Feast of St Teresa of Calcutta
It is not as difficult to imagine living for a long, long period of time in spiritual dryness, with no spiritual consolations, no external/internal experience of God and yet, at the same time living a life wholly, fully in love of the One that you know exists, and Loves you in unimaginable ways, fully, completely, without reservation, in full knowledge, fully possession of the knowledge that you are created in His image and likeness and He chose you to exist.
That was Mother Teresa’s experience for many years. Through all of that dry, dark time she remained committed to her Faith and to the work God called her to.
When my Sweetie and I were in full time Church ministry we had the opportunity to meet Mother Teresa at a Parish in the South Bronx where she visited one of the convents of her sisters. At the end of a Holy Hour after Pastor and the local Bishop spoke, Mother was invited to talk. The Eucharist had not yet been reposed in the Tabernacle. Mother Teresa insisted that the Blessed Sacrament be reposed before speaking.
I can assure you that when spiritual dryness/darkness happens it’s easy to want to walk away rather than continuing to live a life of Faith.
We sometimes say, “If God existed then ______ (fill in the blank)” wouldn’t happen/exist. The reality is that in the Garden when Adam and Eve made their choice (our choice) to sin, to turn away from God, and throw each other under the bus evil and sin entered the world. We are in no way exempt from this choice and we get to live with the sometimes very ugly, horrific consequences. We also are presented with choices to choose God, to live His Word, to live in His Word, we all make sometimes horrible choices, sometimes not so bad choices that have effects that we cannot comprehend right now.
Like Saint Teresa who lived in a spiritually arid place, we can make choices that reflect a desire to understand the Living Word of God, who called out sin for what it is and showed us how to live kindly and justly.
Back to my original blog post….My Sweetie and I usually get to Church about a half hour early to have some quiet time before Mass begins. Sometimes I’ll pray for the entire time, sometimes read, sometimes journal, sometimes a combination of the three. My reading lately includes a little St. John of the Cross, St. Francis de Sales, and Bishop Robert Barron. In some respects I feel like I’m hearing and understanding Scripture in a whole new way. Allow me a moment here. the other day as I was reading something Bishop Barron wrote referring back to something written by St. Paul in what I always thought was a series of reminders, and realized today that this Community was actually doing the things he was saying. St. Paul was correcting some really bad behavior! In earlier reading complete with sermons or homilies I didn’t see it, hear it, understand it that way.
On the shelf in my sewing studio sits a quilt, waiting to be quilted, made during a moment when the well creativity seemed to dry up, leaving me thirsty, yearning to quench this thirst.. Making this quilt with what is now simple patchwork is an exercise in priming the pump while waiting for the well of creativity to bubble up, releasing its cool, thirst quenching, idea filling, refreshing water. The pump primed, the well filling, ideas filling my head, and flowing to my hands the quilts that needed my attention, words that needed writing were completed and written. The well receded again for a bit, as happens now and again. Either that or I’m not letting my bucket go down deep enough and giving it enough time to fill completely.
Since the manuscript was submitted, and the editing, photography and illustration process are in full swing a surge of creativity hit. It waned for a little bit, and has returned. It’s been fascinating to confirm what I already know creativity is part of daily life, sometimes we can connect with it deeply and sometimes it just doesn’t happen no matter how hard we try. It’s also possible that there’s so much creativity we are overwhelmed by the experience of it. That’s just as frustrating as a well running dry because there is only so much I can do with the time that I have. And sometimes the ideas flow so quickly I can’t write them all down.
This type of overwhelming creativity, learning, inquisitiveness happens in quilting making too. A few weeks ago I agreed to demonstrate ruler work at one of my shops. I’m happy to do so as I already get the basic gist of what to do. I’ve watched a friend use rulers in some of her videos on/off for a few years now. Having perfectly straight lines isn’t something I’ve been really interested in or needed as my own quilt work flows from an idea and precision isn’t essential. Also I really didn’t want to take the time, with other life stuff going on, to learn. I borrowed a couple of rulers from my friend and have been working on this quilt. Not only am I working with rulers, I’m working from the back side of the quilt. The side of the quilt I’ll present is the square in a square quilt you see above. I’ll make bobbin color, weight changes as I move along with the different motifs of the whole cloth quilt I’m stitching on.
A few weeks ago I was freaking out about something because I was stuck thinking that if God loved me then _________ would happen. Along the way I’ve gleaned little drops of Grace and Creativity which have led me to a calmer place. The thing I was freaking out about hasn’t changed, yet however like trusting that this quilt will work out the way I’m stitching it, I’m trusting God in this moment, in this situation. Holding onto that trust, to God’s goodness has given me, offered me a peace I can not fully explain.