Springing into Action For the Life of the World

By Sister Kelly Moline, OP (English version)

A spring is created when water moving underground finds an opening to the surface and emerges, sometimes as a trickle, maybe only after a rain, and sometimes in a continuous flow. A spring is formed when the side of a hill, a valley bottom, or other excavation intersects groundwater at or below the local water table, below which the subsurface material is saturated with water. A spring is the result of an aquifer filled to the point that the water overflows onto the land. The amount of water that flows from a spring depends on the size of the caverns beneath, the water pressure in the aquifer, the size of the basin, and the amount of rainfall.
Likewise, the call from God. The Spirit’s natural propelling force, girded in an undercurrent of trust, has created a verdant spring field from the Springfield Dominican mission: generations of sisters and their partners in ministry expending their energy to serve God and neighbor for 150 years.

Freeing our hearts

The call to ministry is nurtured in the groundwaters of baptism and flows from an internal attunement to the movement of the Spirit.
The founders of the Springfield Dominican Sisters responded affirmatively to the Spirit’s “expansion project.” These seven women relied on God’s grounding Providence when they “petitioned the Holy Spirit” as they pondered how to respond to the news that they were no longer affiliated with the Dominicans in Kentucky. Their basins were filled with a little bit of heartbreak, a trickle of anger, and a surge of trust in God. Each sister, “searched her own heart, weighed her own zeal, and measured her own vision” as she prepared her decision. Each sister signed the contract affirmatively. From that moment forward the Spirit and various new missions began to spring up in a variety of ways throughout the United States and Peru.

God’s invitation

Like groundwater that reaches the surface by dissolving a network of cracks and fissures, God’s invitation enlarges our hearts’ capacity for the love of Christ, expanding within us so that, filled to overflowing, Christ’s love freely flows from WITHIN us—For the Life of the World. This was a truth the sisters’ first pastor, Father P.J. Macken, somehow knew, and the sisters would soon discover, too. Their expanding assent has made clear the path for generations. Now we offer our testimonio de vida in the spirit of Christ.
Whether we are taking on new ministries or expanding our minds, hearts, and consciousness, we learn the Truth that Christ is present within us and all around us. We walk together in Christ. In this way we are opened to encounter ourselves, one another, and the world.

“Spread thin”

Borrowing from the Celtic concept of “thin places” leads us to ponder: When we are “spread thin” in our ministries because there are fewer sisters available for service, are we drawn closer in relationship? Is our service, our witness, and our Dominican life more transparent? Perhaps the Holy Spirit and the design of our very Earth are helping us learn: it’s the underground current that affects the flow, and the flow determines the energy that feeds the spring.
Much as each pioneer sister had to, “search her own heart, weigh her own zeal, and measure her own vision” while discerning how to respond with her life, we are invited to ponder the caverns of our hearts and listen for the Truth that speaks to each of us in the unique language of our heart.
The impulse of the Holy Spirit, like water that flows from a spring, is not always clear. Therefore, we rely on the depth and breadth of our call—the “recharge basin” of Dominican prayer, study, community and ministry—to shape the outpouring of the spring that is the Holy Preaching.

We remain faithful to monitoring the water level in the basin of our heart for the flow of gratitude, commitment, determination and deep joy. We regularly test our spring as we reconnect with that familiar sound of God’s voice and prepare our “echo” of prayer and service.

Living for the Life of the World

A spring’s resurgence is determined by its recharge basin. How are we filling our recharge basin and how is our prayerful presence helping others to fill theirs? Are you offering a helping hand at the local homeless shelter? Teaching an immigrant woman to read so she can help her children with their homework? Visiting a dying hospice patient, or encouraging a tired nurse at the end of a long shift? Writing your state representative? When did “trusting in the Providence of God” help you to spring into action? How do each of us remain faithful to filling, being filled, and refilling our basins and our neighbors’ as we offer our testimonio de vida?

Whatever your call and response look like; this is how the spring field flows FOR THE LIFE OF THE WORLD.

Sister Kelly is a chaplain at St. Dominic Hospital in Jackson, Miss.

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