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Posted on: January 1st, 2022

By Sr. Doreen, SSJD.

Sister Doreen’s Reflections

As we begin the New Year – and during this first week, the Feast of the Epiphany falls on January 6,th I have been thinking about STARS. 

One of the thoughts of inspiration that came to me was remembering something I heard said a long time ago, that scientists believed that we were made of stardust!  It has been mentioned and quoted by many people in books since that time.  I thought how wonderful to imagine that within me  dancing there is elements of a star that was once a brilliant glow in the sky.  Imagine – stardust dancing in me!  This thought has always drawn me to the night sky – to the darkness (both outside and inside myself) – the night sky and darkness are what make it possible for us to see the stars. 

In the book “Horse Whisperer” by Nicholas Evans there is a lovely scene where Frank and Tom are sitting by the campfire with their father looking at the stars.  It was such a moment as one sometimes likes to hold on to, and Frank, the youngest son says, “If only you could make now last forever.”  They remained silent gazing at stars for awhile, pondering Frank’s expression of yearning.  After a time of silence the father replied: “I guess that’s all forever is.  Just one long trail of now’s.  And I guess all you can do is try to live one now at a time without getting too worked up about the last now or the next now.”

I found this a very moving and helpful meditation story.  So the stars seem to speak to me and I found myself praying – offer hospitality to each moment of your life and it will unfurl its gift of grace along your path in the shape of a long trail of now’s. 

Life is a whole string of now’s knit together with friendship and songs, heartaches and tears, fears and courage, passion and compassion, depression and elation, patience and impatience, and more.  So I determined for myself, don’t miss life.  Take up your life and walk, whether it’s happy or sad, angry or disappointing, ecstatic, hopeful, heart wrenching or tender.  You name it!  Just don’t miss it!  It is your gift to unwrap as you move along the path in your journey.  It is God offering hospitality to you as you move into tomorrow.

I would like to share with you two things that I found meaningful and thought provoking:  one is a poem by Joyce Rupp called “One Strong Star” and the other is a Hymn from one of our Hymn books here at the Convent called “Gather” that starts with the words “Star-Child”.  I found them full of gifts for reflection.

Joyce Rupp’s poem – “One Strong Star”

I stand gazing at the cold winter sky, thirty minutes after midnight on the first day of the new year
What I see catches my heart and draws me into profound hope.

There in the black winter sky one strong star sings a silent melody, illuminating the heavily clouded heights with a powerful, assuring presence.
I hear it calling to every human soul whose life yearns for something more.

One strong star sends a brave song to those who doubt their own courage.
It shines for the soreness of the planet and for all who die daily in their coffins of discouragement.

I stand gazing at that single star resonating with the shining message:
None of us need doubt our ability to survive.

Hope comes in little ways, it only takes one shining star:
One faithful friend, one wisp of inspiration, one touch of creation’s beauty,
One deep sip of love to keep the illumination alive in us.

In the snow-laden clouds of that first day of the new year
I bow to the heavens and turn homeward, grateful for the quiet in my heart,
And for the singing of  a lone star sending strength to every corner of the cosmos.

Hymn 449 in “Gather”

Star-Child, earth-child, go between of God, love child, Christ Child, heaven’s lightening rod:
This year, this year let the day arrive when Christmas comes for everyone, everyone alive.

Street child, beat child, no place left to go, hurt child, used child no wants to know:
This year, this year let the day arrive when Christmas comes for everyone, everyone alive.

Grown child, old child, memory full of years, sad child, lost child story told in tears:
This year, this year let the day arrive when Christmas comes for everyone, everyone alive.

Spared child, spoiled child, having, wanting more, wise child, faith child knowing joy in store:
This year, this year let the day arrive when Christmas comes for everyone, everyone alive.

Hope-for-peace Child, God’s stupendous sign, down-to-earth Child, Star of stars that shine:
This year, this year let the day arrive when Christmas comes for everyone, everyone alive.