A snowy creek and woods on a sunny day.

Winter: An Invitation to Contemplation

Where I live in Ohio, the winter has had a lot more ice and snow than usual.  The weather has brought with it snow days for some and a lot of time indoors for most.  I made a retreat at the beginning of Advent, and at that time I had a sense of coziness and warmth as the snow fell outside and I prayed inside in warmth and candlelight.  Now, though, that coziness has given way to a restless longing to be outside, to open up the doors and windows, to go where I want to go unhampered by icy roads and falling snow.  The coziness took flight after Christmas, and I am fidgety.  And there's still some winter left to go. 

During this time of enclosure, as some of my busy-ness and activity must be curtailed, I pause to ask: what is God's invitation in this captivity?  I could spend all of this time kicking the walls as the snow covers the roads and driveways, or I could use it as an opportunity for reflection and prayer.  God is constantly inviting me to go within, and now circumstances are forcing me inside.  Instead of distracting myself in this space, I could nestle up to God to enjoy the rest and security that God offers.

This is difficult for me, this stillness and interior space.  I can be still for a week of silent retreat, but in the context of my day-to-day life, it is hard for me to seek out a space for contemplation.  And yet, God invites me to pray.  I must be still sometimes.  I am comforted by the fact that others persevere in seeking out quiet spaces.  I am consoled that when I do sit in stillness, God speaks to my heart.  I also look to our contemplative sisters who have much to teach about stillness and constant connection with the Holy.  Truly, we sisters have much to teach each other.  In this issue of our newsletter, we will also hear from Sister Mary Pia Malaborbor, a young Poor Clare.  She has taught me much about connecting with God at all times, busy moments as well as quiet times. 

So, join me, won't you, in sitting indoors a little longer.  Let us keep praying in stillness, with the hope and promise of spring just around the corner.  And what a tremendously green spring it will be!