Friday, August 1, 2014

Unbalanced Steps Forward

Yesterday's feast of St. Ignatius was very good. Being with the community at a festive meal after liturgy was comforting. I realized that I've often worked on the more recent Founder's Day celebrations and had little time to pray on those days. This time around, prayer was very consoling and I felt connected to the inquiry and novitiate days. I loved that fervor.

I saw a former Jesuit for lunch and it was good to connect with him. We have been on Facebook for a couple of years so it was nice to meet him in person. I have even arranged to stay vegetarian for the past two weeks. It feels much more gentle on my digestive system. I hope I begin to lose weight soon.

On Tuesday, I went to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and I enjoyed it so much that I walked nearly 19,000 steps there. I was exhausted by the end of the day, but I could not bring myself to leave. I hadn't visited there since the new wing was added in 2010. This was a great.

Funny how there is a section for Islamic art, but not necessarily for Arab, Middle Eastern, or other types of art. Everything is conflated.

The Magna Carta was on exhibit. It is one of four surviving documents from 1215 when the nobles forced King John to sign it at Runnymede near Windsor. The document provided for protection of the nobles and allowed power-sharing to break the absolute monarchy. It has formed the basis on U.S. Constitutional Law. It was remarkable just to gaze upon this powerful document.

It helped me to realize that it has taken almost 900 years for us to get where we are in the U.S. legal system. As a nation, we must be lenient with other countries who are trying to develop a more democratic system of power sharing with checks and balances. Such changes do not occur overnight.

Speaking of changes, I like what yoga is teaching me about my body, especially my arthritic hip. I keep stretching it every day so it gets used to the pressure I put on it, but it makes me realize something about my prayer that just won't go away.

Especially leading up to Easter, my prayer goes to a recurring image of the first steps of Jesus after his resurrection. Typically, a Christian will focus upon the pain and suffering of Jesus during his Passion and Death, but my prayer focuses upon the pain and discomfort as he hobbles to keep balance once he has been raised. I align my slight discomfort with his great pain as I realize he had to learn to walk again - to new places, just as I'm being asked to do. I feel comforted to do this together.

One of the questions I have about myself arose from a conversation with that former Jesuit with whom I had lunch yesterday. He kept asking if I was selling my paintings and I said, "no." He insists I need to do it. I realize I think of myself as a Jesuit who likes to paint, rather than seeing myself as an artist. I'm walking into a new world and I'm sure those steps will stretch me a bit. I realize I just need to go onward and upwards as the resurrected Christ did. He may have had self-doubts in his earthly ministry, but I just need to step forward with these new questions.

Into a future yet unknown....


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