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“To Dream the Impossible Dream”

Imagine yourself in the intensive care unit of your local hospital.  Now imagine that the medical team, after a number of procedures, indicate to you that you are in critical condition and could die unless you give permission to try a number of other procedures to restore you to health. You are asked, “Do you want to live?”

In light of not knowing fully what “the other procedures” will be what do you reply? What does it mean when you say, “Yes, I want to live”? Perhaps in this “second chance” at living, that word is meant to take on a new meaning:

  • maybe it is to focus on the possibilities for good in living  life with more intentionality than you had before;
  • maybe it is to truly appreciate all as gift and not as possession;
  • tmaybe it is o more freely express gratitude for so much received from God, others, life;
  • or perhaps it is to be more mindful of  the power that resides within you by your very BE-ing to be a presence for positive change.

When I was faced with this question, I said “Yes, I want to live” and gave the medical team my assent to whatever needed to be done. They used all their expertise to help me move through this illness. After more than six months in hospital, I am home and continue to reflect on how my illness continues to speak wisdom to me. In that appreciation, I am finding the need to meet old familiar challenges in new ways, and to dream new possibilities for really living.

To dream the impossible dream” was illustrated very vividly to me when I attended the Stratford performance of the Man of La Mancha. At one point in the performance Don Quixote says, "Take a deep breath of life, and consider how it should be lived". 

May we all learn to take a deep BREATH of LIFE and consider how it should be lived, and in taking that deep breath, be grateful for the ability to inhale it and return it to the universe for more life to the whole.

I was faced with the question, “Do I want to live?” Although I felt spiritually ready to die, there was something in me that said, YES I want to live. What would YOU say and why?

Kathleen Lichti, CSJ


Weekly Pause & Ponder

Humanity is increasingly experiencing itself as a whole, that is, as a collective personality. This collective personality is based on energies that have not yet been recognized. As human beings we are in a pubertal phase. At this moment we don’t know clearly who we are. But the development of this human personality keeps moving ever more speedily forward. At least we realize that friend-foe thinking, nationalism, religious fanaticism, and violence threaten us all and not just within the cordon sanitaire where these diseases are especially raging. What’s more, humans are on the way to becoming human. Even if the messengers of disaster on the nightly news don’t let up, neither will the Divine Principle let itself be blocked in its unfolding. The world is not the failed effort of a second-rate demiurge. It is the work of God who has assured us that everything [he/she] made is good. Humanity has a future because it is a future of God.
Search For The Meaning Of Life: Essays and Reflections on the Mystical Experience, by Willigis Jager, p. 214-15.



‘Ordinary Time’

According to the church calendar we are now in “Ordinary Time.” I don’t know about you but is there any such animal? Could it be because it is “summer time and the living is easy?” Walking the dusty roads of Galilee in the heat – living was not easy. Jesus’ life was never humdrum. Ordinary time for most of us is defined as ‘the work week;” weekends are meant to be “easy.” Talking with a number of our lay staff, weekends are anything but “easy” – there are activities for children, grandchildren, needs of aging parents. Ordinary today is defined as “fill every minute of the day.”

We need to make a conscious effort to get back to the real meaning of ordinary – work, play, pray. This is the trinity of ordinary.

There is a restaurant near here that advertises “NO TIPPING if phones or other electronic devices are not used.” Imagine talking face to face! This would be back to “ordinary time.”

Encouraging children to go out and play – back to ordinary time. Sending a card or letter instead of text or email – back to ordinary time. Sitting down for a meal as a family – back to ordinary time.

Dropping in for a visit – back to ordinary time. Returning the favor – back to ordinary time. I could go on and on – but you know what I mean.

This is ordinary me wishing each of ordinary you some ordinary “easy living.”

Barb Vaughan, CSJ



Eat, Pray, Love

At a retirement dinner with colleagues last year, I was given a small cement brick with the words ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ indented into it. I had read the book by the same title and had not been overly impressed. However, as I have recently gazed at this gift new meaning seemed to pour forth, and some questions.

As living beings, eating is essential to maintaining life. We fortunate ones can choose what we eat.  Do I respect my body enough to mainly eat only those things which are truly nourishing? Do I buy locally produced food? Do I limit the consumption of meat and animal products or consider eliminating these items entirely? Metaphorically speaking, what else am I ‘eating’ from books, movies, the ‘mass media’ and the internet? How well am I nourishing my thoughts?  I have a choice.

As human beings, we seem to have an innate longing to connect with the ‘Divine’, to the ‘Source’, to ‘God’ however we name what Karl Rahner has coined as “the unfathomable holy mystery”.  Do I make time everyday to remain in silence for a while?  Do I seek times of solitude?  Do I attempt to find the ‘sacred’ in the ‘ordinary’ stuff of everyday life?  Do I regularly connect with a faith group to join in a shared worship experience? Do I engage with the natural world through gardening, visiting parks or hiking? I have a choice.

Well what can be said of ‘love’, this English word with multiple meanings?  Yes, we know about ‘romantic love’. And, perhaps our culture has become enslaved to the ‘love’ of ‘things’, to possessing material goods. One definition of ‘love’, however, is ‘agape’ that love that is selfless and unconditional, the ‘love’ that Jesus always talked about.  With a well nourished body and soul, do I go forward to express this ‘agape’ love to all I meet?  How are my relationships with others? Am I taking steps to work towards justice in the world? Do I move from meditation to action? I have a choice.

Maybe there is more to this saying,”Eat. Pray, Love”, and in those three small words, than I had initially grasped!   Maybe we do just need to ‘Eat, Pray and Love’  ...  intentionally.

Ann Steadman, Associate


Weekly Pause & Ponder

To be a disciple of Jesus is not to cling to Jesus but to go forth as part of the cosmic family, to enter into new relationships. The message of Jesus can be summed up in several key ideas: make wholes where there are divisions, forget the past and go forward, allow the Spirit to work in you to create a new future; do these things because God seeks a new presence in the cosmos, a new unity in love, peace, and justice. The whole gospel message is based on the advent of new life. Jesus shows us that new life is possible; indeed, the risen Christ is the hope of the cosmos, the Christ who is coming to be in and through us.  ...Christian life is a way of being related in the world and to the world. It is recognizing that relationships form the field of gospel values rather than gospel values forming relationships.
The Emergent Christ: Exploring The Meaning Of Catholic In An Evolutionary Universe, by Ilia Delio, p. 110.


Copyright 2013. Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada.