The Way of The Lamb
The Official Online Newsletter of The Lamb Catholic Worker in Columbus, Ohio Winter 2013-14 Issue 2
"We have a 'rule of life' that is easy to follow, provided we listen to the wise counsel of such people as St. Teresa [of Avila] and St. Francis [de Sales]. St. Teresa understood that weariness of the soul. St. Francis tells us to be gentle with ourselves." - Dorothy Day
Happenings of the Lamb
We, at The Lamb Catholic Worker are in a stage of expectant waiting, at one with this advent season encloaked in dark, cold days and nights, yearnings, restlessness, hopefulness. We seem to take two steps forward and one step back; yet, slowly, steadily fulfilling Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin's vision of a Catholic Worker community here in Columbus mainly for battered women and children of foreign descent. Our vision has widened two-fold into both the inner-city houses of hospitality with city gardens for the poor, as well as a farm to help support these houses of hospitality (and to possibly provide hospitality to a family here and there who need greater concealment). Peter, with his "French peasant farming roots," emphasized this agrarian aspect, as has Msgr. Marv Mottet, our spiritual and community director from Iowa, who is also from French farming roots (French parents who were farmers in Iowa). The good Lord even honored that in Peter by bringing him to his heavenly home forever on the feast of St. Isidore, patron of farmers.
This grand vision of ours has gained only one small donation outside of each others' to begin; yet, we wait in eager anticipation for funds, more workers in the field, and support for this valuable service to our city and community! We have flung seeds far and wide, by the grace of God and the intercession of Mother Mary, putting our first fall hard copy newsletter or an announcement into the hands of over 12,000 church-going Catholics through parish bulletins in the Columbus area, and have contacted all of the Cleveland diocesan priests, and some in the Philadelphia diocese, to get them into theirs as well. Besides carefully placing these seeds, we are patiently giving them time to rest, germinate, and take root. We are encouraged by Fr. McSorley's St. Francis song he constantly sang with his eukele in the D.C. Catholic Worker houses:
"If you wish to live life freely,
take your time, go slowly.
Do few things but do them well,
simple joys are holy.
Day by day,
stone by stone,
build your secret slowly.
Day by day,
you'll grow too,
you'll know heaven's glory."
We do not worry about our effectiveness, about outcome, all those trappings of modern society that are deemed measures of success, but only doing the Will of the Father. His will alone is our delight. And so,
"Those that sow in tears
will reap with cries of joy.
Those who go forth weeping,
carrying sacks of seed,
Will return with cries of joy,
carrying their bundled sheaves." (Psalm 126:5-6)
Two more analogies of this waiting, wanting, advent stage of our community are the compost heap during winter, and the chrysalis. We still trudge through the snow to the compost heap behind the garage - a giant pile of fall leaves, old weeds, fruit and vegetable fragments, eggshells, coffee grinds, pine needles, and the like, with a thick, snowy, icy roof over it. We lift the top of a corner of the pile with a pitch fork, throw the new materials in, and put it back. Some organic changes are happening, but we have them in place for enormous changes when the weather warms. We cheerfully continue to work with it, knowing it will greatly enhance the soils in the gardens of fruits, vegetables and flowers. Come Spring, all will explode with robust life - in full color and glory, reflecting the Creator and His wishes and Will. So, we await Spring's coming as we do our Savior's coming, and as we do the full birthing of this Catholic Worker. The shortest day of the year, Dec. 21, will then begin to turn the tide toward more and more light, warmth, growth, and fulfillment of His designs.
The other analogy within each one of us, is that of the chrysalis (or butterfly cocoon). It appears dead - still, non-moving, dark inside. Drastic changes are miraculously taking place though, in this full metamorphosis into a new creature. Such a changing within can only occur by drawing in with the Creator, long spells of time in Eucharistic Adoration with our Lord and changer of hearts and souls. We are trying greatly to do this more and more, even in our busy schedules, with Christ as our role model. Before beginning His public ministry, even He had to withdraw to the desert for 40 days to wrestle with His demons, to sort out all in His mind before the great leap. For us, this silence with Him, paradoxically, creates more restlessness to hear His voice, the voice of our Beloved, to be a person after His own heart, like St. John of the Cross; and to let down our defenses and walls to allow Him to come to us and love us.
Peter Maurin, was in this restless, prayerful state for more than 7 years, grasping the poetry welling up in his heart, getting down scribbles on paper of his "Easy Essays" that he knew would one day fully flower if he could find the right person. This was all until he could not be contained in his chrysalis any longer - bursting forth to find that person to help begin all this. He wandered from place to place as the ideas and spirituality germinated, talking to every person put into his path by the Holy Spirit. He did not give up. Finally, he met that special person in Dorothy Day. Msgr. Mottet always said that if/when Dorothy Day is be canonized, Peter should be alongside her. She always said that Peter was the true founder of the Catholic Worker Movement. This is coming, and we believe, our Catholic Worker houses of hospitality and farm are coming (16,000 hits online). We wait in joyful hope.
We also await the humble, glorious coming of a fragile, vulnerable, helpless newborn once again, to save us. Our community is in its infancy, and seeing that the Lord and Savior of the world began his earthly presence in so delicate and precarious a state gives us much hope! Come Lord Jesus. He speaks most tenderly to a waiting, expectant heart, and so, we encourage all of you to get to Eucharistic Adoration often this holy season. Have that date with Jesus often. We are too blessed to be stressed, and all other details truly do not matter as much. Also, make 2014 be the year that you fully become a daily communicant, even if it means getting up very, very early (and with little sleep the night before). Seek out your Lover in the early morning. Jesus constantly woke up before dawn to be one with the Father. My role model is a mother at St. Catherine's who has rarely missed with many toddlers, young children, and babies in tow (and pregnant many of those times). Yes, she has had to constantly deal with their antics throughout mass and up the communion line, but that never stopped her drive to be one with her Lover. It continues to be a fabulous role model for all of her children, also modeled so well by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin. Whatever you desire for your adult children to do one day, do it yourself right now. Your Father in heaven wants it for all his adult children who have access to churches. He multiplies time, then, in your given day, helping you complete all that you should while eliminating the rest.
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL OF YOU AND YOUR FAMILIES! PRAY FOR US AS WE DO FOR YOU! Our model is very similar to a religious order - in our level of prayer commitment, of promises to poverty, chastity, obedience (to a Catholic Worker Rule), and to upholding the sacredness of all human life; and in our seeking to fully live together in community when we can get the properties. Of course at the heart is hospitality to mostly Hispanic and Somali (yet others as well) battered women and children. It is distinct from a volunteer program in this manner - it is a commitment to community in regards to our time, talent, treasure, and being together. It is not to the level of the Franciscans, Jesuits, Dominicans, nor even the Jesuit Volunteer Corps or the Peace Corps, but we are stumbling along, hopefully according to the Will of the Father for this mission. Please, please pray for us! Dorothy Day, Peter Maurin, Mother Mary, and St. Joseph continue to intercede for us!
"Be sure to draw on his strength, his gentleness, and his patience -- because you will need it. And remember: not only are you called to be patient with people but also with the Shepherd, who takes no shortcuts. He has a perfect plan, and he will accomplish it in his own time." (Word Among Us, Dec. 10, 2013).