Leaning Into the Future
A Reflection by Board of Director, Sister Libby Osgood, CND
As I sit before a picture-window overlooking a New York City street, I see a man knelt on the sidewalk next to his car, pointed towards Mecca and praying on one of the fuzzy, Corolla floor-mats. He is an embodiment of the universal call to prayer, especially for the pedestrians who pass his holy ground and the spectators who are peering out their windows. His witness of devotion is especially apt at this time of year, when many are making resolutions and struggling to keep them, only a few days into the new year.
This man’s dedication is an answer to my recently-uttered plea for motivation, as I am currently filled with angst and unrest, struggling to find the will to revise an academic paper for publication. I suspect many of us are returning to work, searching for ways to reinvest our attention to tasks forgotten over the holiday. In these moments, I turn to Fr Pierre Teilhard de Chardin for inspiration. As someone who devoted many hours to researching and writing, I often pray that his perseverance become infectious. In the Divine Milieu, he said, “I want to dedicate myself body and soul to the sacred duty of research. We must test every barrier, try every path, plumb every abyss.” I find his certainty about the sanctity of research comforting, particularly because the very thought of revising an academic paper inspires me to clean my inbox, delete unnecessary photos on my phone, and tidy my office. Only then, can I consider revising my research article. Instead, perhaps I could approach my work as the sacred duty that has been entrusted to me, as Teilhard avows. Then, I can begin this year with enthusiasm, searching for sanctity in the tedium.
As I look ahead to the potential that 2024 holds, I am reminded of the “little way” of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. Each of our little “yes’s” to keep our resolution or begin an onerous task builds towards a better future. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel once said, “Faith is not the clinging to a shrine but an endless pilgrimage of the heart.” As I watch the man continuing to pray on the street, I am being shown a example of the life-long pilgrimage we are all called to, built on our daily “yes’s.”
So for 2024, may we all be inspired by the many holy witnesses in our lives to continue pursuing our new year’s resolutions to do better, to be better. And, may we become more deeply devoted to sharing our gifts with each other, to work for a more unified future, inspired by Teilhard’s intensity for mission. Lastly, I express a prayer of gratitude for the dedication of the Center for Christogenesis, who create space for us to journey together, and I look forward to seeing what we will create together in the great potential contained in this next revolution around our star we call a sun.
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