I just spent a weekend as a guest of the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart (the Joeys of Mary McKillop fame) at their retreat house in Shoalwater, Western Australia. I was spending time with a peer group that meets for mutual growth and accountability. While there I became aware of the near 30th anniversary of the cruel death of Sr Irene McCormack. She was kidnapped and executed while establishing education programs in remote parts of Peru. The full story and artwork of “Resurrected Irene” is here.
What struck me as a sister was telling this story of her close friend who came originally from the wheatbelt town of Training, WA, was the proximity of the mix of living the life of crucifixion and resurrection to which Christ calls us.
Today’s daily meditation from Richard Rohr addresses the question of “choosing love in an age of evil.”
He says: “The Divine Mind transforms all human suffering by identifying completely with the human predicament and standing in full solidarity with it from beginning to end. This is the real meaning of the crucifixion. The cross is not just a singular event. It’s a statement from God that reality has a cruciform pattern. Jesus was killed in a collision of cross-purposes, conflicting interests, and half-truths, caught between the demands of an empire and the religious establishment of his day. The cross was the price Jesus paid for living in a “mixed” world, which is both human and divine, simultaneously broken and utterly whole.”
As I reflect on particular challenges that call us to engage in a world that is struggling on so many levels to survive and that sees many resorting to “me first” practices, the summons to love in a way that both embraces sacrifice, yet at the same time, releases new life is particularly poignant.
The story of Sr Irene inspires me to continue to embrace the pain and struggle of helping others blossom and righting wrongs in order to bring fulness of life with the courage and poise that is committed to the joyful outcome, no matter what.