Wednesday, April 27, 2011

2011.04.27 Becoming Mercy

I don’t remember what I wanted to be when I grew up. It wasn’t a princess. Maybe a horsewoman.

Maybe I just wanted to be the apple of my dad’s eye or at least not so much the apple of my mother’s eye.

Maybe I just wanted to be left alone to create—mischief, dramas, daring games with creepy plots, even liturgies—anything my imagination could stretch to.

I imagined God at just three. I was the apple of God’s eye, but I didn’t get the implications till I actually did grow up and into a religious vocation.

One thing I’m sure I didn’t want to be when I grew up was a nun or a priest. Now I am both—sort of.

I was drawn to the richness of the Roman Catholic Mass but found its misogynous politics stifling. Anglocatholic Episcopalians had the liturgy and hopeful politics so I became an Episcopal priest.

To satisfy my earlier Catholic leanings I became an Associate of the Religious Sisters of Mercy (RSM,) a Catholic order. BUT associates, according to their guidelines, are “ordinarily” Roman Catholic—“ordinarily” is a permissive word.

To be an Associate one makes a commitment to live a mercy way of life. Be compassionate and just. Not hard really, but hard as hell some days. A liaison Sister with whom you covenant helps. You keep each other honest to mercy.

I was attracted to the Mercies because their foundress Catherine Macauley, up for canonization btw, had a simple vision to help the poor. "Poor" is not restricted by an economic definition.

The Mercy vision and mission is to work and pray for connection: of the poor with resources, the ignorant with education/knowledge, and the sick with healing. The Holy Spirit Herself is the Great Connector and helps the process along.

This fit with my early Catholic leanings and it fits with my own ministry as priest, counselor, author and spiritual director.

Mercy satisfies my three guiding Muses: Spirituality, Religion and Feminism.

FEMINISM is happy because most of the “poor” are women. RELIGION is happy because many people are ignorant of the graces of sane and good religions and need good prayer guidance and teaching. SPIRITUALITY is happy because every soul is wounded to varying degrees of severity, and we all need healing.

To find out more about becoming an Associate of Mercy go to their website. Mercy Associates are “ordinarily” women.

Pray then click. www.sistersofmercy.org

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