We’re Moving!

by Melannie Svoboda SND on October 17, 2016

If you’re reading this on your computer, you’re probably sitting down. You might perceive yourself as being stationary. But you aren’t. In fact, every time you think you are not moving, you are wrong. Very wrong. The truth is, you are moving at an incredible speed—every minute of every day.

For one thing, the earth is rotating. How fast is the earth rotating? If you live near the equator, you are going about earth-1170492__1801,000 miles per hour. It’s a little slower the farther you travel towards one of the poles. Why don’t we feel this movement? Because our atmosphere—and everything in it—moves along with us. This means our oceans, trees, cats, houses, skyscrapers, and pumpkins are all speeding along with us. The earth rotates steadily, too, so that’s another reason we don’t feel this movement.

The earth is also orbiting the sun. How fast? About 18.5 miles per second! And our solar system is traveling through our galaxy, the Milky Way. How fast? About 515,000 miles per hour! And the entire Milky Way is moving too, being pulled by the gravitational force of other celestial beings.  And yet here I sit, typing this reflection, and there you sit, reading it, and we are oblivious to the fact that we are being hurled through the cosmos. Amazing!

But what does this talk of movement have to do with the spiritual life? I believe (and maybe you do too) that creation somehow reflects the spiritual life. If this is so, then movement must be an essential element of our spiritual life—sunset-1715717__180just as it is an essential element of our universe. The spiritual life or (more accurately) God calls us to keep moving. In fact, some theologians have said that Original Sin is really a kind of inertia, that is, the desire to stay put, to not move or change or grow.

Scripture reinforces this idea that God calls us to keep moving. What were God’s first words to Abraham? They were: “Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you.” In other words, “Get a move on it, Abe!” God called Moses from the pastures of Midian to the splendor of Pharaoh’s court, instructing him to lead his people to the Promised Land. And what a move that was! One that lasted 40 years!

But not all movement can be measured in miles. When the angel appeared to Mary, he invited her to make an unimaginable move: accept God’s invitation to become the mother of the Most High. And when the angel appeared to Joseph as he tossed and turned in bed at night, the angel told him what his next move should be: take Mary as your wife and raise the child as your own. And in the Garden of Gethsemane, when Jesus begged Abba to re-move the awful death he was about to undergo, and Abba didn’t, then Jesus made an unbelievable move: he embraced his horrific death, trusting in God’s love and wisdom and goodness.

What are some of the implications of viewing our spiritual life as a movement?

First, where are we moving to? Earlier I mentioned the force of gravity. Perhaps we can say that the greatest milky-waynebula-1447563__180gravitation pull in the universe is God’s love. This means we must tune ourselves to that pull and, like Jesus, surrender ourselves to God’s love.

Another implication: we must be open to change, to learning. If we sense we are moving toward selfishness, for example, then we must ask God’s help to move toward greater love of others, one small step at a time. If we are racist or sexist or some other ist, we must tune ourselves to God’s pull toward a more inclusive love. The spiritual life is all about conversion. And conversion means change, transformation, movement.

Some questions for reflection:

  1. What have been some of the major movements in your spiritual life? What or who helped you to make these moves, these changes?
  2. Do you feel the gravitational pull of God’s love right now in your life? Is this pull inviting you to some movement or change in your present life?

The song today is “God Is on the Move” by  the group “7eventh Time Down.” Sometimes I tell you to turn the volume up. But this is a very lively song, so you might want to turn your speakers down a tad. I think the beat of the song mirrors God’s vitality!

Please feel free to share a few of your thoughts with us!

PS: Last Saturday I gave a presentation at the Lial Renewal Center near Toledo, OH. About 65 participants reflected with me on “Three Gifts from Autumn: Beauty, Harvest, and Letting Go.” A big thank you for all who came! This Saturday morning I’ll be at the Laurello Vineyards in Geneva, OH for a presentation entitled “The Spirituality of Hope.”

Then I will be making my annual retreat Oct. 23-30 on our provincial center property. But I will post a reflection for Monday, Oct. 24. (I already wrote it.) Please pray for my retreat. Thank you! And I promise to pray in a special way for all the readers of my blog!

