Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Risky business

By Sr. Laura Coughlin

A few years ago I went to Europe as a chaperone on a high school trip.  We had an engaging guide who was born in Quebec, lived in Belgium, and spent his time traveling all over the world.  Occasionally the adults would get together for a meal and a beer, and a little breathing space from the task of shepherding a really good group of students.  On one of these evenings the guide asked me, “Why did you become a sister?”

There are moments when we are asked this, and other deep questions, and the answers truly come from within – the place where the Holy Spirit prays with inexpressible groanings.  I recall that somehow it came out of my mouth that I was just an average person.  There was a time in my life when I would have struggled against admitting such a thing.  My resume is decent enough, and in spite of my math score on the GRE, my life appears to have been lived in a pretty alert state of mind over the years.  But as I’ve gotten older it has become clear to me that the American dream of being spectacular has kind of faded.  Such knowledge roughly corresponded with the realization that I was no longer a “young adult” and would never be a super-model, the President of the United States, or Aung San Suu Kyi.

Still, I admit that for several years after beginning my career as a sister-teacher in high school, I would have those moments of despair in which I found myself crying out, “I knew I should’ve been a super-model!”

Too late for that now…and there was never any genuine content in the comment anyway – just healthy stress relief.  And the students laughed (how dare they)!  If I couldn’t be tall and beautiful, at least I could be funny!  There must have been a lesson in that for them.

I don’t know when it happened, but at some point I realized, I’m just never gonna be “all that."

And then I said to the tour guide… 

“You know it’s the community that makes me great.”  The community takes my gifts and asks how they can be used to serve the person of Christ, and somehow this service is rendered to the glory of God and redounds back to us as an awesome gift.

I wish I could find just the right words to answer that question young people have – “how did you know ?”  Right off the top of my head – which is not exactly the space of the Holy Spirit, but is a form of groaning – I’d say, “I didn’t.” 

But I’ve had some time, and some great teachers and materials here at Boston College to think about that question.  The word “risk” comes up a lot now that the Church is breathing the air of Pope Francis (don’t laugh – I know he only has one lung, but it seems like he breathes deeply with what he has).  Last week as I walked from the library to class I was pondering something I’d been reading and thought with some sadness, “when have I ever taken a risk?  a real risk?  WHEN?  WHEN?”  And then the argument in my head continued with, “well I entered religious life, and that was a risk, wasn’t it? It felt like it was at the time, didn’t it?”  And then it occurred to me that this kind of existential anguish is exactly what God has in mind when we take a risk in Him.  I’m not supposed to feel proud that I took a risk.  What I’m supposed to feel is awe-inspired that something so hard at the time has so greatly enriched my life, and hopefully, God willing, the lives of others.  God wants us to be grateful.  When the Holy Spirit teaches us in an interior way that we never really “merit” the grace we’ve received, that it’s all free gift, then we can say that those risks were all His – but gosh, weren’t they awfully exciting, and scary, and wonderful, and fresh?  And didn’t they seem to require such vigor from us? 

And can’t we keep right on taking them now that we know ? 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

What's not to love?

Future of Charity gathering
in South Carolina
March 2015
On this World Day of Prayer for Vocations, our blog contributors have taken a moment to celebrate our God-given vocation to religious life in the 
charism of Charity.  
God’s call, with all of its mystery and ups and downs, is truly the path to great joy for each of us!
Check out what we love about being newer, younger sisters:

One thing I love about my vocation is...

1. I am a part of something bigger than myself as we collectively yet uniquely witness hope to our hurting world. (Sr. Marie Flowers)

2. that it enables me to answer a call to continue Christ's mission in the world; to be a co-creator of the kingdom that is both partially here and yet still to come. It fills me with hope and faith and makes me want to share it with the world! (Sr. Andrea Koverman)

3. that, by serving  the Poor  everyday, I enjoy the immediacy of the Presence of our Lord all day. Can it get any better? 
(Sr. Mary Ellen Lacy)

4. that I have a whole community behind me, and not just those I live with, but those who have gone before me as well.  Pooling all those prayers, gifts, resources, and individualities for me truly is living the Body of Christ. (Sr. Laurie Parker)

5. that I am surrounded by a community of women who inspire me daily and who do so much to improve the lives of others. (Sr. Paris Slapikas)

6. the freedom to love Christ with my whole heart; to claim him publicly as the explicit goal of my life, and a superlative goal for all others as well.  (Sr. Laura Coughlin)

