By Kathy Keary
Our full series in the Contemplative Prayer Video Series is here.
The last couple of weeks we reflected on embracing the crosses in our lives as a path to the new life offered in the resurrection. This truth stands at the heart of my spirituality. When I was introduced to Precious Blood Spirituality, a new dimension enriched my perspective.
Eleven years ago, I was asked to deliver a reflection at a Mass at the Precious Blood provincial assembly. My meditation was centered on a question that Jesus posed to his disciples, and I believe directs to us today: “Can you drink the cup?” I asked the question: “Well, what’s in it?” I will share my prayerful reflection and allow you time when I am finished to journal your responses to the questions I pose.
I concluded that when I look into the cup of his Most Precious Blood, I see the personal struggles that have challenged me: abuse, shattered dreams, destruction, good-byes, and deaths of loved ones. My view of the cup is different now as wounds that have shaped me have been healed by embracing these crosses. I ask you, what are your personal struggles contained in the cup?
The cup also contains all the things that helped us during times of distress. I included having a close friend in Jesus, unconditional love of family, support of friends, outreach of total strangers, resilience, and drive. I ask you: what are those things that helped you during difficult times? They are also in the cup.
I went on to say that the cup becomes sweeter when the fruits of truly embracing the crosses in our lives are added among which for me are forgiveness, reconciliation, compassion, empowerment, new dreams, and a deep passion for Christ and those on the margins. What fruits have you reaped by embracing the crosses in your life?
I then looked at where those fruits led me as they too are in the cup. For me, it included the inner city, under bridges, homeless camps, Catholic Worker houses, JustFaith, the slums of Kenya and Uganda, an orphanage in Honduras, the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Washington DC, Jefferson City, and Topeka. Where have the fruits of embracing the cross led you?
These places brought to the cup poverty, homelessness, injustice, and struggle. But they also added solidarity, over-the-top hospitality, advocacy, courage, and a sense of oneness with all of God’s creation. What attributes were added to the cup by the places you were led when embracing the cross?
As one human family, the joys and sorrows of the world are also contained in the cup. We definitely find the heart-wrenching struggle of the Ukrainian people. That adds fear, hostility, violence, war, thirst for power, greed, death, loss, grief and so much more to the cup. But it also adds unbelievable strength, courage, love, and unity as people of different cultures and ideologies reach out to do what they can to lift up the people.
At the end of my talk, I emphatically concluded: Yes, I can drink the cup – a universal, communal cup where the dying becomes rising, where the cross becomes resurrection, and where the cup of sorrow becomes the finest of wines and stands as the source of our salvation, our liberation, our joy and our hope.
I will pull up a slide with the questions I have posed and invite you to pause the video and take some time on your Lenten journey to journal your responses. Allow your words to be born from the recesses of your heart where the Spirit dwells. Once you are finished, please return to the video.
I look forward to being with you next week as we continue our journey through Lent.
If you are looking for a heartfelt Stations of the Cross, look no further. The PBRC staff created: Way of the Cross: A Visual Meditation. Please check it out.
Let’s continue to pray for the people of Ukraine. May they feel the loving embrace of God and the warmth of our sincere prayer.
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[Kathy Keary, spiritual director, holds a bachelor’s degree in education, a master’s degree in theological studies, and completed Sophia Center’s Souljourners Program, an intense study of spirituality and spiritual direction. Kathy believes that the Divine is present and active in all of life and encourages others to be awakened to the God in all including the Divine within. She enjoys accompanying others on their journey to wholeness discovering the person they were created to be.]
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