Resources for Surprising Abundance

Readings and Quotations

Poem, Testimony, from the book Women's Uncommon Prayer
Contributed by Mary Fitzpatrick, fcJ

Mary discovered this poem on Panhala, a poetry e-group on Yahoo. Panhala is Hindi for "source of fresh water" (more or less). The purpose of this group is to share poems and prose that make the day a little brighter.  There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. (Edith Wharton). Anyone can join this group. You can link to the poem, Testimony, here.


Quotes from an article A Loving Gaze at Religious Life Realites by Sr Susan Rose Francois, CSIP
Contributed by Alicia Pérez fcJ

Alicia found that some sections of the above article that speak quite precisely about surprising abundance in religious life starting at the the section "glimpsing possibility". You can find the whole article here.

Glimpsing possibility To be honest, my simplest advice to vocation directors would be to reach out to young men and women who are filled with excitement about the future, capacity for leadership and creativity. This seems to be who is being called by God to religious life these days any way. In my circle of younger women and men religious friends, I know doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers, community organizers, campus ministers, law enforcement officers, scientists, artists, writers, chaplains, government officials and theologians, just to name a few. Keep in mind, these are work and ministry experiences they bring to religious life. Even the younger religious I know who entered shortly after college bring a depth of knowledge and experience. Many of them participated in life-changing volunteer or mission programs, such as Jesuit Volunteer Corps or Peace Corps, that set them on fire for mission.
There is also a great deal more diversity present in this group than has been part of American religious life to date. For example, CARA reports that the group of brothers and sisters who professed perpetual vows in 2011—my year of final profession—was “more diverse than other perpetually professed religious in terms of their racial and ethnic diversity.” Sixty-five percent identified as white, 19 percent Asian and 9 percent Hispanic. 30 percent were born outside of the United States. (CARA, New Sisters and Brothers, 2) This is just a taste of the diverse cultures and backgrounds that are coming together in religious life for the sake of the Gospel.

Alicia notes that there are some quotes from Walter Brueggeman in the following section, "God's resources". These quotes come from an article in Sojourners. The whole article can be found here.  Here is a short excerpt:

ABUNDANCE OF GOD Biblical faith, having vetoed autonomy, is an invitation away from anxiety to the abundance of God. The God of the gospel is the God who keeps giving. At the outset of the Bible, it is God the creator who sets creation into its destiny of fruitfulness, so that the world teems with abundance (Genesis 1:22-25). It is this same generosity of God that shows up in the wilderness where there is no visible life-support system. Here it is the "bread from heaven" that feeds the people without resources, so that everyone had what was needed for a viable life (Exodus 16:17-18). It is, moreover, the same divine abundance that is in evidence when Jesus feeds crowds with 12 baskets of surplus bread left over (Mark 6:42-43), and then seven baskets of surplus bread (Mark 8:8-9).

Whereas autonomous economics begins with a premise of scarcity, biblical faith is grounded in the generosity of God who wills and provides abundance. And here persons who are members of a covenantal neighborhood respond to divine abundance with generous gratitude, willing to share with sisters and brothers. Those who share, moreover, find in ways they cannot explain that more gifts from God are given. The bread multiplies and loaves abound, a miracle never available to the autonomous. In that world of abundance, covetous greed is inappropriate and mcongruous. So Jesus can urge his followers: "Do not be anxious ... for your heavenly Father knows you need all of these things" (Matthew 6:25-32).


Poem, Spring, by Gerald Manley Hopkins
Contributed by Patricia Fitzgerald CiM

Nothing is so beautiful as Spring –         
   When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;         
   Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush         
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring         
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
   The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush         
   The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush         
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.         

What is all this juice and all this joy?         
   A strain of the earth’s sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden. – Have, get, before it cloy,         
   Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,         
Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,         
   Most, O maid’s child, thy choice and worthy the winning. 

You can find this poem online here.