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathleen October 17, 2016 at 5:28 am

Sr. Melannie,

A major move for me was when I discerned that I should go back to grad school for my doctorate. It took lots of support and prayers from family and friends but by the grace of God I finished.

It was a real spiritual quest.

Kathleen

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Mary James October 17, 2016 at 6:36 am

Thanks Melannie
Right now every meditation,reading,song,
speaks to me of surrender. It seems to be the messa
message–surrender to God ‘s movement
Great song and thanks for last weeks humor

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Ilene October 17, 2016 at 10:10 am

Six years ago on this date, I was hit while walking to my car after visiting a muse by a speeding taxi, while I was in the hospital before surgery, I surrendered to the Lord. I knew this was a God job.
I was in the hospital for nine days, the Lord released me from the hospital. Right after the operation, rod and screws in my leg, i didn’t let them operate on my arm which healed a little lower. In ICU, a therapist had me standing up. I required a blood transfusion, but I am walking, dancing, biking.
Ive managed to move from one state to another. I lived my whole life in the previous state and I am the new 5th grade religion teacher. And I am over sixty.
So yes, you got to keep on moving, one foot in front of the other, one day at a time. Also, my good friend died on that same day. She had been valiantly fighting cancer, but had a heart attack on that day.
The Lord takes us on a great adventure, we only need to surrender.

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Ilene October 17, 2016 at 10:14 am

Whoops that is museum not muse. My husband is waiting for me….typing too fast.

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Evelyn B. Allen October 17, 2016 at 10:31 am

Two years ago, I began a new phase of my life. After many years as a facilitator of adult faith programs, I entered a program to become a spiritual director. I graduated in June. More importantly, during that time I was inspired to found a nonprofit organization to provide spiritual growth and discovery to people of faith. With God’s help, that endeavor will succeed. I thank Him daily for my many blessings and also ask Him to keep me “moving”. At 83, that is important!

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Herb October 17, 2016 at 11:15 am

I also need to keep moving at 91 the temptation is to stop both physically and spiritally.But that would be refusing to learn more of our God and universe

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John Hopkins October 17, 2016 at 12:46 pm

I’ll be retiring this June. I have been a teacher for 36 years, and so I guess I’ll be moving into a new phase of my life, a new chapter, if you will. I’ll admit I’m a bit apprehensive. For all those years I’ve been known as Mr. Hopkins, the English teacher, and come the end of June that persona will be gone. The energy of the classroom will be gone. God’s speed to all of us on the verge of a new move.

The Indians are looking good. Looks as if they’re about to make a move!

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Jeanne October 17, 2016 at 1:05 pm

Wow! Just turned 80 and am tempted to slow down. But the comments of your readers are inspirational to me, and an encouragement to keep on moving. Thanks to all!

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Elyn October 17, 2016 at 1:17 pm

Thank you Sister Melannie! I have experienced several big life decisions over the last fifty years. Each decision was based in prayer, backed by footwork, supported with prayer. Currently, I am contemplating retirement in three – five years. The nudge is growing stronger but the fear of the unknown is there too. I will do footwork to prepare and pray for support and guidance. I believe “God is on the move” in my life and trust He will take me where I need to be…

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Joanne Bennardo October 17, 2016 at 5:13 pm

Upon reading the reflection and everyone’s responses, I’m reminded of a quote from St. Teresa of Avila, whose feast day we celebrated last week. Paraphrasing, she wrote, that if we are not moving forward in our spiritual journey, we are moving backwards, for there is constantly movement.
God bless Sister Melannie and the readers who have moved and those anticipating changes.

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Melannie Svoboda SND October 18, 2016 at 8:39 am

A big thank you to all who responded so far this week. Thank you for sharing your stories with us–of significant moves you’ve already made, and significant moves that lie ahead of you. Your responses show that we are one in our apprehensions and fears just as we are one in our faith and hope…And yes, John, the Cleveland Indians are on the move–hopefully to the World Series… Thanks again, Friends! Sr. Melannie

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