, a spiritual director asked a group of us to describe our relationship with God.  She gave us a few minutes to write.  I wrote that I feel like God is a friend who keeps inviting me to lunch, and I'm either too busy to say yes or I have to cancel.  With my voice cracking (I volunteered to read my response), I said, "I'm afraid God will quit inviting me to lunch."

Of course, the Good News of the Bible is that God does not stop inviting us to lunch.

Anyway, back to my larger point.  On Sunday morning, I was listening to the NPR show, On Being, as I so often do.  Krista Tippett interviewed Simone Campbell, a fairly famous nun.  The interview happened in an auditorium with an audience who got to ask questions. 

Someone asked her about the future of women in the Catholic church, and she acknowledged that change would not come quickly.  But then she talked about the blessings of NOT being ordained:  "But here's the thing: my role is to be priestly in places where the Gospel wouldn't go otherwise. And if I were ordained as clerical, that all gets circumscribed by church and needs of parishes and administration and all that. Where, the freedom of what I have now is, like, huge. And it's responding — I have a chance to respond to people's hungers — I mean, I hear many confessions. I comfort many people. I have a chance to speak of the Gospel in places that would never happen otherwise. I mean, really, the Democratic National Convention. I mean, that was pretty amazing. So how could I not rejoice in this opportunity?"

She talks about the gifts that God gives us, even before we know we need those gifts.  She talks about the gifts that women religious have to give:  "And when you look at what our nation needs, it doesn’t need more schools or hospitals or all that stuff. What it needs are community, spirituality, someone to listen, and dealing with death and dying. So I think the gifts that we're being given as Women Religious just need to be shared in a whole different way. And it’s that puzzle about where are we being called, where is the next breakthrough moment, what's the next surprise, is being willing to use our gifts for others."

Earlier in the program, she talked about liberation theology and its meaning for first world people.  She talks about the first world sin of needing security--but we know, we must know, that we will never have enough.

About the idea that we can achieve security, she said, "It's an illusion. It's an illusion. And rather, we would be better off if we made peace with insecurity. We’re all vulnerable. It’s all illusion."

Making peace with insecurity--that, too, felt like God saying, "Are you listening?  Tune in.  Would that you had ears to hear."

When asked to name her favorite mystic, Sister Simone said, "Oh, how could it not be Hildegard?"  After the wonderful laugh, she explained, "I mean, she got excommunicated three times and then gets made a saint and the doctor of the church. I mean, really. I mean, really. I mean — and then I wonder did they really read her writings? Well, she wrote all about the feminine of God. It was fabulous."

You can hear the interview or read the transcript here.  It's worth your time.

No comments: