Monday, April 15, 2013

one thing I ask

1917 postcard depiction of view from Mount Bonnell
[Courtesy of Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries

My junior year as a University of Texas student, I often felt overloaded by an avalanche of emotions—worries!—about the future. Looming at the center of it all was discerning whether I was being called to religious life, and wondering what I would do with the degree in Journalism I was undertaking.

On days when I yearned for clarity and peace away from campus and the University Catholic Center where I was intensely involved, I would get away to two special spots in west Austin: the “Pink Sisters” monastery at the top of a hill on Exposition Blvd, and the road to Mount Bonnell overlooking Lake Austin.

As an island girl, the sight of water has always been an especially calming influence for me. If and when time allowed it, I would also park, take the walk up the steps and sit on a rock at the highest point in Austin—Mount Bonnell Park. But often just parking for a while on a hill spot where I could see the water below me was enough.

Although the community is no longer there, I will never forget the deep and instant peacefulness that bathed my spirit every time I walked into the Pink Sisters Adoration chapel—or the fact that I could always count on those doors to be opened! Those cloistered women will never know the gift they were to me, or how often the graces of their prayers for the world walked with me.

On those drives, there was often one song playing in the background, the St. Louis Jesuits' version of Psalm 27:

"This Alone," St. Louis Jesuits

The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?

One thing I ask of the LORD
this I seek:

To dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD
and contemplate his temple.

I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.