Spiritual Reflections

Balance and Peace

The Paschal Mystery reminds us that living, dying, and rising are all part of our life experience. We learn from Jesus that new life can come from death, that we can find meaning in tough times, that there really is light in the darkness.

Teach me how to trust my heart, my mind, 
my intuition, my inner knowing, 
the senses of my body, the blessings of my spirit. 
Teach me to trust these things 
so that I may enter my sacred space 
and love beyond my fear 
and thus, walk in balance with the passing of each glorious sun. 

Lakota Prayer

This beautiful prayer of the Lakota Indians fills me with a much-needed sense of balance and peace as the horrific images from the Russian invasion of Ukraine bombard our world news. The unimaginable has become a terrifying reality and I have struggled to remain hopeful between some moments of deep emotion and inspiration and other moments of profound sadness and fear. This war comes on the heels of a two-year global pandemic that has overwhelmed us all. In his homily this past January 1st, Pope Francis noted this disturbing reality: “We are still living in uncertain and difficult times due to the pandemic. Many are frightened about the future and burdened by social problems, danger stemming from the ecological crisis, injustices, and by global economic imbalances.”1 

These concerns and losses that burden an already stressful society have similarly impacted our individual lives. The sense of loss on multiple societal and personal levels makes it difficult to provide the space for, or engage in, creative, hope-filled possibilities for the new to emerge. It is timely, then, that this issue of Journey focuses on some topics related to the theme of emotional wellness that may provide insights to help us better navigate these times. 

“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony,” wrote Thomas Merton. Most people would agree that creating and maintaining a balance in whatever we do in life is essential, though most would also agree that this is not always easy. Circumstances, the hectic pace, crowded schedules – all contribute to a loss of connection and even purpose. One of our IHM Congregation’s core values is Wholeness – integrating a rhythm of life that engages and nurtures body, mind, and spirit so as to live life fully. Such a holistic approach recognizes that our well-being does not only rely on maintaining our physical health but also paying attention to what’s going on in our interior self: our emotions, thoughts, beliefs. In this way we are better able to understand ourselves and be a more authentic presence in the world. 

Just as our physical and intellectual well-being require effort and practice, so too does our emotional wellness. It is said that we most often discover our true selves only through another’s eyes. Our relationships with others, with all creation, with God are fundamental to our own personal development and likewise that of others. Writer Margaret Wheatley explains: “When we seek for connection, we restore the world to wholeness. Our seemingly separate lives become meaningful as we discover how truly necessary we are to each other.”2 

This is the message Jesus embodied in his personal interactions with those who came to him seeking to be healed (to be made whole) – the blind, the lame, the ill, the lost. His brief encounter with each of them left them not only cured of their physical ailment but also transformed interiorly by Jesus’ overwhelming love and compassion: “Your faith has made you well (whole).” They were able to see themselves in the light of that love and compassion which moved them to the inner transformation so essential for growth. The Paschal Mystery reminds us that living, dying, and rising are all part of our life experience. We learn from Jesus that new life can come from death, that we can find meaning in tough times, that there really is light in the darkness. The season of Lent calls us to more intentionally seek to clear our own minds, hearts, and souls from all that keeps us from seeing God’s presence in our daily lives and prevents us from being at peace with ourselves, one another, and all creation. Our faith in the God of love and compassion guides us on our life-long journey of conversion and healing that will make us whole. 

“You will find life by giving life, hope by giving hope, love by giving love.”3

Sister Ellen serves as president of the Congregation of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Scranton, PA.

  1. Pope Francis, St. Peter’s Square, January 1, 2022:  ↩︎
  2. Margaret Wheatley. http://www.  ↩︎
  3. Pope Francis. Apostolic Letter To All Consecrated People, 2014: https://tinyurl. com/3dk2trvb  ↩︎

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