I knocked on the door of the convent with great anticipation. It was the winter of 2008, and I was undergoing cancer treatment for 3 months in a community outside of Los Angeles. I was far from home, and I was alone, and for this day I had planned a day of quiet reflection and meditation at a small convent in the middle of Hollywood, California. The convent sat on 8 acres above the noisy neighborhood of contrasting virtues. This day was a cold day, even for a Southern California winter. But it was also a sunny day, and so I felt that it would somehow be a special day. Sister Catherine Rose opened the door to greet me. I had called before, so she was expecting me, and as I saw her face peeking through the open door, I was immediately drawn to the unspoken peace of her spirit. On this day, the convent was closed with the exception of the chapel and the gardens, but she had encouraged me to come and visit anyway, as it was the only day that I had a break in my daily cancer treatments. We talked about my journey, and she shared with me her journey, and then as new acquaintances sometimes do, we talked about the weather. “It’s a cold day to meditate in the garden,” I joked. She simply smiled and quietly replied, “Just follow the sun. You will find the warmth you need.” Sister Catherine Rose was right. She was right about that cold Southern California day, as I moved from one sunny spot in the garden to another sunny spot, but she was also right about every day. To feel the warmth, I must stay in the light. To stay in the light, I must follow the Light. I must face the Light. It is turning always in the direction the Light that, as Paul says in ll Corinthians 3, “…the veil is taken away.” This is what I have come to call the Christ orbit. As the light of the sun gives us visual truth, the order to see things clearly, and life-giving energy, the Light of Christ gives us spiritual truth and divine clarity and eternal life. But as the earth revolves around the sun and not vice versa, I must revolve around Christ and not vice versa.
Too many times in my life I find myself not in the Christ orbit, but in the “me” orbit. I am at the center seeking the Light as one who periodically opens the blinds in the morning and then closes them at night. Oftentimes, I find myself not held in place by the gravitational pull of the Son, but by the gravitational pull of the world. Oftentimes, I even break out of the world orbit and plummet like a blazing meteor reeking havoc in my path. The Divine invites me back, however. Unlike the meteor that destroys itself in its plummet, I am invited back into the Christ orbit every day. Every day, every minute, every second, I am invited back. It is the Divine orbit. The Dance. The Radiance. And so I try to do as Sister Catherine Rose suggested on that cold Southern California day in 2008. Some days are better than others, but this I know, when I follow the divine plan and orbit the Son, the Light in my life always overcomes the darkness.