What does it evoke in you?
I see huge eyes, forlorn and hopeful at once. They can't tear themselves away from the moon and sky, the vast overarching Mystery.
I see a mouth full of uncertainty. A huge nose sniffing for invisible clues.
I see a big bulky body, unsuited for flight, that has nonetheless grown tall improbable wings.
I see stillness. Attentiveness. Patience that may be required, may be painful, but is also genuinely chosen.
Everywhere, grays and glimmers. Does the sky hold storm clouds, or obscured swirls of Starry Night?
Sometimes, this is a portrait of me. I hope with all the intensity of those deep dark pools of eyes. My eyes hold the moon that floats so far away; yet it is also in me: my body wears the the colors of Sister Moon. Sometimes forlornly or uncomfortably, I am part of the great Mystery... and I long to fly into its joyful heart.
I wonder if that's how it has felt for some of the members of LCWR this past week, during the Assembly.
So often, I see these women as New Testament prophets - prophets who proclaim love and truth in the same breath; prophets who speak honestly but without condemnation; prophets whose lives testify to the radical truth of Jesus Christ. I see them in profound union with Jesus who gave his life so that we could discover the radiant burst of Life found only at the center of the opposing beams of the cross.
Is that where they felt themselves to be, that last day of the Assembly? They heard Archbishop Sartain, who seemingly was warm and personable but with no clarity about what problems the Vatican wants solved, or about possible paths toward resolution of the 2012 Vatican mandate for "reform" of LCWR. They heard, in private, from the LCWR officials who have been meeting with Archbishop Sartain and Bishops Blair and Paprocki during the past year, seeking those same answers. And they honored Sister Pat Farrell, whose life and words remain the best articulated call toward spiritual growth and prophetic life that I've experienced in the past decade or more.
So, to me, that last Assembly day looks like: Good news in the person of Sister Pat... preceded by private news from LCWR officials... preceded by no news from Archbishop Sartain... in a context of bad news created by the Vatican mandate.
That is a very tough place to be. An even tougher place to remain patient. A very, very tough place in which to live with compassion, prophetic nonviolence, and joyful hope.
For me, Andy Galsworthy's Stone Houses are also - and much more aptly than Klee's painting - an image of LCWR's congregations: permeable and open to the realities all around them; making of themselves a shelter for one another; and solid and balanced in the center. This is an image that beautifully expresses my experience of solidarity with them - that TOGETHER we and they make a permeable shelter for one another, that TOGETHER we stay peaceful and solid, at rest in balance together, at the still point of the turning world - where Light will find us.
May it be so.