Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 7, 2000
Smell the roses for the jubilee
By ANH HOANG
WCR Staff Writer
Taking time to stop and smell the roses could bring us one step closer to a deeper relationship with God, said Sister Fay Trombley.
Or taking that time to stop and meditate, or take a bubble bath or just to sit and stare outside at the ice dripping from the branches of a giant evergreen. These are times of rest and there is no time better to rest than in this jubilee year.
Trombley spoke to about 30 people at Newman Theological College Jan. 30. Her presentation, Let the Land Lie Fallow, was the first in a series of talks which explore Christian spirituality in the jubilee year.
"There are only two directions you can go in life," Trombley said. "You can go a bit closer to God or a little bit further away.
"That's what we're trying to do in these five sessions, move closer to God."
This is considered a Sabbath jubilee year, a year of rest. Christians have traditionally held the seventh day as a day of rest and homage to God. It is this Sabbath idea that can also be translated to years and decades.
Just as land should be kept fallow and rest on the seventh year of harvest, so should our spirits, said Trombley, a professor at Newman College.
"The land can mean three things - the land of Israel, the earth or the land of my own being. I am the land also.
"What (the book of) Leviticus says is we have to have respect for the land, the land being any of these three things."
Trombley combined the themes of the land and Sabbath to reflect the need for personal rest, particularly during this year of jubilee.
"What we want to find out is what is the essence of jubilee," Trombley said. "Part of it is this time of rest."
The meaning of Sabbath, said Trombley, is to cease from business, gossip and travel.
Sabbath is also a time of rest. In this Sabbath jubilee year, it is of greater significance to take that time to re-generate and re-create. It's a year to return home, not only to the physical ancestral home, but also to the spiritual home - to return to God.
"Return to your inner self. Your deepest self is your home and God is within your deepest self," Trombley said.
Trombley also refers to this kind of rest as heart and soul rest.
Sabbath is a time to be holy. It's a time to complete the personal wholeness and find the spirit that might have been lost over the years.
And Sabbath is meant to be a pattern. It is recognized every seventh day of the week and celebrated every seventh year and after every seven times seven years. The things we do during those times need to be repeated throughout our lives, said Trombley.
And in keeping the Sabbath in these four ways - by ceasing to do business, gossip and travel, by resting, by keeping it holy and by making it a pattern in one's life - God promises two blessings, said Trombley - "that (he) will give us security and we would have our fill."
Trombley said even she sometimes has difficulty with letting God give everything to her.
"Why do I feel better if I do it myself. It's quite a challenge to sit back and let God give us our fill. (God) says the Sabbath of the land will feed us. If I take the Sabbath, my heart will be fed."
Trombley encourages Sabbath for the land of the earth as well as the person. Without this Sabbath, consequences, such as pollution for the earth and a physical ill-being for the person, could result, she said.
"All creation is permeated by the Great Spirit. If we think of it this way, it would be a disservice to the Creator to misuse all these things.
"We are born from the dust of the land . . . and to dust we will return. We hear that every Lent. I have to let my land rest because it belongs to God."
Four more talks will be part of the series on spirituality, all on Sundays at 2 p.m. at Newman College. On Feb. 13, June Miller will speak on forgiveness; on March 12, Adela Torchia will speak on justice; on March 26, Anne Riley will speak on liberty; and on April 2, Sister Theresa Hucul will speak on Sing a New Song.