St. Thomas Episcopal Church | Medina

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Thoughts and Happenings

Christ in All

Posted by The Rev. Kathryn Ballinger on

From a very early age I knew that I wanted to live as altruistic a life as was possible. It is one of the reasons I became a nurse, and later a counselor and spiritual director. It has been a holistic experience of life and health: physical, emotional and spiritual. I have always been fascinated with people’s stories, each so unique and individual. Even more fascinating is how God has worked in each one’s journey.

I believe in an infinite God who is also very personal. I believe each of us plays an important and unique part in God’s on-going creation of the world. Each one of us is key in that plan, with gifts to share; each one of us is beautiful in God’s eyes.

In my role as a deacon of the church, I love my ministry of pastoral care and spiritual direction. I am retired as a nurse but I still have the privilege of visiting people in their times of need whether it is in a hospital, a care center or at home. For over 30 years spiritual direction has been a special calling and gift. While I listen to people’s spiritual journeys, I feel like Moses standing on sacred ground before the burning bush. One of the turning points in my own journey has been the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, founder of the Jesuits. It is a nine-month retreat in daily life gleaned from St. Ignatius’ own spiritual experience. The retreat has been transformative in people’s lives for over 500 years. I have given this retreat for 30 years first at Gonzaga University and now here in this area.

Since April is poetry month, I’ve selected this poem written by Gerard Manley Hopkins, also a Jesuit. I think it speaks about how beautiful each of us are in God’s eyes.

As Kingfishers Catch Fire….
As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves-goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying What I do is me: for that I came.
I say more: the just man justices;
Keeps grace: that keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is-
Christ. For Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men’s faces.

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