Sister Elizabeth Susan Hatzenbuehler, OSU

Sr. Elizabeth Susan Hatzenbuehler, OSU

San Antonio, Texas

The invitation to be contemplative for me invites a smiling heart and travels back to a retreat near Grottaferrata, Italy. Do come and join me if you wish. The story begins here:

In Rome, a sculptor is carving a lion out of marble. A little boy comes along and pauses to watch. After a while, the child says, “Mister, how did you know there was a lion in the marble?” (adapted from Clowning in Rome, by Henri Nouwen, p. 87)

The sculptor’s answer in Nouwen’s book echoes in my life, indeed in each of our lives, both knowingly and unknowingly, over and over. Slowly I have come to realize the special gift of his answer to the child will be unwrapped in ordinary moments when I become aware of holding and being held. I invite you to unwrap these moments in your life also…

—standing as a teenager on a street corner, aware of my happiness and contentment in that moment,
—eyes and hands lingering over paper splashed with brilliant watercolor hues and lines etched by crinkled Saran wrap,
—being with the elderly sister cradling the dying baby hummingbird in the warmth of her hand,
—sitting on the banks of the Mississippi, listening to the river tell me her story accompanied by the flute player’s longing strains,
—weaving with warp threads of red and white (not really my choice!) but weft threads of every hue and choice…the birth of a dawning realization that my loving Master Weaver and I are weaving my being for others together.

And yes, for each of us, the answer of the sculptor to the child in Nouwen’s book continues to be one of unfolding mystery and discovery:

“I knew there was a lion in the marble because before I saw the lion in the marble, I saw him in my own heart. The secret is that it was the lion in my heart who recognized the lion in the marble.” (Nouwen, p. 103)