Preaching with our Lives


Praedicare is a blog about the many ways Dominicans preach with their lives, written by Adrian Dominican Sister Mary Jones, OP, who serves as the Congregation’s Promoter of Preaching. Please click the “Subscribe” button on the right column if you would like to receive it by email.  

 



Homeless and Wandering
By Sister Christa Marsik, OP

O God, our loving God, where are you?
We have been driven from our homes,
driven from our lands.
And where shall we go?
Who will welcome us?
Who will love us?

Aleppo no longer wants us.
And she buses us to the other side of her city.
We suffer, waiting,
waiting while the powerful fight for our homes,
and while no one else wants us.

Mosul lies in rubble.
Can we claim her rocks and stones as ours?
The once beautiful ancient churches where
we prayed begging your loving care.
We suffer, waiting,
waiting as ISIS battles other believers
laying waste to our lives and our homeland.

How long, O God, how long?

Standing Rock,
yes, you do stand as a symbol,
a symbol of the lands that were once ours,
the lands out of which we were driven,
driven into boundary reserves so that the powerful
could claim these lands as their own.
We suffer, waiting,
waiting for those in charge to know their greed
and grant us our natural rights.

Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras,
beautiful jewels of the South.
We no longer feel safe in you, our lands.
Our lives are in jeopardy, stolen from us by the greedy.
Our families are separated, kidnapped, killed.
Where can we go? Who will welcome us?
We suffer, waiting,
waiting while the wealthy take our lives, our money
and leave us poor without sustenance.
Oh God, where are you?

“No wonder the prophet weeps yet—
We begin again but not innocent…

And we feebly watch for you and wait.
Teach us how to weep while we wait,
and how to hope while we weep,
and how to care while we hope.”

~ From “Teach Us How To Weep” in Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth: Prayers of Walter Brueggemann


Water’s Lament
By Sister Pat Benson, OP

Oh God, Creator of the Universe, 
You who energized the flowing forth of all that we know,
Giver of the waters of life, 
hear the silent cry of your water through this voice.

Thank you for the process of evolution that emerged water on Earth.
Thank you for the emergence of life in the waters and its crawling onto land.
Thank you for emerging human consciousness and creativity.
Thank you for millennia of mutually enhancing relationship 
with the rest of creation, our sister and brother creatures.

Now, we, your people, use our intelligence creatively but often blindly.
We cause all bodies of water to cry out in anguish.
We deprive people and animals of clean life-giving water.
Because of our disconnected lifestyle we are complicit in this agony.

Aquifers, underground seas of pure water,
once deep and full, now suffering from human plunder,
become shallow.
Their empty voices cry out due to our technological expertise.

Rivers and the tumbling streams that feed them,
flowing clean and sparkling clear for eons,
carving incredibly deep gorges or meandering in meadows,
bring hydration to all creatures living near.
Rivers now drained for human use along the way, 
raise their dry voice before they reach the sea.

Lakes, expanses of water shimmering in the sun,
Frozen in the cold, sooth the spirit in a gaze.
Watching civilization grow cities on their shores,
and providing millions with water, 
lakes now raise their crusty voices 
polluted with chemicals, drugs, and waste debris.

Lakes, our agricultural endeavors drinking their water for growth,
pay the price of our unthinking practices 
as excess fertilizer and pathogens flow back.  
Their bountiful capacity overdrawn for our wants, 
lakes speak with cracked voices from their dry beds, 
a fraction of their former selves.

Glaciers, shimmering sheer cliffs of blue-white ice, frozen for centuries,
(with ice caps, 98% of Earth’s fresh water)
now victims of anthropogenic global warming, calve or melt. 
Their voices roar as they crack and fall, or slip silently into oblivion.

Seas, salty water encircling the globe, 
house abundant ecosystems of life.
Seas suffer as human beings deplete them of their bounty,
Employ practices that harm their inhabitants, 
And pollute their waters with waste. 
Their rolling cry brushes all shores.

Creator God, help us!
Help your human children emerge into new awareness 
of our responsibility for our “home”.  
Foster in us the “reverence for all” that Jesus modeled. 
Help us to raise our voices to protect our waters, 
and all who depend on them, especially those who are poor,
for their own sake and for future generations.

God, 
Self-giving Love, 
Holy Mystery, 
You are the Source of all that is.  
Your creative Spirit is ever-present with us, desiring to lead and guide us.  
Help us open our hearts and minds to your invitations 
always trusting that You will show us the way.



Lamentation
By Sister Susie Kresse, OP

O my soul, I cry unto God, 
Absent from my being.
Grieve for the violence
And suffering of the world
Affecting so many marginalized
And hurting people.

