My Thoughts in CPE

I speak confidently when I pray to God for guidance in my ministry. I am for almost all purposes a caregiver, seeking guidance from God, my CPE supervisor, CFP supervisor, and my extern team, as a care-seeker. I find this situation somehow very comforting. For most of my life, I have not recognized the importance of care giving and care seeking. The definition of importance has evolved for me; I have grown in recognizing important to mean working in relationship with others to address the spiritual and inter-relational reasons placing me in a position to visit, listen, and emphatically respond. I think it is important to recognize that I have a gift, a beautiful God given gift, which shines light from my relationship with God and God’s existence in me. If I truly believe that my relationship with God guided me to this ministry in Chaplaincy, then I must believe that God would not abandon me in this ministry. Knowledge that God is with me opens up the possibility of forming a reality that this ministry is joy fulfilling.

I have spent my time wisely these past four months reflecting about my formation as a Catholic, Christian, academic, and chaplain. I was confident from the beginning of my natural ability to establish rapport; however, I did know I might have some difficulty with assessing my own bias, and the wordless expressions in body language that telegraph these feelings. My complete attention and presence to a care seeker has been enhanced through my opportunity to reflect on my own theological process, biases, and the twirling wheel of emotions that accompany loss. This has revealed many stabilizing supports in the tools that I am gathering and developing in methods of communication. I have empathy that emerges through my natural existence and state. Compassion, I have learned, goes hand in hand with my ability to relate to others. Because of CPE, I have a vocabulary to put with ideas and interactions. My compassionate actions are a gift that I am learning to use quietly, with reverence for others, so that I may assess their feelings. A paradigm shift has occurred in my thinking and behavior.

Regardless of the paradigm shift, other truths must be at work in order for me to feel the connection with God through ministering in a medical setting. What I have come to know (epignosis) is that I am to be myself in this ministry. I am a faulted individual with a few idiosyncratic behaviors and thoughts. But, it is those very thoughts that allow me to be me. My uniqueness shapes the way in which I am able to respond. Each individual that I am to be present to and possibly minister to offers a challenge for me. My need is to overcome my fear, and trust that I fulfill my promise to the Holy Spirit of passing along the Lord’s compassion in gifts given. I choose to be a Chaplain that has the personal authority to listen, to reflect, and to respond with compassion. It is the compassionate choice to be with patients, family, and staff. The compassion, however, does not end with what I give, but it is truly in the receiving that my gift given in fullness to others and theirs to me is an offering in glory to God. The fullness of giving and receiving fills my need for joy in living out my mission in ministry. As academically lofty as that sounds, it is just the systematic way that I process relationship in theology. Practical theology tells me that this is a reality, that an imperfect minister is capable of bringing perfect love through emphatic and compassionate conversation. I like the reality of this theological process.

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My Vision Statement for my Mission in Ministry

     My mission is to help heal others and myself. I drew my vision statement because I was unable to interpret my thoughts into sentences. It evolved as I practiced on index cards sketching the rooster and pelican. Both are signs of God’s prominence in the world. Truly, our God understands us, in both forgiveness and need. The rooster’s presence sheds light on my own vulnerability. I am vulnerable to the temptation that minimizes my ability to proclaim my belief in my Lord and Savior, and the promise of eternal life. As I cross the bridge, I am aware that my faith allows me to reconcile my weakness toward what is not good. My own choices separate me from God and community. The Keys of Peter on the bridge remind me that celebration of my faith life happens in community; therefore, my reconciliation is with God on the vertical plane and community on the horizontal plane. I am acutely aware of the rose, which reminds me that the Mother of my Lord rejoiced in his birth, revealed his greatness at Cana, and suffered pains at the foot of the Cross. I have used her example in mercy, humility, and suffering that leads to knowledge and joy. The fish symbolizes my membership among the assembly gathered to celebrate the sacrament of remembrance in the Most Holy Eucharist. The gift of the Eucharistic meal, symbolized by the Pelican plucking her breast and feeding her young, reminds me to be ever cognizant of the meal that sustains me. The three nails symbolize the Sacrifice of my Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross, a ransom for my life. The gift of Holy Spirit may be seen in the brilliant reflection on the water; it is the promise of fullness and truth acting within the Church and community.

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Calm on the Sea of Galilee

Sea of Galilee          I am overwhelmed by responsibility and overburdened by my own hand. But, on the Sea of Galilee at sunset, there is a calm feeling that wraps me in the love of God. It is quiet and peaceful much like the peace I felt when I nursed my children. Comforting sounds surround me as I gently rock back and forth. The water laps up against the boat in a rhythm that is designed to ease. The smell of fresh and clean air fills my senses; joyfully, I take a deep breath. It cleanses my mind and opens my heart, for too often I forget to keep it open. Sunlight shines in beauty through the clouds streaming a warm array of colors in orange, pink, and yellow highlighting the blue sky. As the day slips into night, the warmth penetrates my whole being inviting me to join God and become one in this beauty. Jesus is cooking on the shore; waiting patiently for me to know that he is there. This is a place where I am with Christ, my Lord. I hear his voice and his hand feeds me.
After a long week, I am scattered and often of no use to anyone. When I make the time to rest in him, I feel the promise of his love. With the relief of my daily stress, I refocus my thoughts, and the gifts that I have been given are renewed with vigor. I am ready once again to face my mission. I think of Christ, and desire to walk with him, but I must first place myself in his presence and rest in his mercy and love. I will always return refreshed and collected ready to meet the challenges of my life today.

Today is Good Shepherd Sunday

Psalm 23

The LORD is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack.

In green pastures you let me graze; to safe waters you lead me;

you restore my strength. You guide me along the right path for the sake of your name.

Even when I walk through a dark valley, I fear no harm for you are at my side; your rod and staff give me courage.

You set a table before me as my enemies watch; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Only goodness and love will pursue me all the days of my life; I will dwell in the house of the LORD for years to come.

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Dearest Lord,

I bare my heavy heart to you this day. I trust in your goodness and the goodness that is a part of all of humanity. Unite us in this time of sadness and confusion. Please send the Graces to allow us to grieve and mourn, the injured of disasters that have plagued our country this week.  Make us instruments of reconciliation and guide us on the path of Mercy and civility. May we offer aid and comfort to others as we implement justice. Through your gifts we are able to act in freedom and grow in love. Help us to speak up for the innocent and act righteously. May you pierce our hearts with Mercy and Love. In your Holy Name, I humbly ask.

Amen

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“There is no pl…

“There is no pleasure at all in eating or drinking unless the pains of hunger and thirst go before”. (St. Augustine, Bk 8 Chap III #7)

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