Mary Oliver quotes this line from a friend of hers in the essay, Winter Hours, found in her book of the same title. I have been fixating on this line since the new year began. I love it. It implies choice in the matter, and it implies the reality of grace at work in our lives.
Tonight our community celebrated with our new sister, Kathy, as she chooses to put herself in the way of grace for the next year as a novice in the community. As I told her, I am a bit jealous of, but mostly joyful for her. The novice year is one full of grace because of its intentionality and sacredness. The purpose of the year is to grow with God, and all of its components (learning, time deepening relationships with community, exploring art, exploring self, and living in much silence/solitude) are beautiful ways of putting oneself in grace's path.
As our prioress reflected on a line from the Rule of Benedict, I reflected on my own year of grace that just ended not too long ago. My own experience was so wonderful (hence the jealousy). And its graces are only just beginning to show themselves in my daily life.
Sr. Anne reminded us in her reflections of a line from RB chapter 4, the Tools for Good Works, "Your way of acting should look different than the world's way." It is quite a countercultural/different choice to make a conscious decision to put yourself in the way of grace, rather than in the way of self-reliance or materialism. The graces of my novitiate come to fruition when I find myself demanding less and giving more, being more open to reality as it presents itself, while being able to have a better attitude about it. (Sometimes...still a lifelong journey to go!)
I am so, so happy that Kathy has chosen the way of grace for the next year and beyond. The way that allows God to be God in one's life while experiencing all the blessings that this way of living holds and unfolds. Blessings on Kathy as she journeys through this year.
May we, too, put ourselves in the way of grace.
Let us walk in the holy presence.
(All this snow had melted when I walked past today!)