Dear Miri, A year ago today, you changed the fate of the world by emerging from the darkness of my womb into the bright, bright world. You've joined your daddy and sister and me on the wildest year of our family's life yet. So many things have changed! Let that lesson always be in your heart: things change, and if you keep moving, you'll find yourself in the most extraordinary places with the most extraordinary people doing the most extraordinary things. Your eyes have always sparkled brilliantly--may your spirit always do the same. Your legs and arms have been strong since you were growing inside me--may you always be brave and bold enough to show others what it means to be a graced, living body. Your older sister is bodacious, but you remain engaged and interested in her presence--may you always cultivate curiosity rather than fear, and may you always turn to your sister when there is no one else your size to turn to. Your parents love you with a great, big, bursting love--may you learn to love others the way we love you. Your godmother will always be a gentle listener and confidant for you, just as she has always been your mother's--talk to her often so you can discover what it means to be a person wholly in love with the world. Your daddy would throw himself in danger's path to save the life of another--learn to care as skillfully, boldly, and wholeheartedly as he does. The ladies in your life are readers and writers--befriend words so you can stretch the limits of your world. You have an enormous family circle, one that soars even beyond blood-ties--remember your family and call on them whenever need arises, because we will be there for you, whatever you need. Sacred presence can be found anywhere for those with eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to love--may your eyes and ears and heart always remain open to the presence of Shekhinah. And if you forget everything else, remember this: you have value just because you are, and no power in the heavens or on earth can ever take that from you. I love you, Miriam-bub. Mama Kate
O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum, super quem continebunt reges os suum, quem gentes deprecabuntur: veni ad liberandum nos, iam noli tardare.
O Root of Jesse, that stands for an ensign of the people, before whom the kings keep silence and unto whom the Gentiles shall make supplication: come, to deliver us, and tarry not.
Thirty-eight years ago, my mother gave birth to my brother. This morning, my sister gave birth to my nephew.This afternoon, I purchased the cassock with which I'll be vested on Candlemas next year when I enter the Benedictine Canon community of St. Mary of the Annunciation as a novice. All these beginnings--past, present, future--fill me with hope, love, and profound faith in the Divine Fire, the One who animates each of us with a bright, tireless flame. The root of Jesse runs deep.