Tag Archives: Sister Joan Chittister

photo: cross polinate

“Indeed, those who see the spiritual life as a life of restrictions and demands, of only yes or no, of life bounded by limits and denial, fail entirely to understand that the spirituality of the liturgical year is a spirituality made out of the shards and triumphs of life. It is a spirituality for the living and the joyful, the insightful and the wise, as well as for the suffering and the sinful. It makes of us the spiritual poets who see the beauty of life.”

-Sister Joan Chittister

hummingbirdcross

hummingbird cross
© erin dunigan 2013

 

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photo: through the veil

“There is a natural inertia built into the human condition that seeks the comfortable, the familiar, the secure. We want to shape life to our specifications and fix it there. We want stability. When life becomes difficult, the temptation is to want to reach the summits we can see, to settle down there, to turn our worlds into stone. We fossilize our hearts. We say this is enough. We limit our vision to what we can grasp without strain. We spend life trying to settle down, satisfied with where we’ve come, in control of where we are. Ironically, it is stability – homeostasis, the failure to adjust, to grow, to change – that threatens to destroy the very system it sets out to save.

Only the capacity to go on living, to face all of life as it is, grows us.”

– Sister Joan Chittister

photo-6

through the veil
© erin dunigan 2013

photo: celtic vision

“The voice of Lent is the cry to become new again, to live on newly no matter what our life has been like until now and to live fully.”
-Sister Joan Chittister

crosses
celtic vision                                            dingle peninsula, ireland
© erin dunigan 2003

photo: holy place (no shorts)

“Clearly the voice of Lent is not a dour one. It is a call to remember who we are and where we have come from and why.”

– Sister Joan Chittister

holyplace

holy place                                                 Sea of Galilee, Israel
© erin dunigan 2006

Clearly also this photo is not going to win any awards for beauty – but I took it not for beauty’s sake, but because I was intrigued by its message – somehow a ‘holy place’ means no dogs, no cigarettes, no guns and no short clothing – but would chewing gum be okay? Would eating a cheeseburger be okay?

Of course I realize the need for ‘respect’ in life and in space – and especially in space that has been so incredibly significant to so many of the worlds people for so long.

But I think we also miss something when we assume that a ‘holy place’ is somehow set apart or cut off from the ‘non-holy places’ in life. The word holy does mean ‘set apart’ – so it is not hard to see how this idea came to be. But if the Spirit of God is at work in the world, breathing it into being, sustaining it, renewing it, then can’t any place be a holy place? Shouldn’t we always be prepared for, be mindful of, the holy place that is in our very midst?

The season of Lent offers us such a ‘holy place’ within time. Set apart. And present. Both.

A  time to remember who we are and where we have come from and why.

 

 

 

photo: devotion

2723554223_8c95948be8_odevotion                                                             Sea of Galilee, Israel
© erin dunigan 2005

“Ash Wednesday…is a continuing cry across the centuries that life is transient, that change is urgent. We don’t have enough time to waste time on nothingness. We need to repent our dillydallying on the road to God. We need to regret the time we’ve spent playing with dangerous distractions and empty diversions along the way. We need to repent of our senseless excesses and our excursions into sin, our breaches of justice, our failures of honesty, our estrangement from God, our savorings of excess, our absorbing self-gratifications, one infantile addiction, one creature craving another. We need to get back in touch with our souls.

Ash Wednesday confronts us with what we have become and prods us to do better. Indeed, Lent, we learn, is not about abnegation, about denying ourselves for the sake of denying ourselves. It is about much more than that. It is about opening our hearts one more time to the Word of God in the hope that, this time, hearing it anew, we might allow ourselves to become new as a result of it. It is about our rising to the full stature of human reflection and, as a result, accepting the challenge to become fully alive, fully human…”

-Sister Joan Chittister