7. being part of something so much bigger than myself; including both my congregation and God's mission.  It’s a joy to unite my "yes" with so many other women and a gift to have the freedom to meet the unmet needs of our world. (Sr. Annie Klapheke)

8. that it frees me to be who I am. 
(Sr. Cecilia Harriendorf)

9. the call to prayer, service & having others around to help you through the day. God knows what I need & is able to provide it. God is my GPS system & directs my every step. I am given direction for every day. (Judy Donohue)

10. that it has opened me to wide, deep, and surprising experiences of God’s love through many lands and people.  It’s all about love! (Sr. Tracy Kemme)

11. that I can be myself and that I get to travel the road less traveled. (Sr. Carlette Gentle)

Friday, April 24, 2015

Words of Encouragement: "I will be praying for you and your vocation"

By Kara Davis

Throughout my time as a casual discerner, and now as a pre-postulant with the Daughters of Charity, many friends, family members, and Sisters constantly reassure me that I’m in their prayers, or tell me “I’ve been praying for you.” The fact that others bring me and my intentions into their conversations with God is a reminder that I belong to something much greater than myself, and it offers a source of strength when I find myself wondering if I really have what it takes to enter into this life of heartfelt service and self-giving love.  You never know the impact these words of encouragement might have on an individual discerning his or her vocation.

When I was a senior in college, I was in communication with a Daughters of Charity Vocation Director, and she would often visit me when she passed through my little college town during her travels.  One visit, she was accompanied by Sr. Lucille Marie, a 92 year-old Sister missioned to the Ministry of Prayer.  I remember enthusiastically walking the Sisters around campus, introducing them to my friends, and concluding with Mass at our Newman Catholic Center.  At their departure, Sr. Lucille Marie gave me a soft hug, held my hands, and then looked into my eyes and said, “I will be praying for you and your vocation.”  I barely knew this woman, but something within me trusted her words completely, and I knew that if this Sister was praying for me, I was in good hands.

Years passed and I continued my discernment as a graduate student and Resident Catholic Worker living at the St. Hedwig Haus of Hospitality.  During that time, I  questioned my vocation and longed for God to just speak to my heart and tell me what to do with my life.  I toiled with whether I was supposed to be in graduate school for speech-language pathology.  I wondered if I really had what it took to serve Christ in the Poor because there were days when I struggled to recognize His presence around the Haus.  And then there were some days I wanted to quit everything I was doing and just travel the world.  However, when my restless soul was reminded of Sr. Lucille Marie’s words, “I will be praying for you and your vocation,” I felt a glimmer of peace within me, and found the strength to continue asking God the difficult questions and walking forward along this journey of discernment.

Now as a pre-postulant with the community, Sr. Lucille Marie continues to pray for me and passes along gems of wisdom in her letters she sends with love.  With a heart filled with gratitude, I give thanks for all of the people in my life who continue to pray for me and my vocation.  I know that I could never had made it this far carried by my prayers alone.  Just being aware that there were people out there praying for me, provided the encouragement I needed to confidently move forward in my discernment.

As we prepare for the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Pope Francis reminds us, “The Christian vocation is first and foremost a call to love, a love which attracts us and draws us out of ourselves, decentering us and triggering an ongoing exodus out of the closed inward-looking self, towards its liberation through self-giving, and thus towards authentic self-discovery and indeed discovery of God.”

Discernment does not occur within a vacuum, but rather, is guided by our conversation with God and strengthened by the prayers of others.  I know that I constantly pray about my own vocation and my own needs, but Christ draws us out of ourselves and towards this self-giving love.  From this love, we are called to be the ones telling others, “I will pray for you and your vocation.”  Who knows, those words could be the encouragement another needs to keep asking God the tough questions, and respond with openness when He answers.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Easter and Earth Day

By Sr. Andrea Koverman

Happy Earth Day, Everyone, and Happy Easter as well! These two celebrations are occasions to reflect on the way God is alive and present in my life and they have been deeply intertwined for me this year.

I am nearing the end of my Apostolic Novitiate year with mixed emotions, and will (God willing) be making a first profession of vows in just eight short weeks. Appreciative of the gift and sacredness of the Novitiate, I am both a little sorry to see it end, and eager to move forward as a publicly vowed member of my community. Easter has providentially afforded me an opportunity to reflect on some parallels of the formation process and the paschal cycle of living, dying, and experiencing new life.

