Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Tuesday of the First Week of Ordinary Time: National Migration Week (Jan. 7-13, 2018)

(NB. When the Baptism of the Lord occurs on Monday of the First Week in Ordinary Time, the readings assigned to Monday may be joined to those of Tuesday so that the opening of each book will be read. Readings for Monday and Tuesday are included here.)

Readings of the day: RB 1:6-13
Mass: 1 Samuel 1:1-8; 1 Samuel 1:9-10; Resp. Psalm (1 Sm 2); Mark 1:14-20; Mark 1:21-28
Old Woman in Prayer, known as ‘Prayer Without End’,
by Nicolaes Maes (1634-1693)

My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.

When I hear the story of Hannah I remember with a smile Sister Timothy McHatten, OP (1931-2008), lover of the Word, brilliant Scripture scholar, small in stature, large in heart, beloved teacher of many. It was in the class, ‘Women in the Bible,’ where I wrote a paper on Hannah as presented in the First Book of Samuel. My first attempt at the project was rather pitiful and Sister Timothy made it clear that she would not accept such poor effort. That said, I would not have it any other way. Sister Timothy called her students to be their best selves and produce work that matched their capabilities. Sister Timothy worked with me, carefully reading more than one draft, and coaching me in the fine art of writing a proper exegetical paper.

Encounter with Sister Timothy extended beyond the classroom. In the Jubilee Year 2000 I went on pilgrimage to the Holy Land with a lively group of women and men from the Archdiocese of Portland, Oregon. Sister Timothy was one of the dynamic duo that led us during that trip, the other being our chaplain, a monk of Mount Angel Abbey, himself full of vim and vigor, an excellent tour guide. Sister Timothy, in true fashion, was fully present while remaining behind the scenes so to speak. In other words, she was humble. She had already furnished us with appropriate biblical readings to match each day’s excursions and visits. I still have my collection of postcards from that memorable pilgrimage and bring them out at various times during the liturgical year. Written on the back of each card is the scriptural passage Sister Timothy supplied for us.

Sister Timothy was a remarkable woman. Anytime I showed up at her office door, it was always open. Even with her head down immersed in another book, she looked up and welcomed me, offering me a chair and a listening ear. I always found her answers and direction not only well-informed, but full of common sense. Sister Timothy also instilled in me a love of the Word. When I later taught ‘Introduction to the Bible’, at Mount Angel Seminary (where Sister Timothy taught from 1989-2008), I said on Day 1: ‘If nothing else, I hope you fall in love with the Word during this class.’ Successful or not in my undertaking, I pray I was at least able to share with the students my own love of the Word. Sister Timothy also helped me to make a place in my heart for dear Hannah. When I think of Hannah, I think of one of my favorite paintings, Old Woman in Prayer, known as ‘Prayer Without End’, by Nicolaes Maes (1634-1693). A picture postcard of it is here on my desk. Hannah’s love of God and ceaseless prayer inspires me. Hannah persevered pouring out her troubles to the Lord. The Lord remembered Hannah. The Lord remembers us too when we pour out our troubles, sorrows, and miseries. The living and true God will come to our aid. Thank you, Hannah. Thank you, Sister Timothy. Rest in peace.

Receive the word of God, not as word of men, but as it truly is, the word of God.

No comments:

Post a Comment