Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
August 20th, 2011
Timothy R. Lannon, S.J.

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Perhaps like you, I am in a transitional period in my life.  As of July 1, I became the president of Creighton University, my alma mater.  Previous to Creighton, I served as the president of the Jesuit university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania — Saint Joseph's University — for eight years.  I am delighted to be at Creighton, but I have left behind many people with whom I became close. 

During a break between St. Joe's and Creighton, I read a book, Transitions: Making Sense of Life's Changes (William Bridges, Second Edition, 2004).  When we reflect about our lives, it is clear that we face many transitions; some of which are natural and anticipated and others that are not anticipated that can be either painful or delightful.  Clearly, there is at least one constant in our lives, and that is change.  If you are a Creighton grad, there is another constant, and that is receiving solicitation requests from the University!

How do we find or give meaning to the change in our lives?  In his book, Bridges offers two questions that may assist us in reflecting about transitions.  First, what is it time to let go of in our lives?  Second, what is standing backstage, in the wings of our lives, waiting to make its entrance?  Bridges continues by stating that the letting go process is ignited by the first question; that is, the process of making an ending must occur before the second process, the next chapter of our lives, has room to develop.  Bridges then discusses three stages of the transition process:  ending; the neutral zone between beginning and ending (where he asserts that things seem uncertain and you are not quite sure who you are and what you should do); and beginning.

Bridges did not write his book from a Christian perspective, but it parallels the life of Christ and our lives as Christians.  Like the passion of Christ, our endings involve something or someone dying.  This can be a painful experience.  The neutral zone is that time of surrendering, of giving back to Jesus that which we now need to leave behind.  This is not easy for us.  While at the same time, we need to remind ourselves that God is the giver of all gifts.  In addition, we need to place our faith in God, trusting that somehow, some way, God will bring forth something good from a loss.  Obviously, the new beginning mirrors the resurrection.  There is a newness to our lives.

As Christians, our lives are always in transition, since we are on a journey with Christ at our sides as we continue to discover and understand more fully who God is calling us to be.  Our journey concludes at our ultimate ending and beginning, when we are in the full presence of God.  Change indeed is a constant in our lives, but the ultimate constant is God and God's invitation to the fullness of life.  

And, how do today's readings help us face the transitions before us? In all of the changes in her life, Ruth places her hope and trust in God. In today's Gospel, Jesus calls us to be humble--which is a wonderful invitation for us to always be thankful to God wherever we find ourselves in our life's journey.

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