Part of what attracted me to consider religious life was the intensity of it. Far from the appearance it sometimes has to outside spectators, it does not provide a safe removal and protection from the harsh realities of the world. Rather, I find that religious life is solidly rooted in the challenge of being acutely tuned in to anything and everything that is inconsistent with Jesus’s exhortation to love our self and to love one another. There is a consistent outward focus of attention on both the large and the small injustices that we experience or learn about, and a discernment of how God might be calling us to respond communally or personally. 

My formation experience has also taught me that religious life includes a persistent beckoning to be inwardly attentive to what is going on within myself. It is part of my daily practice to reflect on what keeps me from experiencing the love and peace God promises, and how I participate intentionally or not, in disrupting that flow of love to those with whom I live or encounter. Am I growing into the person I was created to be? Do I love my imperfect self as I am called to, and do I love all others in their varying states of imperfection as well? When I become aware of my shadows and shortcomings, I am called to participate in the paschal cycle. Instead of denying, becoming defensive or self-protective, I am called to die to that false self and allow my true self to come to life. Live, die, resurrect, and repeat!

I have found no better way to experience the Easter message than to submerge myself in creation. My plans for the day unexpectedly fell through, and I spent a delicious Easter Day feasting on the joy of the Resurrection during an eight-mile solitary hike through my favorite reserve. God makes it gloriously obvious that new life comes from death as brilliant green leaves and blossoms literally burst forth from the stark bare branches of winter, and delicate wildflowers proliferate the very ground that was empty and frozen but a short time ago.  And how fitting it is that Earth Day should fall during the Easter Season!

Rightly so, the occasion is often focused on raising awareness and educating people about the human misuse and destruction of natural resources causing resulting the perilous climate change we are now facing. There is no argument that this is critical work to be done, but I would also like to honor the day by reflecting on our personal and spiritual connection with creation. Nature is sacred because God is manifested there as surely as in people, and sometimes with much more ease.

As soon as my mother thought I was old enough to be out of her sight, I spent my days exploring deep in the woods surrounding our home. I found countless things there, but most profoundly, I found God. I sensed that it was God who lovingly held me as I swayed in the nimble branches at the top of a majestic tree.  I was struck with awe and respectful appreciation as I studied the intricate design of each of the insects and butterflies, birds, tadpoles and frogs, snakes, turtles, fish and crawdads I discovered in the fields and creeks. I recognized the abundance I was blessed with as I savored the blackberries I found or vegetables picked from the garden. I was often consoled and felt my troubles melt away as the sunshine brought out the freckles on my nose and the breeze tickled a smile back to my lips. I fell in love with the mystery of it all, and wondered about my place in it as I stretched out on the rooftop staring up into the infinity of the starry heavens.

I continue to be content and happy when I reflect upon being a creature among my fellow creatures. I marvel at the love and capacity of our Creator so extravagantly expressed in a design of diversity and cooperation, which provides everything we need to nourish body, mind and spirit. Like Maria Von Trapp going to her hills, I know my heart will be blessed and my soul will sing when I am in nature because I know I will find God there. So on this Earth Day, I will take some time today to examine my practices and look for additional ways to live more gently, not just because so much is being threatened, but because it is an expression of my love for God. Just as whatever we do for one another, we do for God, I believe whatever we do to the environment, we also do to God.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Growing deeper with Jesus

By Judy Donohue

I pray you are being blessed this Easter Season with new graces to go deeper with God. We are here in the Future of Charity community and friends to support each other in developing our relationship with God and one another. Our relationship with God is mirrored in our relationships with others.  As we spend time with friends and share our thoughts and feelings we get to know each other. As we spend time with God, sharing struggles, prayer requests, and more, we get to know God.  The more time together, the more sharing, the more intimacy.  The less time and sharing, the less intimacy. 

As a candidate with the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, I am contemplating:  What does it mean to love God first? With one's whole being, with all one's heart, mind, body, and soul (Matt 22:37)?  To have God as your partner? To have Jesus as your first love?

In Revelation 2:4, the writer muses, “You have lost the love you had at first."  In today's world, it is easy to get distracted from our heart’s true desires. Just as trouble might brew in a family when a parent gets too busy and loses touch with a spouse or children, communication can break down in our relationship with God.  But God understands.

