The scripture readings from Sunday, March 16th recount the story of Abram and Jesus. We observe Abram as he listened to the voice of God guiding him to leave his homeland to enter into the unknown and, “Abram went as the Lord directed him” (Genesis 12). Then as Jesus is transfigured in the presence of Peter, James, and John, and we hear with them, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him’ (Matthew 17).
We recount the stories of those who listened to God.
We are reminded that we are called to listen to God.
This week the Sisters of the Holy Redeemer began the year long celebration of the first 12 Sisters who arrived in America from Germany 90 years ago on March 19th, the Feast of St. Joseph. We listened to the story of these 12 who listened to God and went forth from their homeland into the unknown. We imagine that the love of God is what impelled them; their sense of being beloved daughters of God and Sisters of the Redeemer.
In response to their lives of faith in the midst of a stormy 13 day voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to arrive at Ellis Island in 1924, the Sisters gathered to celebrate them and continue sharing the story.
Tuesday – A Mass of Celebration was held at one of the Sisters’ ministries named after St. Joseph. Sisters, Staff and Residents joined together.
Tuesday evening – Evening prayer and a delicious meal prepared by two friends of the Sisters brought the day to a memorable close and continued to fan into flame into flame the excitement as the Sisters enter into this anniversary year.
Wednesday, The Feast of St. Joseph – The Sisters entered into a day of prayer led by the Congregation’s General Superior who listened to the Spirit and traveled from Germany to be here for these special days. We were invited to reflect on the “word” that first called us to get into the “boat” to follow Jesus.
Symbols for the prayer day included water of the ocean and waters of life and baptism, a boat for that ship that carried those first 12 Sisters and the boat of our each of our lives called to be empty to receive Jesus in the midst of calm and storm, and a red rose for life, love and pain. The day included quiet prayer and Adoration as well as faith sharing so we could listen to God in a more intentional way.
Wednesday Evening – the Eucharistic Liturgy for the Feast of St. Joseph was the culmination of all the preceding preparations, celebrations, and prayer. Here Sisters were joined by co-workers, family, friends, supporters as all celebrated the Redeemer whose great love called those first 12 Sisters and calls each of us to listen and respond with our lives now.
As you enter into this new week perhaps you will take some moments to listen to God’s love for you; to listen to what God has been sharing with you throughout your life; to listen to what God is calling you to in this present moment.