Here's what grabbed me and held on (excerpts from chapters 2 and 3):
"The spirit entered into me and set me on my feet, and I heard the one who was speaking say to me: Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites. Do not fear. You must speak my words to them. Open your mouth and eat what I am giving you. It was then I saw a hand stretched out to me; in it was a written scroll.
"He said to me: Son of man, eat what you find here: eat this scroll, then go, speak to the house of Israel. So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat. Son of man, he said to me, feed your stomach and fill your belly with this scroll I am giving you. I ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth. Then he said to me, Son of man, go now to the house of Israel, and speak my words to them."
Ezekiel EATS the word of God - fills his belly with it - lets it become his food, sweet as honey. I love this image! He eats, and God's words enter him to fuel him and form the fiber of his being. Only then is he ready to speak. To speak for God.
Only after swallowing God's presence and making it part of the cells of his body - only after God's message is written within him - only then may Ezekiel speak.
Why do I love this image so much? It expresses why I find LCWR a trustworthy guide during these complicated times. It expresses the challenge that they explicitly recognize and answer.
LCWR begins, always, in contemplation. Contemplation seems a lot like eating God's word. Contemplation begins in physical action: quieting my body. Then it asks me to open without reservation to God's presence and message.
In her 2012 Assembly address, Sister Pat Farrell, OSF, highlighted six key ways to navigate the large and small shifts now underway. Contemplation is the foundation. As she said:
"How else can we go forward except from a place of deep prayer?... We have a lifetime of being lured into union with divine mystery. The path of contemplation we've been on is our surest way into the darkness of God's leading. In situations of impasse, it is only prayerful spaciousness that allows what wants to emerge to manifest itself.... Contemplation draws us toward fruitful action. It is the seedbed of a prophetic life."
LCWR has consistently emphasized the centrality of contemplation. The sisters don't rush. No amount of public curiosity or media attention distracted them from the first essential challenge: the hard daily work of "prayerful spaciousness."
Their clarity in this gives me confidence that they truly speak and live God's message. Before they speak, they take time to eat God's words.