God gives us the grace to give up all for God's will and reign.  This grace is at the heart of all of our motivations. Knowing that makes us able to do our ministries.  God calls us, and God guides us in living out our call.  Is this not what religious life is all about? Is this not true in the life of every baptized person? 

As we go about spring cleaning in our houses, we declutter to make space.  We can do this in our spiritual lives, too.  It is a lifetime practice to turn from distractions and return to God who is the true center of one's being. Each Lent we are given the opportunity to let God gain more of first place again.  Easter is a great time to rejoice in that gift.

I have always felt a great desire and need to know, love and serve God deeply.  Yet other things creep in: Free cell, Facebook, the news, ministry obligations, family crises, and more. I meet with my spiritual director hopefully once a month and am asked "how is your relationship with God?"  I can respond, “Good.”  Yet I feel the urge to go deeper.

When I am obsessed with the grocery lists of life, I try to remember who gave me life and who is really I charge.  I try to say no to filling the God shaped hole in my heart with excessive activities or false comforts. Prayer time is important.  As I lessen my time spent with God, I soon find judgment, a lack of compassion and even hate creeping into my heart. When I return to seek God, I am granted the grace of understanding, love, acceptance.  As it says in Matthew 6:33, seek first the reign of God and all else falls into place.

May this Easter season fill us with the joy of knowing and turning to God’s constant, loving presence with each of us.  As we grow in love with God, may we grow in love with our brothers and sisters.

As St. Teresa of Avila says, "The true lover loves everywhere and is always thinking of the Beloved."

God bless us as we trudge the road of happy destiny.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Catch 22

By Sr. Tracy Kemme

“Each [person]’s life touches so many others,” says Clarence the angel to George Bailey in It’s A Wonderful Life.  If we didn’t know that already, Lauren Hill has taught us.

On November 2nd, my community members and I watched from the Cintas Center stands as Lauren made her first college basket for the Mount Saint Joseph University (MSJU) Lions.  On Monday night, we gathered again at the Cintas Center in Lauren’s name. This time, it was to say good-bye to the remarkable young woman who died from cancer on April 10th.

Walking into Monday’s memorial service, each of us received a bookmark with a beautiful photo of “Lauren Elizabeth Hill.”  We Sisters of Charity smiled as we read Lauren’s middle name for the first time.  Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton is the foundress of our congregation, as well as some others in the Charity Federation.  Lauren heard about St. Elizabeth when she became a student at MSJU, a school founded and sponsored by the Sisters of Charity.  Intrigued, Lauren made a point to learn more.

And then, perhaps without knowing it, she shared the Charity charism with the world.  Does she not embody Elizabeth’s radical love and determination in the face of adversity?   How providential that Lauren bears the name of such a strong, faithful woman!  As I read the list of “Lauren’s Life Lessons” on the back of the bookmark, phrases of St. Elizabeth kept coming to mind.

“Keep kindly to the grace of the moment,” Elizabeth tells us.  Lauren says, “Find the light in each moment,” and, “Live in the moment.”  She showed us how to do this, present and joyful at each step of her journey.

Elizabeth encouraged her sisters, “The first end I propose in our daily work is to do the will of God; secondly, to do it in the manner he wills it; and thirdly to do it because it is his will.”  Lauren says, “Trust in God and that we’re all here for a greater cause.”  She, like Elizabeth, remained courageously open to God’s call and lived her mission generously.

And lastly, the Seton family motto, which we used as the theme of our recent Chapter, is, “Hazard yet forward!”  Sounds a little like Lauren’s signature phrase, doesn’t it?  “Never give up.”

I would venture a guess that Elizabeth was by her side as she gracefully walked a tough road.

The phrase “catch 22” comes to mind as I consider Lauren’s beloved basketball number and unique, paradoxical situation.  One way to get closer to finding a cure for DIPG was for her to endure the disease and eventually die from it.  Some people would have collapsed into despair or anger.  Lauren transformed her own bad news into good news for others.  We might call this the Paschal Mystery.  Facing death, she embraced life!  In her suffering, she brought healing to others.  From her surrender, goodness has sprung forth.  Out of darkness has come radiant light.

It seems no coincidence that Lauren entered eternal life during the Easter Season.  She carried hope in her DNA and preached Resurrection to the world better than any sermon could.

