Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The Dawn-Bringer

By Sr. Rejane Cytacki, SC Federation Perpetually Professed

      Click HERE to learn more about Rejane

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downy woodpecker in the tulip tree
I have come to love winter as it is the time the earth rests and renews itself, and I try to follow nature’s example. When we allow our minds, spirits, and bodies to slow down in the amount of activity we do, we open up time and space in our hearts to reflect on God.

In these winter months, I have been praying and reflecting with Joyce Rupp’s book, Open the Door. I was praying with Joyce’s meditation on pgs. 78-80 “Opening to Oneness” and the first line is “Opening the door to the inner self is reminiscent of a new day dawning”. As I began this day, I was greeted by my friendly little downy woodpecker who sits in the tulip tree outside my window welcoming the dawn. He is the only bird at this time of year in the tree and he chirps and chirps for his mate as he turns and looks every which way for her. As he calls for his mate, his chirping reminds me it is time for me to pray with my Beloved. Joyce uses a quote from James Finlay to express what God is saying and a typical response – (God) “Open the door and come in, so we can experience just how one we might become. (Instead I) stand outside the door reading one more book about how to open the door.”

How often do I do this! I say anxiously– I have one more thing to do, or let me read this book about prayer instead of actually opening the door. But once my heart’s door is opened there is interior space to sit and be with my Beloved. In the interior space of my heart, when I walk through the Divine door Jesus is waiting for me. I visualize him as surrounded by light emanating from his heart. If I can bring myself to grasp his hands I can feel the energy of his love flowing into my heart. I believe this is the oneness that Joyce writes about and this is my personal time with Jesus. I do not always succeed in oneness as exterior thoughts pull me out of my interior space. But just the commitment of time, space, practice and even failed attempts are valuable. These times teach me what being a religious woman is truly about: a personal relationship with the Divine. When I finally sit inside Jesus’ sacred heart, then I am able to explore my inner self with safety and security in the Dawning light of God’s love and find I have come home to my true self.

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