Liminality

Last week’s blog hit a “trendy” stride when I presented the concept of liminality in reference to the spirituality of our liturgical ordinary time and its connection with this pandemic.  I mentioned that there is an analogy here between our faith and the condition of the world. I received several personal notes about the blog and the term liminality.  Someone pointed out that retiring executive editor of The National Catholic Reporter, Tom Fox, quoted Fr. Richard Rohr in his last column.  Fr. Rohr had said, “…liminality is the place where all transformation happens.” Fox ruminated that liminality is generated from contemplation and that perhaps “this virus is forcing us to think what is most important in what we do.”  This appears to have been a major consideration for Fox as his retirement or, his “transformation” loomed.  

I would like to share an experience of liminality I had this past Sunday.  Remember, liminality means that having taken a chance, or having been initiated into something different, one stands on a threshold and looks to the community and contemplates a different purpose, a mission for that community. I had been invited to join a caravan of cars which would parade around our senior living community, Light of Hearts Villa, and honk our horns and wave our posters of well-wishes to the residents within. The Ursuline Sisters organized the caravan for the residents and for seven of their sisters who reside there.  Since I knew the roads around the complex,      

I drove the lead car.  I felt like the escort car for funerals.  In fact, I wondered if this could become a future ministry for me!

It was an exceedingly cold, rainy day so the residents could not come outside. We made our way around the complex, 50 cars in all. I noticed children leaning out car windows and calling to their grandparents, adult children throwing kisses to their parents, sisters waving posters that read, “We Love You,” and “Hugs to All.” A family stopped and got out of their car to wave under a window.  The Mom with her kids was weeping.  We honked our horns; they gathered in windows and doors. We shouted our blessings; they waved back. One elderly woman pressed her hands against her window like suction cups unable to peel away. Between the caravan and the residents was a threshold, not a chasm.  It was the liminality of love. And I was caught off-guard. (Photo Credit: Cleveland.com)

Reflection

I have been thinking of how we might draw together the two communities I was part of that day.  Those of us in the caravan standing at the threshold wanting to touch, to embrace those on the inside of the building who also wanted to touch and embrace and who need it desperately.  Like those first disciples, we are facing a transformation but ours is brought on by a pathogen, not a message of redemption.  

Can I open myself in prayer and listen to what God might be telling me about myself and my connection to the greater community?  Where am I able to do more or give more?

How must I need to be transformed in my relationships with those closest to memy spouse, my parents, my siblings, my friends and the wider community of neighborhood and faith and world?

Can I share an experience in which I was transformed as I stood on the threshold of transformation?

To my Anonymous Angels: Some of you live in different countries which I observe through the analytics of WordPress and I want you to know that I and my readers are with you in prayer and the liminality of connections.    

2 thoughts on “Liminality

  1. Mary Ann, What an upbeat story during some really down times. I loved the pictures… And you always were a leader so I’m not surprised you found yet another way to lead others! Thanks for the boost today! Melannie

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  2. Mary Ann, thank you for this thought-provoking blog. Your words made me realize how I can look at something and not really SEE. You described so well the lmeaning of liminality and the liminality of love. My hope is that we never fail to SEE the ” what” that is in front of us each day. In your photos, I saw longing for love, longing for the warmth of a hug, especially the senior residents, the joy of giving and caring about others. There is so much to reflect upon and meditate about during this time of Pandemic. Let us pray we are all more aware as travel this chasm to the other side of the empty space we al feel at the present time.

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