I only met her once, giving her hug after a prayer service in the MSJU chapel.  But I, like so many, am mystified and challenged by the power of her short life.  She is not a faraway, untouchable saint that allows us to sit back and admire.  No, she is an average young woman from Lawrenceburg, Indiana, just thirty miles from where I write this blog.  Her life urges us to be something more.  If she had the choice, she probably wouldn’t have asked for DIPG.  But she did choose to look at the life she’d been given with gratitude.  She chose to live that life with passion.  She asked God the courageous question, “What can I do with the time I’ve been given?”

Now, I pray that we can all “catch 22” – that we can grasp her brilliant spirit and put it into practice in our own lives!  The world could use a little more Lauren Hill.

In Lauren Hill’s honor, I invite you to listen to this song.  Then, live it!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

New Orleans: Ten years after Hurricane Katrina

By Sr. Rejane Cytacki

After surviving our fifteen hour van ride from Leavenworth, Kansas, ten of us from the University of Saint Mary arrived at the House of Charity in New Orleans.  Four religious sisters from different Sisters of Charity congregations welcomed us to share life with them for a week. This house’s mission is to be a place for service groups like ours to not only stay but experience the Sisters of Charity shared Vincentian spirituality. The house quickly became home for us because of the sisters’ warm hospitality. 

A typical day would include eating breakfast, packing a sack lunch, morning prayer, a morning outing or tour, working at our Saint Bernard Project House, and coming home for a hot shower, a delicious meal, and an evening reflection about our day. Taking a tour of the 9th ward and the Katrina Museum, it really hit home that even 10 years after Katrina there are still so many displaced families.  During our Saint Bernard Project (SBP) orientation, we learned there are still over 6,000 families still wanting to return!  Through SBP, we spent five days installing insulation and dry wall in a woman’s family home. This was hard work but we certainly felt a sense of accomplishment seeing the walls of her rooms taking shape and knowing we helped her get one week closer to coming back home.

We also spent time with Sister Julie Marsh and Sister Mary Lou Specha who are creatively starting a new ministry called “Hotel Hope”. In light of a huge percentage of homeless women and their children, Hotel Hope will provide housing and support services.

Besides service work, we explored the French Quarter and partook of the city’s famous cuisine and culture.  It quickly became apparent that the people of New Orleans are vibrant, resilient, and radiate a warmth to all New Orleans visitors.  These are people who have known what it is like to live through a Good Friday experience and still have Easter hope and joy as the rebuilding continues.  

Monday, April 6, 2015

Baby Jesus

By Sr. Mary Ellen Lacy

I work as an attorney for a free Legal Services Clinic in East St Louis, Illinois.  East St. Louis is a third world country in our first world nation.  East St. Louis personifies the injustice of an ever widening wealth gap that renders an entire group of people disposable.  People suffer from food insufficiency; the School Board is under a form of conservatorship due to financial discrepancies and poor performance; and evictions and illegal lock outs are imposed at the whims of unscrupulous slum lords.  Options are few.  For most young people here, the opportunity for work lies somewhere between the multiple strip joints and the wholesale drug dealing at the corner gas stations.  It is a truly forsaken place.  I look around and I wonder, if the rest of the nation knew about us, would they still sleep at night?  
Sometimes, when the disparity and injustice seems overwhelming, I have asked Jesus what difference I might make to His beloved Poor in these horrific circumstances.     I was experiencing one of those moments when Stacey and little CJ resurfaced in my life.  Stacey is a single mother of 3 and she would give her eye teeth to be as Poor as a church mouse.  I have represented her before.  She explained to me that she had been unable to pay her rent for the past  6 months and she was getting evicted.  Upon hearing the details of her case, I knew she had a technical defense but it would only buy her a little time.  She was going to be evicted and she needed an exit strategy.  Loss of shelter in the Illinois winter can be a death knell to the family unit.  Single mothers, and that is all I know, will lose their children to DCFS if they become homeless.  Since it was 20 degrees outside, shelters had been full.  With God’s grace, we found a shelter in the next town over that would accept her if she would come within 48 hours.  She had no car so I offered to drive her and her 6 year old son CJ.  The 16 year old would come after school and her 18 year old had moved out with her SSI check when the eviction notice came.   
Stacey, myself and CJ arrived at the Shelter just after lunch.  They would not process Stacey until she obtained verification of a clean criminal background check from the local Police Dept.  So we drove to the Police Department.  CJ and I stayed in the car while Stephanie went inside.  CJ has dark brown bangs and shoulder length hair that he refuses to allow his mom to cut.   He wears round wire rimmed glasses and has chapped lips because he incessantly licks his lips and the area around his mouth. Except for the licking thing, he is adorable.  CJ and I began to chat while we waited. As we talked, we heard a siren.  He asked me, “Is that the cops?”  He could not see beyond the booster seat side padding.   I smiled at his use of the word ‘cops’ and responded that it had been a fire truck.  He said, “Oh, I have a toy fire truck.  I used to have 2.”  I inquired, “Oh?  What happened to the other one?”  He looked at me, kinda rotated his chin sideways, as if he were thinking about the best way to explain the situation to this possibly uniformed nun. He started slowly,  “Do you know about black kids and white kids ?”  I denied knowing about them.   “Well…..okay…”  he sucked in some air and continued to explain, “If there is a poor kid…umm…I mean , if you have 2 of something and the other kid doesn’t have any, …and he wants one, you have to give him one of yours. “ He paused for a moment and then added, “Even if you don’t wanna, you just do it.  …..I didn’t want to give my truck away but it’s what you do.”  Lent had started a week ago but I was living Christmas.  I looked in my back seat and saw Baby Jesus in a booster seat, holding a Darth Vader action figure. He had stopped speaking but his face and shoulder shrug said “Do you get it?”
In my head, I heard, ”Mary Ellen I am your Father”  Then, “No one is too Poor to give to another.”  (JP2)  
Not even me.   

