Reflection Masthead
Issue 151 - Witness to Hope - April 2017

To Christians, the future does have a name, and its name is Hope.
  Those words come from Pope Francis' recent TED talk. He goes on to say, "Feeling hopeful does not meant to be optimistically naive and ignore the tragedy humanity is facing. Hope is the virtue of a heart that doesn't lock itself into the darkness, that doesn't dwell on the past, does not simply get by in the present, but is able to see a tomorrow." 
  In that spirit of hope, we offer these reflections this Easter season. May you always be able to see a tomorrow.

Not Just to Tell a Story  
In his homily for Easter Sunday*, Michael Mulvey, Bishop of Corpus Christi said, "Jesus sent out the disciples not simply to tell a story, but to  be witnesses to hope."
Not simply to tell a story, but to be witnesses.  Not simply to speak words, but to live a life that reflects the good news of resurrection.
In a world awash with words, from talk radio, and podcasts, and, yes, from pulpits, what we need most is not more words, but the true witness of authentic lives.
Stephanie Paulsell, in a recent essay, tells of inviting a Benedictine monk to visit her class on Christian Spirituality at Harvard Divinity School. They discussed living by the Rule of Benedict, a rule whose aim is to shape a particular way of being in the world: As Paulsell puts it, "Benedict's Rule is less concerned with locking the gates against the hordes [as some political commentators have recently suggested] and more concerned with leaders who can hold power without misusing it, more concerned with study and prayer, with the relinquishment of worldly rank and private property, and with the cultivation of humility, mercy, and forgiveness."
The monk who visited Paulsell's classroom spoke of the central importance of hospitality for Benedictines. The Rule instructs monastics to welcome each visitor as if he or she were Christ himself ( RB Chap 53). Thus,  "the monastery is not a refuge from the world but a community that bears witness to the sacredness of our common humanity, a place where anyone can, by sharing in the monks' prayer, silence, study, and community life, become formed for mercy, humility, and forgiveness."
Not simply to tell a story, but to be formed for mercy, humility and forgiveness. Not simply to speak words, but to  be a witness.
- by Bill

*Video can be found by clicking here, then selecting the 04/16 service. The homily begins at 22:45.
Three Witnesses
"Resurrection ends and begins with two surprised women."
Fra Angelico,
So begins the poem, "The Still Pilgrim's Easter Morning Song." Poet and friend Angela Alaimo O'Donnell tells of two witnesses to the God who "comes to the door and knocks" lifting her awareness that, even in the "morning gloom," God is present.

Let us each be the third witness this day.
                  --by Jan
The Still Pilgrim's Easter Morning Song

Resurrection ends and begins
with two surprised women.

Mary seated at her loom
sees an angel in the room.

Everything she thought she knew
suddenly gets set askew.

She gracefully absorbs the shock
when God comes to the door and knocks.

Another Mary, decades hence
with nard, bought at her own expense,

braves the early morning gloom
in search of the Beloved's tomb.

She hears her name. She feels his breath,
and knows there's no such thing as death.

We thank the author for permission to reprint her poem.


Bill Howden and Jan Davis
Soul Windows Ministries



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