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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8 Comments

  1. Mary Pat Garvin, RSM on January 11, 2024 at 6:42 am

    Libby, LOVED your reflection! Thank you for the quote from Pierre Teilhard de achardin! It will help me STOP doing “lateral work” today and take that deep drive into what is more important to do in my ministry.
    Mary Pat Garvin, RSM

  2. Theresa on January 11, 2024 at 8:34 am

    Each little “yes” brings us closer to the critical mass of deeper consciousness and world view – co-creators in the big plan.

  3. Debra Kehl on January 11, 2024 at 8:35 am

    So beautifully written. I will continue to ponder what you shared. Memories? Working downtown Louisville in the 70’s often I saw a guy who sat in meditation next to the bldg. He always inspired me. Some walked by him and snickered, but I marveled at him. Little things with Big results? Who knew back then I would later become a yoga teacher. What we need today are Role Models? ????????

  4. Joe Masterleo on January 11, 2024 at 8:55 am

    Well said by both Libby and Mary Pat. Lord, guide Ilia, staff, board, and all those who seek to complete Teilhard’s mission in discovering a new, future-looking cosmology, a simple way of seeing and knowing that preserves perennial principles while leaving a fresh new trail. Guide them on that untrodden mythical path between the established forces of scientific materialism (empirical rigor), religious orthodoxy, and academic psychology, all of which claim pieces of the mystery but miss the whole of it. Strengthen and inspire them amid the tedium and demands of their days and labors by an implanted knowing (heart) that’s unfathomably deeper than knowledge (head), one promised in your Word, fueled by your fiery Spirit (Jn 14:26, 1Jn 2:20, 27).

  5. Jan Heckroth on January 11, 2024 at 11:21 am

    Thank you for your vulnerability and humanness, it so blesses the rest of us.
    And, I will offer my donation soon!
    We are all in this together…
    Love, Jan Heckroth

  6. Julia S. Stesney on January 11, 2024 at 11:45 am

    As the man at prayer inspired you, Sister Libby, I thank you for the inspiration to press on with the work of building our future in Christ, and for this platform to share in this work.

  7. Linda Lavery on January 11, 2024 at 1:29 pm

    Thank you for your beautiful reflection which becomes a source of both meditation and action to live and see differently. Thank you for the reminder that it is our little yes’s that make the difference in creating and moving us toward a new way of being in and for our world. May we have the strength and courage to persevere in our”pilgrimage of the heart”.
    To support you, I pray for your motivation, inspiration, and creativity in revising your academic paper.

  8. Maco Cassetta, cnd on January 21, 2024 at 7:14 am

    Thanks Libby for a great reflection. I love the inspirations that can help me to move ahead. Maybe it’s an invitation for me to notice as you have and reflect on the little ways that lead me to engage in a pilgrimage of the heart. All gift and precious. And with that, I can be motivated to trust in what lies ahead. May it be so!

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