Desert Nuns

And the greatest of these is…

November 15, 2013 by  
Filed under Nun News Blog


I’ve been slowly making my way through  The Hidden Life from the Collected Words of Edith Stein. Quite uncharacteristically and quite providentially, I actually read the editor’s introduction.  And I came across a lil’ gem:

edithsteinEdith Stein possessed this gift that Gabriel Marcel appropriately calls ‘creative fidelity,’ which means making ourselves interiorly open and transparent. Being ready to give, we experience the mysterious reciprocity between free action and ready allowing.”

Again and again I read this: interiorly open, transparent, ready to give, free action, ready allowing – creative fidelity… WOW. What a fantastic list of words!

Again, quite providentially, someone shared this link with me.  It’s the podcast of The Bishop’s Hour, with guest Fr. John Muir.  Father mentions who else but Gabriel Marcel!  And he unpacks this idea of a creative fidelity, or a creative vow.  It is well worth a listen (and the rest of this post may not make complete sense without listening to the podcast!).  His reflection is just brimming with wisdom. To summarize all that goodness in one sentence (not an easy task): Fr. Muir speaks of how a father, in making a creative vow to overcome distance, makes this leap of love across a chasm of needlessness…a leap out of the self-consumed ego and into self-giving creative love.

To be honest, beyond the quote from Edith Stein and the mention on this podcast, I am pretty unfamiliar with Marcel’s notion of creative vow or creative fidelity.  So I am writing this blog as a beginner not as a proficient!  But…from the little I know and from my own pondering of what it might mean…well, I am pretty excited!  Love.  Creative Love.  Fidelity.  Interiorly open.  Transparent.  Ready to give.  Free Action.  Ready Allowing.  YEEEEESSSSSSS!!!!!!  It’s the journey that all of us – in our deepest center – wish to make…the great adventure of love, a love wholly free from self-seeking and self-reference, a love wholly given over to the Other, a love that is life-giving and new.

In the midst of my ruminating on this, my watch broke.  Long story short, it was irreparable and my parents asked if they could replace it.  Gratefully I accepted their offer and the great watch hunt continued for some weeks, until finally a box came in the mail with my name on it.  Yay.  Inside was a lovely unique watch!  Right above 6 o’clock, is written: Love.  When I saw this watch, immediately I thought: “Oh, how sweet!  They must have gotten this so that I will be reminded how much they love me.”  But the reasoning, in fact, was somewhat different.

Mom explained: “When I saw this watch, I knew it was ‘the one’!  When you look at it, may you remember how you are to respond each moment of the day: Love.”  Wait!  What?  You mean this isn’t about me receiving…but about me giving?!  It’s meant to be a command, not a proclamation.  Love. Even my watch is an invitation to get on the road of self-giving love, to leave behind the way of the self-consumed greedy ego.

It’s been about a week since this new command to LOVE  has been sitting on my wrist.  When I look down at this watch, perhaps in the midst of an irksome situation, that word calls out to me (with the voice of my mom): LOVE.  Sometimes seeing LOVE as invitation to give has a sweetness to it.  Other times it is definitely more of a challenging command.

Even a cursory glance at the lives of the Saints allows us to see how they lived this command of love with a marvelous creative fidelity.  They made the leap of love.  And I would venture to say, they never regretted it.

The ultimate creative fidelity comes by way of our Savior, of course.  I mean, think about it: The Incarnation (talk about leaping across a chasm), the Crucifixion (creative love that saves), the Eucharist (creative love that stays, that overcomes the distance!). francis5

Whether we have a watch to remind us or not, let us ask for the grace to learn how to creatively make the daring and life-changing leap of love.

Enter the Conversation...

6 Responses to “And the greatest of these is…”
  1. Lydia says:

    Very beautiful post .

    Thank you Sister for this eye opener !!

  2. peggy says:

    Love’s simplicity is in its purity and as the giver of the watch, I can safely say, the recepient taught me what love is; by just being who she is: ( A beautiful Child of God’s).

  3. Dianna says:

    Great post. Been reading a lot about letting go of the ego and “dying to the self” and this says it nicely. Currently reading “The Interior Castle” by St. Teresa of Avila…her analogy of “leaving unconsciousness” says the same thing…for it is in the unconscious where our ego hides. Being present, being open and transparent makes it difficult to hide behind our egos.

  4. Caitlin says:

    Dear Sister, I cannot help but relate to your words and those of the podcast. The last three years found me confined to bed with a very serious condition. As I grew sicker, I lost even the ability to keep the hours and the rosary was my salvation in prayer. My spiritual director encouraged me to love every minute of my illness and present it to the lord as my best offering. I did this day in and day out, sometimes wondering if my offer of “love” was enough! In September I had one last chance to see a renowned specialist, this doctor accepted my case and encouraged me to give my suffering away for the sake of Love himself. I gradually began to hand over my creative self as if I was saying goodbye to myself and my dreams. In October I underwent an eight hour operation to alleviate the pain. When I awoke, I wondered if the lord had taken me home—I had no pain!!! I gave my human, meager love to him and he gave me back my life by infusing me with Himself, Love incarnate! How very blessed I am!!! Love was given and because of my openess, Love incarnate was showered upon me! I thank the Lord many time a day for this second chance to show and receive this simple command: Love one another and I will Love you back into existence! Thank you all for your prayers for me—I send my open heart to all of you in Love himself! God Bless you all Caitlin

  5. Judy Kallmeyer says:

    Thank you for these beautiful thoughts. Creative Fidelity! What a marvelous term. How do I creatively respond, in fidelity, to the life to which the Lord has called me! The father overcoming distance should be a model for me–I too must over come the distance that seems to exist between me and my Lord. And I then remember that old adage, “If God seems far away, who moved?” Am I somehow closing myself off from Him? Is that why prayer seems so difficult, and at times, even impossible? Am I transparent with Him, am I ready to give, am I ready allowing? That is, have I given Him permission to take over my life? I like to think that I have. I have asked Him on many occasions to do so, but there seems to be a distance. It has been said that the Lord sometimes makes His presence known by His apparent absence. One of my favorite quotes from the Scriptures is from Galatians where Paul says, “I have been crucified with Christ and the life I live now is not my own, but Christ lives in me.” Have I truly been crucified? Have I truly given up my own life to allow Him to live in and through me? How I thank Him for the gift of the Eucharist in Which He leaps across the chasm which might be of my own making, to unite Himself with me!!! As I consume You, Lord, consume me and create in me creative love, fidelity, transparency, self-giving, free action, ready allowing to make me truly one who lives Your life and not my own. Let me, even in spite of Your seeming absence, continue to seek you with a sincere heart.

  6. Hollie Louise says:

    Thank you dear Sister!! This was fantastically enlightening and calming to read! I wonder, when will Sister Tara enter the novitiate?

Share Your Thoughts...

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar for free here!
Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately...