A Reflection for Ash Wednesday by Sister Donna Fannon, MHSH
A few months ago I accompanied my nephew on a campus tour geared to prospective college students. The tour was led by an upper class student who belonged to a group called “College Ambassadors.” The student was welcoming and enthusiastic. He was trying to give a positive impression of his college as he walked backwards leading us through the campus in hopes that some young people in our group would be moved to apply for admission. My nephew seemed impressed and was listening to every word.
As the tour continued, I wondered what kind of an impression I have made on the people I have encountered over the years. In particular I was remembering the many international students I met as a campus minister. I recalled how my experience with them had helped to broaden my understanding of so many cultures around the world as well as how interconnected we are within the global marketplace. Then I remembered the times I have traveled abroad, and I wondered what kind of an impression I had given others about the United States. Continue reading “How are we doing as Ambassadors for Christ?”
By Sister Donna Fannon, MHSH
This Sunday we hear the very familiar story of the “Woman At The Well” (John 4: 5-42). Surely it is one of the most beautiful (and powerful) stories of personal encounter with Christ in all of the Gospels. This story offers us a treasure trove of points to deepen our reflection and contemplation.
As we ponder this story we notice that Jesus encounters a woman who is isolated and alienated in many ways—in her personal life, within the community, devoid of a meaningful purpose to her life. Jesus invites himself into her life, moving her beyond the bondage of her past history, and asks her to do something for him. With that simple action of giving the Lord water, and in conversation with Jesus, she realizes a deeper hunger she has for Living Water. She is empowered to move beyond her personal concerns to announce the Good News, inviting others to come and see for themselves.
My graced history—Along with Jesus I look at the history of my life. Can I recognize the presence of God at some points in my life? When have I experienced transformation? When has God led me beyond my failures and shortcomings? How has God been inviting me to develop some of my gifts? For what purpose? When have I asked for God’s grace? How has God responded? How do I express thanks to God for creating me and revealing God’s self to me?
Moving from isolation to relationship—Can I recall a time when I felt isolated and lonely? How has God invited me into relationship? How is God fashioning me into a loving and generous person? Who are some of the people who have been examples of loving service in my life? Where do I go to drink deeply from the springs of living water that revive and refresh my soul?
Experiencing the Call of Christ— How does Jesus refresh me and reveal Himself to me? When have I recognized Jesus’ voice calling me to discipleship? How have I responded? Do I experience myself “seeing Jesus in the poor, the hungry, the downtrodden?”
Co-laboring with Christ—How do I experience joy in participating in Jesus’ ongoing redemptive work in the world? What motivates me to pour out my gifts on the “little ones”… to desire to alleviate suffering… to feed the hungry? Do I ever hear the voice of Jesus saying: “Well done, good and faithful servant?” Have I ever been a transforming presence in another person’s life? How do I express my gratitude to God for this validation?
May we hear this gospel with new ears this weekend.