Blessed are the poor in spirit… Novena Day 1

Artwork by Sr. Margaret Hoffman, SNDdeN

What is “poor in spirit?” For me it has a great deal to do with the treasure of time. Used wisely, for the benefit of loved ones and friends it becomes a means of healing, hope, laughter-a blessing for us as well as for others. But we can find ourselves so preoccupied with work, responsibilities and dealing with “things” that we have little energy left for quality time with family and friends–and for quiet.

Sr. Dorothy would say: STOP! Give yourself space to smell the flowers and marvel at nature.” She would invite us away from preoccupation with ourselves to give time to those in need. She would say: “Remember that you have a special Friend who wants to spend time with YOU!”

Dorothy always carried her Bible with her. It was well-worn, taken on long walks to remote villages in the woods, with her as she slept overnight in an office where the official purposely delayed seeing her. “Over time it is no longer hard to give a Gospel response,” she said. “We can prioritize time for ourselves. We can modify our busyness and lighten the burden of too many things.” We can make time to be with the One who is always present to us. Thus poverty of spirit becomes transformed in time into the richness of pure gold.

“Once Sr. Dorothy reached an area where people were living, she would have to walk for hours to find them deep in the forest….Fr. Lucas asked if there was a family willing to have Sr. Dorothy live with them for a while. At first, the request was met with silence. The poor settlers lived in shacks with dirt floors, no running water and no electricity. They barely had enough to eat themselves and wondered why this American nun would ever want to share their poverty with them. Eventually, Dona Antonia Barbosa and her husband, Dio, offered to allow Dorothy to move in with them and their 10 children….Dorothy arrived at their door carrying a box that contained all she needed, strung up her hammock, and made herself at home. She lived there for the next two years ….” (Excerpt from: “Martyr of the Amazon” by Sr. Roseanne Murphy, SND)

PRAYER: Generous and compassionate God, Help me to learn how to simplify and focus my life in order to be more available to others. Increase my consciousness of your Presence in my life. Amen.

ACTION: Sr. Dorothy loved nature. Take time this week to marvel at the beauty of nature.

This reflection was written by Sr. Margaret Hoffman, SNDdeN, Justice & Peace Coordinator. Sr. Joan Krimm, SNDdeN, selected the Dorothy Stang quotation.