The call to be resurrected: What if we made a shield of love?
What if we made a shield of love?
This question has been traveling with me throughout the Lenten season. It came to me in a reflection from Valerie Kaur at the beginning of the outbreak of war in Ukraine. The question was formed in her by the prayer she and her son offered for the children of Ukraine, the Tati Vao Na Lagi, which means: “The hot winds cannot touch you, you are shielded by Love.”
Valerie asked everyone who read her reflection to become that shield of love.
More than once this Lenten season I pondered: What does that even look like — to become a shield of love? And then last Saturday it happened. Everywhere I looked I saw God. Everywhere I went I felt surrounded by a shield of love.
A ‘Circle of Love’
It began in me as part of the morning prayer for our “Come and See” Weekend. This is a time when the Sisters of Providence invite women who are interested in exploring whether or not they have a vocation to religious life to come and share in the life of the community.
For the first time in two years. we were able to have an in-person Come and See. So, there we were, gathered in the soft morning light of the community room in one of our main Motherhouse buildings. Seven young women seekers, our own newer and younger members and a cast of “old-timers” (literally and figuratively) were gathered in a circle of love.
Because the theme of the weekend was, “Called by Name,” we heard the scripture, often proclaimed on Easter, about Jesus’ appearance to Mary Magdala. In that Gospel story, Mary recognizes Jesus when he calls her by name.
We are all together
In the sharing that followed about what we felt called to do, I heard young and old voices proclaim their wish to discover God everywhere, to hear what God wants us to hear, to open wide our hearts.
The desire in that room — to be more loving, to be more attentive, to respond to whatever God is calling us to do at this moment — was palpable. It did feel like a shield of love that could shelter me from whatever doubt or stress might be challenging my peace of mind and heart. The connection I felt with those around me reminded me that we truly are all in this together, and what we do together can make a difference — even in Ukraine.
Expressions of Love
I left that gathering grateful for the comfort I felt because my next stop was a funeral service. The husband of a woman I have known as a student, colleague and friend had died rather suddenly of heart complications. Relatively speaking he was a young man, 62. And he was very well-loved. So the sadness in the church where the visitation and service were held was also palpable.
Then the testimonies started and that sadness deepened into tender expressions of love. I had not put enough tissues in my pocket to wipe away the tears.
My favorite, however, was the minister’s admonition about the best way to honor George, a man who lived with MS most of his adult life. “Stop complaining!” he said. “If anyone had a right to complain it was George.” But George was not a complainer. In fact, George was someone who shielded his family, the disabled adults and young people with whom he worked, with love — big-time love.
I made a vow at that very moment to stop complaining — about COVID, about the war, about the weather, about how busy I am or how much work I have to do.
I am going to choose to be resurrected — to live in the light of the love that God sends every day to shield me — and to do my best to send forth that light into the world. I am going to choose life over death.
That is my Easter wish for you. Be resurrected. Hear Jesus call your name. Become part of the shield of love that is the kindom of God. Choose life.