Direction Statements

What We Stand For—A Reflection by S. Rita Woehlcke SSJ

As we approach election season, we begin to hear about platforms – what a person stands for, a set of criteria against which you can measure the integrity of their lives, their beliefs, their efforts, their choices.   I find myself longing to cut through the bombast and spin, to discover what psychology calls “congruence.”  Congruence is the place where the ideal self and the actual self-living in the world match.  Words and actions come close to aligning albeit leaving room for the fact that we are all works in progress.

On Saturday October 12, we Sisters of Saint Joseph and our Associates in Mission gathered to make a public commitment to the documents each group had spent two years formulating together.  These documents describe the attitudes and actions that will claim our attention and allegiance for the next five years.  In our tradition they are a daily reminder of how we wish to live as we begin each morning and an instrument of reflection on our choices each evening.

The point of a morning reminder is to set a sacred intention for the day, to attune our hearts to our deeper desires that can sustain us through the vagaries of any given 24 hours.  It reminds me of who I am, who others are and who God is.  It unites me to sisters, associates and all persons of good will who share these values and similarly dedicate their days.

The point of the evening reflection is not a score card!  It is an invitation to savor those moments of being in the flow of grace, faithful and attentive to the who, when, where, and how I got to be inclusive love, where I got to put skin on the kind of God I believe in.  It allows me to humbly see missed opportunities, to remind myself we are all on a journey of “progress, not perfection.”  It gives me a chance to notice what derails me.

I am privileged and grateful to be part of this ever-widening circle of sisters, and lay women and men who are willing to go public with their beliefs.   May we live these documents with joy– “ eyes open, ears attentive, spirit alert, sleeves rolled up,”  “ ready for any good work.”