January 18, 2016 – From Sr. Toby Lardie
Although we have not seen quite as much snow or the cold that January usually brings in our part of the world, we definitely know it is the season of winter as we keep our doors and windows tightly closed to keep out the cold. Nature has a way of pulling back and deeper into herself with fewer hours of daylight, cloudy skies, hibernating animals, and the bare trees. Our world not only looks and feels different, but it also sounds much quieter. A silence settles in, the silence of nature at rest. In these days my mornings can be filled with checking weather reports, grumbling about putting on the extra layers of clothes to face the cold, and wondering what the roads will be like to drive. The silence that settles into nature also invites me to enter into a different space, the invitation to slow down inside, to breathe more deeply, to listen more. It’s an invitation for all of us to enter into that winter silence, to allow God’s spirit to breathe and whisper inside of us. We call ourselves to be Gospel women, contemplatives in action. What does this time of winter offer to teach us about the contemplation that is so necessary for effective action? Mark Clarke speaks about this in his article, “Envisioning the Future of Religious Life as a Pioneer Community.” ) Contemplative silence is important because in the personal and collective stillness people connect to their heart and deeper aspirations. This quiet allows the charism to be open in new ways and illuminates new possibilities for being on mission. In addition, in the silence the individuals and community can open their heart to the invitation of the spirit. This openness strips away the barriers that need to be taken down in order to create the space to risk the new. This path is both an individual and collective walk. Let us not miss even one day of the opportunity to allow winter to draw us deeply into the silence where God is speaking to us.