Peace and Greetings to all of you.
I know it has been quite a long time since I have posted to this blog, but I have made a commitment to Roy that I am going to get back on the horse regarding this weekly blog - reflecting on Sunday's readings (with my perspective from the Roman Catholic Lectionary, while Roy's perspective is from the Revised Common Lectionary). Since I returned from church this morning, I have been contemplating what to post here today. Roy did a nice job reflecting on the readings for this weekend (as he always does), so I have decided that for this week (my first week back) that I am going to post/write something else - with a little bit of reflection on healing, why I have been away for so long, and why it is important to break open the Word weekly.
So let me start with why I have been away for so long...
And I guess you could say that I am being vulnerable in my writing.
Some of you know through my writing and reflections that I have served a Catholic parish music director, organist and liturgist for the last 13 years. When I was 19 years old, I was hired in a very large suburban parish to take over a music program that was falling to pieces. I was a sophomore in college and had just started getting into my theological and pastoral studies at Ursuline College in Cleveland, Ohio. On September 30th, just two weeks ago, I resigned from that position. I must admit that the 13 years went by quickly, but it is becoming more and more "real" to me that I will be leaving a community that has loved and cared for me for the last 13 years. Many things have happened over the last 13 years in that community that have formed and shaped me into who I am today - through two college degrees, lay ministerial formation in the seminary, as well as advanced studies is grief, bereavement, trauma/loss, palliative care, and pastoral counseling. I also advanced my liturgical skills and knowledge during that time, as well as my musical skills and ability. Quite a combination I must say. But nonetheless, a combination that can lead to ministerial burn out. During my time at my parish, I also took on a full time job at Catholic Charities in the arena of bereavement and grief. During the last 6 years, I found many ways to use the healing properties of music while working with bereavement and grief clients; truly rewarding.
But within the last year, things started changing for me in parish life, and my bereavement/grief profession. Staff changes occurred, personalities changed, schedules changed, and my own personal situation changed. A new awakening to "what I was doing" and "why" came to light. This past spring I entered a period of discernment on where I wanted to go in this ministry, and what I wanted and needed from it. Through that discernment period came the realization that it was time to move on from the parish, and that I needed to make a decision on when I was going to begin my departure. So, as I have said earlier in this blog, on September 30th, I gave my 30 day notice to my pastor that I would be leaving at the end of the month. I think I may have stunned a lot of people - and it has been very hard these last several weeks since I have announced my departure. So many people have come up to me and have thanked me for my 13 years of service to the parish community. Last weekend, after telling my choir that I was leaving - the entire alto section of the choir sat there are cried during Mass. I must admit - that was rough!
During the discernment period - I came to the conclusion that I needed a lot of healing, and that my healing journey was about to begin, but not until I physically removed myself from the parish community. I discovered that I needed healing from relationships (work, personal and family), as well as healing from being on an ever-crazy liturgical and work schedule. The crazy schedule is part of the reason why I have been away for so long...but also realizing that I have been struggling with anxiety and depression over the job, as well as dealing with disc herniation in my back which generally cause terrible sciatic pain down my left leg (which I have been dealing with for two years). Within the last several months, a new position opened up for me at Catholic Charities, and I decided that it was time to take it....as well as turn in my resignation to my parish.
Why do I say all of this? What does this have to do with healing?
The gospel reading this weekend for Roman Catholic's is Luke 17:11-19. It is the story of the ten lepers that Jesus met as he was journeying in Jerusalem. The lepers looked at Jesus and said, "Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!" Jesus then tells them to go and show themselves to the priests and miraculously - they were cleansed. One of the lepers, after realizing that he was healed, returned to Jesus, fell at his feet, and thanked him. The leper gave GLORY to GOD for the healing that had taken place. How often do we turn to God and give glory for the healing that takes place in our lives? How often do we think about what need healing in our lives?
I have realized within the last 6 months that I have needed (and continue to need) healing. I would encourage you this week to make a list of what needs to be healed in your life. It might be from a physical malady, or maybe it is emotional healing. Maybe you need healing with members of your family who have caused harm or burden in your life (I can attest to this). Maybe you need healing in your professional career/work life. Take those burdens and put them at the foot of the cross. Then ask God for healing. Then give praise and thanks. Break open God's Word and let God in to your heart. It is through the silent times and the silent hours that God speaks to us the most.
It is good to be back and it is great to be writing again. I look forward to getting back to breaking open the Word with all of you weekly.
Peace and blessings on your week.