I woke up early this morning — a wet, gray, cloudy summer morning. I like rain. For me, rain is a cleansing of sorts — I feel baptized in a sense. Rain cleans the air, cleanses the streets, and clears the clouds that occupy the sky and sometimes too often occupy my mind. After quickly dressing, I left the warm confines of my apartment and headed outside to a small restaurant and slid into a booth; ordered a glorious pot of hot tea and a warm scone and read the daily paper. And I actually READ the paper; not skimmed the headlines which is my usual modus operandi having little time to absorb all the information placed on the pages. A headline quickly caught my eyes - “‘Holy’ moments surround us” by Dean Nelson (USA TODAY).
My spiritual life, is, to say the least, in transition. Or rather in contemplation. I’m a Benedictine oblate for a monastery. An oblate is one who forms a commitment to Benedictine spirituality that is given unconditionally from the heart, that needs to be cultivated in “good and bad” days. I admit to being much more diligent in my role (or responsibility) as an oblate years back, but in recent years have struggled.
There are seven ancient sacraments that organized Christianity has recognized for thousands of years: Baptism, Holy Orders, Confession, Confirmation, Marriage, Extreme Unction, and Eucharist. Growing up Catholic, I have experienced 5 of the 7. The point of Nelson’s article is that one doesn’t have to experience the sacraments in a church or in front of a priest (or clergy); but rather in those moments when we share ourselves with others. Nelson asks “haven’t we all been part of conversations where they somehow take on a deeper dimension, even though it’s just two people talking?”.
For 5 years I went to a spiritual director (a Benedictine nun) at the monastery. A loving, gracious, knowledgable nun who reminds me of my paternal grandmother; Sr. Mary awoke in me the spiritual, the holy. Before I started spiritual direction I was an empty, lonely vessel. It’s often said that those going through spiritual direction should be prepared for your life to take a 360 degree turn. Mine did; radically. My life did a complete turnaround. Relationships changed, some died, some grew. I changed.
I no longer attend church or go to any religious celebrations. I do pray everyday — and share my feelings and thoughts with those people closest in my life. These are my holy moments. I relish the time I spend with family and friends sharing my feelings, listening to theirs. It never occurred to me that these are holy moments. Perhaps my spiritual life is in transition but is moving towards what it was always meant to be — in the holy of now.
Written by Ms. Renee Vevea, always seeking, searching and learning.