Transformative liturgy

Sister Miriam Martin, PBVM


Fellow beggars and pilgrims on the journey…

This was one of many provocative descriptions of the liturgical experience used by Sister Miriam Martin, during an afternoon of reflection and renewal hosted by the Congregational Liturgy Committee. 

Approximately 60 Sisters and members of our Sunday assembly gathered in McKinley Hall, at Providence Motherhouse, on October 22 to share their thoughts on the Transformative Power of the Liturgy. Miriam is a Presentation Sister of Newfoundland who teaches at and is also Director of the new Providence School of Transformative Leadership and Spirituality at St. Paul’s University in Ottawa.

Beginning with a Mary Oliver poem When I am Among Trees she spoke of how she is continually transformed by her surroundings.  We heard how our environment and our everyday rituals give form to our lives. Likewise, our Sunday Ritual – the Eucharist, the source and summit of our Christian experience, empowers and moulds us, as individuals, families, and communities. It deepens our identity, defining “who we are” as we establish an order and shape a way of being in the world. 

Each time we come to the table of the Eucharist, we are formed increasingly into that likeness of Christ. Ritual is a gift of  transformation, and a gift to be distributed. The structure of the ritual speaks to our spirituality and the environment of it speaks to our attentiveness.

The four movements of the Eucharist each offer its own opportunity for transformation. Gathering to celebrate calls us to move from “me” to “us”. The Word calls us not only to listen, but to dialogue. Bread and wine prepared, transformed, and shared, nourishes us to unity in Christ. Finally we are dismissed to love and serve.

Liturgy is a pathway that can be a shelter for a while, but is always leading us onward. We are sent to go and do in our communities, in our countries and in the world. As agents of change, we ourselves are transformed. 

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