Dear Lord,
If I have two minutes, may I give one to someone in need.
If I have two dollars, may I give one to someone without.  
Since I have two lives, the “here” and the “hereafter”; let me give this one to You.
Even when if I don’t want to give, it’s just what I am called to do.
I get it.

Saturday, April 4, 2015


By Sr. Roberta Treppa, D.C.

 “Do you not realize that I have the power to release you
and I have the power to crucify you?”

By the time Pilate said this, he had already given in three times to the crowd who kept handing Jesus over to him. 

Three times, the people pushed Pilate to crucify Jesus. 
Three times, Pilate went back to speak with Jesus. 
Three times, Pilate returned to the crowd to say
he found no guilt in Jesus. 

But each time, Pilate gave in to the crowd. 
He yielded to the power of the crowd,
and used his power to crucify Jesus. 

Jesus' power was love.  How do we use our power?

“Do you not realize that I have the power to release you
and I have the power to crucify you?”

Jesus said to him, “You would have no power over me
 if it had not been given to you from above.”

We have power like Pilate.
We each have the power to release,
and the power to crucify.

We can release, through forgiveness, love, comfort...
Or we can crucify, through hate, abuse, neglect...

All this power is given to us from above…it’s called “free will”.

Jesus died to release us from the bonds of sin
And all too often, we use our power poorly…
And Jesus, the one we crucified, still has – and USES - the power to release us from the power of sin.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Be Still and Know that I Am God

By: Mallorie Gerwitz

I was recently trying to fall asleep after a busy day, and struggled to do so, as a puppy, who could not have been more than 4 or 5 weeks old was crying and whining.  I immediately sprung out of bed and outside to see if I could find the crying puppy.   The puppy must have been inside next to an open window…. for as I drew nearer to the source of the sound… no puppy was insight.  

In this season of spring, of Lent, of listening to God, we are each in our own Lenten journeys.   Being able to “Be Still and Know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10), can be hard when there seems to be many puppies crying out into the world.  Which “puppy”, (metaphorically speaking) is the one, we are called to assist?  A puppy is a puppy, is a puppy, but what if that “Voice of one crying out in the desert,” was a deeper call towards ones own spirituality, to God speaking to us?

As I journey along this Lenten time and welcome the extra sunlight, I wonder to myself and to God… “Where am I being called to listen and be assistance to those crying out?”  “What am I closing my eyes, ears and heart to?  Is it simply because it is too scary, or we’ve become accustomed to it being “this way”?  Am I too settled… to comfortable?  My Lenten goal is to simplify, slow down and weed out what is not important.  How can I do that when there are so many, “crying puppies?”  

As the snow melts, the crocus’ pop and Daffodils bloom and the time of Lent draws ever on-ward into Easter I pray for greater focus, but to not let go of  “Springing into action – to responding to the one crying out in the desert”, when someone or something needs attention or assistance.  Allow my ears, eyes and heart to not be closed; but to pray for the “cries” I hear daily.  For the wisdom to know, when I should say something, and when it is just best for me to be quiet, “to be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)