The Other Side of Light

April 1, 2023

Dear Friends,

It feels appropriate that, before we resume gathering together in Lavish Mercy tomorrow, I comment a bit on my time away from the blog.

First, I sincerely thank you all for your prayers and encouragement. In a shadowy time, you gave me the generous lights of comfort and joy. I am deeply grateful.

Now, as I continue to heal from a time of unexpected vulnerability, I have the advantage of being able to reflect in peace on what has happened to me. 

Part of that peace and healing has been a move to our Motherhouse, a loving community where I have the support and care I need right now. I am blessed beyond words by this gift.

This photo was taken in the early 1900s for the Merion Historical Society

My new room is on the very western end of the building (See blue arrow above.) However, I look out my ample windows not to a sunset horizon – but instead to the imposing wall of our magnificent chapel. Some were concerned that the “wall view” might not be optimal. They didn’t realize that the wall housed an unexpected gift – a bird’s eye view of the glorious rose window that, for over a century, has blessed our chapel with dawn Light.

And I am now on the other side of that Light as it flows over my beloved community – a place that feels ever closer to God with each sunrise.

Sometimes, especially in the evening, I will catch a lovely glow within chapel on one of the several stained glass windows. I consider these my own special sunsets given only to me for my unique reflection. These windows are icons for me as I pray and learn from my own little “passover experience” this winter. 

Evening Window from the Outside!

During times of suffering, loss, or unchosen change in our lives, it is hard to turn to the Light. As we begin our Holy Week walk, consider that Jesus faced this struggle in the shadows of Gethsemane. There, he taught us what it takes not only to turn toward Light, but to become It.

Then going out he went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. 

When he arrived at the place he said to them, “Pray that you may not undergo the test.”

After withdrawing about a stone’s throw from them and kneeling, he prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done.”

And to strengthen him an angel from heaven appeared to him.

Matthew 22: 40-43

As it was with Jesus, a “Gethsemane moment” in any of our lives is an invitation to abandon ourselves in trust to God’s inscrutable Love — a falling helplessly, but hopefully, into a Love that changes everything.

For Jesus, his embrace of God’s Will in that tenebrous garden opened his heart to the glory of the Resurrection and led him to the other side of Light. How might such self-giving open and lead us?

Love Changes Everything – Andrew Lloyd Webber, Don Black, and Charles Hart

85 thoughts on “The Other Side of Light

  1. Lucille Hillerman

    I’m am beyond thrilled to be receiving Lavish Mercy again. I am happy you are where you can be taken care of if the need be. Please know you remain in my daily prayer.
    Thank you for this beautiful reflection! ❤️🙏

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Marcie McCann

    Renee, what a delightful surprise to read you back in action. More importantly, what a beautiful reflection so pertinent to the “letting go” we each experience. You were prayed for daily through this winter of your life. Marcie McCann

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pat Murphy

    So happy to know you are in good hands in your new dwelling “next to the Lord’s house.” illness reminds us that we only have THIS moment to serve in love. Your song choice seems perfect both for the time of year and for your new awareness of the gift of life. May you remain in this state of peaceful acceptance.
    Gratefully, Pat Murphy, CSJ

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Krystal

    Your beautiful reflections and artwork have been sorely missed! We are so blessed to have you return to them. Thank you for your courage. You have been in my prayers.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Patti McNamee

        Sending you my love and many prayers wrapped in the silence of my heart. Your message is beautiful. I know exactly where you are now, where you live and how you are accepting this physical challenge. Naturally, you have welcomed the changes in your life with grace.
        ( That magnificent building and the windows to the world hold many memories.)
        Looking forward to your future entries as you continue to offer so many of us spiritual guidance. Thank you for sharing your bounty of talent, Renee.
        Love from a distance, Patti (and Catherine too)

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Consoline Guckian

    What a lovely surprise to find you are back again Sister. Mornings here in Ireland haven’t been the same since you left! Welcome home and thank you for sharing yourself so generously. Dia is Mhuire Duit!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Renee, I’m glad you are feeling better. Thank you so much for sharing so beautifully every day. You strengthen my prayer life each day. One thing—please take each day slowly and bask in a warm embrace of our loving God. 🙏🏻🙏🏻❤️❤️😊😊


    1. Maryann Burgoyne

      Renee… what a thought provoking reflection. The Love Music was perfect. Never grow old as it is only a number. Be at peace here at Merion. My prayers.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. mckropp47

    Thank you for your update, dear Sr. Renee. Be assured of continuing prayers for you, your new home, and the beautiful gift of “you” that you share so generously as you “Lavish Mercy” to each of us! 💗

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Jane M Pianucci

    Dear Sister Renee, So happy to see your post and thankful you are feeling better. What a gift to have you on our Holy Week journey. Praying for your continued healing 🙏🏻 Jane Pianucci

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ellen Turner

      Your friends and admirers in Maine and so happy you are making such good progress. If you are in need of salty air we can provide and we’ll take good care of you. Such a joy to see “Lavish Mercy” in my email again.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Dolores (Dee)

    You have been dearly missed all these weeks
    You bring light back to us with your inspirational posts, Sister.

    Thank you for sharing a portion of your difficult journey with us, as you return to your blog.

    I was just saying to a friend this morning, that whatever I do, I am mindful that I am providing a role model for my daughter. And you, Sister Renee, are doing the same for all of us by sharing your positive outlook on what you have endured during your illness. You are showing us how to cope with adversity with faith and grace.

    Thank you!

    Prayers for your continued recovery,

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Carla Jansen RSM

    Oh what a joy to see you back again Renee. Thank you for sharing something of your recent journey with us. It is a lesson to me in how to accept sudden changes in life.
    Continue to feel better.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pat Lapczynski RSM

    Welcome back. Continued prayers for you as you transition to this new chapter. Thank you for continuing inspirations that you gift us with. Blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Trish Mahony

    Renee. What a joy to again read and ponder on your meaningful and prayerful reflections. May you be blessed with graced healing.
    Thank you for who and all that you are.
    Trish Mahony rsm 🙏🙏🌹🌹🍀🍀

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Barbara smiley

    So glad you are feeling better and settling into your new digs. I am thrilled you are able to resume lavish mercy as I have gained so much from your insights. My continued prayers for you, Barbara Smiley

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Prayers of thanksgiving that you are feeling better & sharing your reflection with us. Prayers continue for healing. And what a beautiful reflection of the window, light & the other side.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Karen

    Renee, so grateful for you and your continuing companioning. Life is so precious and fragile. Your reflection once again reminds me of that. Please be assured of my continued prayers for you strength and healing.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Assunta Boyle

    Welcome back I’m happy you are feeling better and I am grateful for your beautiful reflections. Thank you. Assunta ________________________________

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Mary Anne Basile

    Don’t know what happened to my reply. So grateful for your inspiration. You are blessed and we are blessed by your sharing. I love you Renee.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Sue Worthington

    Thrilled how your windows have opened your eyes to a “new view” that others would have not seen! All your pictures have touched my heartstrings and hearing how you have found such JOY in your heart!
    Welcome “home”, Sister!!! You have been missed!

    Liked by 1 person

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