Have you heard of the 19th Annotation, the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola? One spends nine months praying intensely under the guidance of an experienced Ignatian pray-er. The experience is offered locally through the Mercy Prayer Center. If this disciplined way of growing closer to God tugs at your heart, give them a call.
I’ve just finished the 19th, myself. I am not the best advertisement for the Ignatian Exercises, though, When I applied a year ago, I knew it would be a challenge, committing to an hour of prayer a day --- and that was before my hours at work changed, and our adventure with La Migra happened in September, and then, lo and behold, the life change of becoming and having a significant other. If the 19th were a class, I’d be getting a D.
Every time I say that, though, someone at the Prayer Center says, “You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be.” That has been very freeing, and as the 19th finished up, with me about three months behind, I decided to start looking at the experience of failure. For many years I’ve been achieving things, climbing hurdles. An A student. It’s been pretty fun, organizing, making things happen.
Now, however, things are different. Over and over again in our little migrant church, I make a plan – a good plan! And over and over again, my plans don’t work. The unforeseen factor in the equation is the unpredictable nature of their lives. Plans change suddenly. Work schedules, living arrangements. This is why they travel light.
Our little church needs to travel light, too. It’s not about a worship schedule, a religious ed program, even a building (at this time. I’m still hoping). It’s just about being there, building community, loving – in the moment and consistently – taking opportunities. Guerilla community, low to the ground. It takes a different skill set than the one that got me through divinity school.
So that’s the gift of the 19th for me: awareness that it’s time to change, time to put up the oars and quit trying to steer the boat. This little boat is anchored in God’s love and mercy, and that really is enough. Both the English church and the Spanish church – may they be whatever God is dreaming.
While we’re on the topic of failure, I’ll tell you that I am finally writing thank you notes for the donations that came in at Christmas!! We were given $1,274.81in generous donations for the migrant church at that time, plus some things like paint, ESL materials and a gas card. I apologize for being so late in those thank you’s. We tithed on that money, buying $130 worth of Spanish Bibles for patients at Strong Hospital.
Come and join us for Mass on Pentecost! If you bring a dish to pass, we can sit and have breakfast together, afterwards. And Happy Birthday to our big sister community, Spiritus Christi. Isn’t God amazing? What a wonderful journey we are on.
Love and light to all
Come and join Karen Keenan and Tom Moore down by the riverside on Monday, May 28 at 9 am, for a Memorial in Time of War: Remembrance and Hope. This annual service at the Sister Cities Bridge in remembrance of the victims of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars is always a peaceful, gentle, centering time and an affirmation of life and the unity of all.
Oscar Romero Church
An Inclusive Community of Liberation, Justice and Joy
Worshiping in the Catholic Tradition
Mass: Sundays, 11
St Joseph's House of Hospitality, 402 South Ave, Rochester NY 14620