O absent God,
Show your mercy and compassion.
Provide shelter for the homeless,
Food for the hungry,
Health for the sick,
Peace for the dying.
Show us ways to provide for those in need.

Help our government:
Congress and Supreme Court.
Help President Trump be open to your grace;
Give him humility and appreciation for the gifts of others.

Preserve us from fear and anxiety….
Let us see your face.



Paradox
By Sister Marilyn Barnett, OP


Polar caps that vanish and melt,

Great oceans rise and creep.

African cracked and barren lands,

Our golf links green and neat.


Global warming cynics dismiss,

Reality’s urgent prayer

Religious leaders weep and mourn

their unoccupied churches bare.


Racial skirmishes erupt and grow 

Reasonable dialogue lost.

Schisms deepen, lies, deceit

hope wanes at great cost.


Darken prison bars conceal

the young and old who wait

Judicial systems clogged with tape,

appeals that decide their fate.


Why oh God are you in hiding?

Why can’t we see your face?

When will your justice rule and guide

over our human race.


You are our hope in times of trouble

You, the savior of all.

Give us the strength to trust in you

When all else seems to fall.



Why I Weep: A Lament
Election Day 2016
By Sister Kathryn Cliatt, OP

The people have spoken
and their words are filled with venom and hate.

The people have spoken
and neighbors tremble in their homes
in fear of being driven from the land.

The people have spoken
and lovers of earth
are terrified that treasures of the “Beautiful Blue Planet”
will be sold to the highest bidder.

The people have spoken
and the poor and vulnerable
anticipate the loss of access to health care
are crippled by the certainty of being trapped in slums of poverty
dread friends and loved ones being needlessly murdered in the streets.

The people have spoken
and women experience the oppression of the glass ceiling being lowered
of all claims to equality being lost, 
of being owned again.

The people have spoken
and African Americans reel from flashbacks of history
of physical, mental and spiritual abuse
of life having no value
of slavery.

My God, my God, how can you forgive us?

Our loving God waits patiently for us to turn our hearts and minds to the Divine loving touch of healing, transforming – so that

our hatred becomes love
our vengeance becomes forgiveness
our enemy becomes our friend
our Earth becomes our Mother
all creatures become our brothers/sisters of creation.

Our God will never abandon us.


Lent is a time in the church calendar where we are called to take time to look into our souls, into our hearts and find opportunities to deepen our relationship with God. During this Lenten season several of our Sisters use the age-old form of lamentation, offering their thoughts, feelings, and hopes for our world. So come to this page each Wednesday during the Lenten season to experience the wonderful gift of preaching through lamentation. If you feel called to add your words to theirs you may send your offering to kcliatt@adriandominicans.org for consideration.

Sincerely,

Sister Mary Jones, OP



Why I Grieve

The first weekend of November, 10 friends (in what we call a Mission Group) met. During the time of our deep personal sharing we discovered that each of us was profoundly sad because of the state of our country and our world. 

At each of our meetings we set aside time to discuss an article or book that we have been studying. At this meeting we were talking about Walter Brueggemann’s book, Reality, Grief, Hope (Walter Brueggemann, Reality, Grief, Hope: Three Urgent Prophetic Tasks, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2014). We all have been taught and try to practice being positive, looking for the good in others and situations, not dwelling on negatives. But at this time we all confessed how sad we were and how helpless we felt. Walter Brueggemann helped us to make sense of this and gave us direction how to recognize and put to good use this sadness, this grief.

Brueggemann believes that the crisis of 9/11 amounted to the same kind of defining dislocation in our society as did the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 B.C.E. Further, “that U.S. society is deeply committed, as was ancient Israel to an ideology of exceptionalism” and that “we are a country in denial and the purpose of this denial is to maintain old privilege and entitlement and to fend off the reality of the world.” As a people we are in denial that the American Dream no longer is available to everyone who would earnestly pursue it. We are in denial that our planet can no longer support our lifestyle and military budget. Brueggemann says, “The prophetic task, amid a culture of denial, is to embrace, model, and practice grief, in order that the real losses in our lives can be acknowledged.”

These last words struck us profoundly and we felt impelled to respond in some way. What we have chosen to do is to write and to invite others to write lamentations that reflect our pain and sadness. Perhaps our words will strike a note in you and will help you with your grief. If so, we invite you to write a lamentation and email it to kcliatt@adriandominicans.org.

In sincerity and solidarity,

The Metanoia Mission Group


Mary Jones, OP

 


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LINKS

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