Wednesday, July 30, 2008

touching base

hello to anyone that happens to read this,
orientation is wonderful, inspiring, overwhelming, phenomenal, amazing, etc. with all the fantastic presentations we've been given, nuggets of wisdom to reflect on, and community building to be done, its hard to find time to sum it up in a profound yet authentic way in a blog post. so, i really have no news for anyone now. but i will soon. really.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Shared Fruit

"I believe intensely in the essential union of theological study and a life of praise." -Yves Congar

Today is the feast of St. Bonaventure, a Franciscan theologian who believed that 'the purely intellectual element, though never absent, is of inferior interest when compared with the living power of the affections or the heart.'

Bon aventure. French for good journey.

And so i begin blogging about my good journey in Ecuador, an attempt at getting closer to that union of theological study and a life of praise, and letting the living power of the affections and the heart guide me, along with intellect.

(Note: I'm still in the US of A. I head to orientation in Cleveland on Sunday, then ship out to Ecuador August 4.)

Today i had the really wonderful opportunity to meet up for coffee and conversation with a brilliant, inspiring woman and former professor. Along with our drinks she bought a cup of fruit, and as we shared thoughts about past, present, and future journeys, she shared with me this fruit. For some reason this unexpected gesture struck me as so simple, but so profound and so human. To share not only what you have, but who you are, with another. To share the fruits of your experiences with someone that might benefit from hearing them. To break down this subconscious 'mine' and 'yours' and instead give freely, building a more authentic (even Christ-like?) relationship with someone.

I also received today in the mail a Mass card, letter, and donation to Rostro de Cristo from a friend of my mom. The inside reads "Elyse Raby, as a member of the Altare Dei Society [i dont know what this is] will share in the fruits of 100 Masses during the next 12 months to be offered at Holy Family Passionist Monastery & Retreat Center". What a blessing.

So i've been thinking about shared fruit, literal and metaphorical. Fruits of the Holy Spirit, the fruit of the tree of life and tree of knowledge, 'blessed is the fruit of thy womb', the fruit of the vine, parables about fruit, i dont know, am i onto something here? Shared fruit, shared God. What it really makes me think about is that the support i've received from family, friends, acquaintences, and everyone in between has been overwhelmingly touching. I had no idea that the people in my life would do such thoughtful and heartwarming things for me before i set off on this year of service. Every single gift i've received, no matter how small, is so unexpected and has made me so so grateful for the support i have here. It's really amazing how this community of love has sprung up all around me and is sending me forth on this journey.

Rostro de Cristo means face of Christ in Spanish, and part of the mission of the program is to experience Christ with and among the poor in Duran, Ecuador. I've learned that i'm already experiencing God here, among the not-so-poor, through the tremendous generosity and love from so many people.

Thank you to everyone who is sharing with me the fruit of their lives. In return, i hope you can share in the fruits of my experiences in Ecuador, in who i am and what i have, through this blog.

A very special thank you to the parishioners of St. Thomas Church in Southington. Your generosity and prayerful support has been unbelievable.

[to my grammar-conscious friends: i'm intentionally not capitalizing the personal pronoun 'i' because i think it's stupid that english is the only language that feels the need to make the self that superior. i'm rebelling against the severe individualism embedded in our culture via language. sorry if it bothers you :-P ]