Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Approaching Iona Through the Mist and the Fog

Years ago our friend Lindy, blind since shortly after her birth, wanted to be a vowed religious, but because of her lack of physical sight the only religious orders open to her were cloistered. Active religious orders refused her because she is blind. All they saw was her lack of sight.

In the past 20 + years she has worked as a therapist, and run a shelter for the homeless, addicts, alcoholics and ex-convicts, in a Catholic Worker house she opened for this purpose. SHE began and ran this ministry. She would have made a wonderful Mistress of Novices for ANY active religious community--training young religious in HOW to serve!!! She did all this under private vows as a hermit.

It seems to me that by focusing on only one aspect of a person the Church is blind to other aspects. In her case the focus on her lack of sight made the Church truly blind to all the gifts she had to share with any religious community or order, and with the larger Christian community!

Tonight I was talking with my RC women friends who are seeking ordination in the RC Church. I told them about our friend and that I believe it is by focusing upon the gender distinctions, especially as a reason to eliminate women from consideration for service as a priest, the Church again is blind--this time to all that women priests bring to the Body of Christ!

Funny how life works isn't it? God calls us all, and sometimes we are so sure of what we think we hear only to discover with 20/20 hindsight (the pun shared with Lindy today) that we only heard snippets of what was being said.

Today Joe and I spent the afternoon with Lindy talking and planning, and trying to hear God's voice in our mutual ideas and dreams, and later in the day she and I spent time playing our instruments and singing together as our shared prayer. Blind and all the gifts she has to offer rejected by the Church she loves! Yet her positive energy was a joy. I found myself thinking about our journey to Iona of the Heart...and how at times we travel through the mist and the fog of the spiritual life, of our spiritual communities or families, and yet our Iona is there, always there, seen or unseen. As we travel with eyes unable to focus clearly on the path, or on the future, we still do not travel alone. We have our Travel Guide, and indeed Christ is our vision. Today I walked into my living room to hear Lindy playing "Be Thou My Vision" on her flute. I stood for a few seconds trying to regain composure... Lindy has better sight than most people I know because she totally depends upon Christ to lead her. What God does with our lives is awesome, if we allow it.


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