Dear Newman Community,
If you’re like me, we’re only a couple weeks into 2017 and already I feel the “Happy New Year!” glimmer starting to fade. This weekend students are returning to campus for the spring semester. Soon they’ll be busy with syllabi, then reading assignments, then tests. Soon we’ll be busy at Newman with programs and events Mass on Campus, Midweek Mass and Dinner, etc. Business as usual. Or is it?
While I can feel all this barreling at me like a fast moving truck, a deeper seated part of me says, Wait! Enjoy the newness! Isn’t this spirit of the new and unexpected what we’ve just celebrated with the birth of Christ? Isn’t this sense of seeking what we’ve recently witnessed with the Magi traveling to see the newborn King? Why then, am I so quick to say goodbye to all that and get back to the grind?
There is so much goodness in the everyday. As Catholic author Matthew Kelly writes, “God loves the ordinary.” Yet, one of the fundamental messages of Christianity is that of hope. So rather than just get back to business as usual, I invite us to pause and consider, not simply stock New Year’s resolutions, but how we might intentionally make this new year a time to cultivate a beginner’s mind recognizing God’s abundant goodness, seeking opportunities for growth, and nurturing hope in the ordinary of our daily lives.
Start the New Year with a Beginner’s Mind
“What might 2017 become if I opened it up to the possibility of being a genuinely new episode of my life instead of a tiresome rerun or lame sequel? What if I approached today with an open, eager spirit, forsaking all preconceptions about these free and curious beings who inhabit my life and roam through my territory? Zen Buddhists have a name for this stance: beginner’s mind. Author Shunryu Suzuki notes, “In the beginner’s mind, there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.”
If you want a Catholic name for beginner’s mind, try grace. The divine river of grace flows through our days, inviting us to wade in, play, refresh ourselves, dare to take a risk and do something differently. Grace has the full authority of holy transformation in its waters. Just as you can never step into the same river twice, you never emerge from the river of grace quite the same as when you waded in.”
Excerpt from article of same title,
U.S. Catholic magazine, January 2017
I always appreciate the respite while students are away for break during the Christmas holiday. The hectic season is different from the day to day ministry during the semester, but there is ample time for planning, reflecting and praying. Of course this week, the focus is on family and celebrating the birth of our Savior. As I reflect on the many ways Christ is born anew in our world, I’d like to share this reflection by Fr. Andy from Creighton Online Ministries:
Our religious memory reminds us of why we celebrate Christmas. We could be imagining the holy couple - Joseph and Mary - having made their way to Bethlehem, late and with nowhere to stay. Today, the scene can become very vivid for us, whether we plan to celebrate Midnight Mass tonight or to celebrate tomorrow morning. The crib scene has a story. Our Savior - God with us - did not come into a wonderful palace, like the one David built. Jesus was born into a very lowly place. This is the wonderful sign of God's self-emptying. This is how God chose to come and be among us - as a new born baby, in a manger, a feeding trough. Our Savior comes in this way, and it can become most meaningful today, if we let ourselves chew this good news, in the midst of whatever we are doing. It can mean so much if we let it. It can be a part of what we celebrate tonight and tomorrow. Yes, there might be people and parties, and there might be gifts shared. But, we can be filled with something our world will likely not be celebrating - that our God is a God who desires to meet us in the lowliest places in our lives. God with us, Jesus, comes to "save his people from their sins."
Let us approach the manger of our salvation tonight and tomorrow with great openness to the graces each of us can yet hope for and receive - for our own inner peace, and that we might bring peace to others in our lives, because of what we ourselves have embraced.
Even though the temperature is still hovering in the 70’s and 80’s, Thanksgiving is just around the corner…. and that means time to bake and sell some PIES!!! We will again be baking and selling delicious Pecan, Apple, CranApple and Pumpkin Pies. We will take prepaid orders after all the Masses next weekend, November 11 & 12 and will have pies ready for sale and pick up on the 18 & 19th. This is the major fundraiser for Campus Ministry that helps support our CM programming budget. In order to maximize the fundraiser, we will also have a sign up for ingredient donations on the 11 and 12th. We appreciate your support!
Sharing the 'Good News' of Campus Ministry!