by Mary Noble Garcia

We had just entered those months in Minnesota when there is hope for spring. Long before my alarm sounded, I awoke to an unusual noise coming through the windows, which had been shut tight against the cold.  I quickly got out of bed, put on a jacket, made my way to the back door, and opened it to listen.  It was echoing, resounding, pulsating—a high-pitched howling that cut through the crisp, dark, early morning air and filled the endless space of the cold outdoors.

Entranced, I stepped into the cold to listen. What was it?  Where was it coming from?  Was something calling for help?  The aching, grieving earth?  A chorus of voices, howling in unison—the vulnerable, the forgotten, the lost, those treated unjustly?  Or maybe my own hidden suffering lying just under the surface?  My heart reached out into the darkness in a desire to relieve the suffering by offering compassion.

That evening the local news had coverage about the unusual howling heard in our neighborhood. Experts speculated that it was the shifting ice on the Mississippi River as it began to melt.  I sensed that it was a mystery that had a message for us.  Maybe it was the howling of the universe inviting us to step into the darkness, open our hearts, and embrace it in love and compassion.


Join us for Loyola’s Lenten Retreat, Deepening our Capacity for Love and Compassion on Saturday, February 24, 9 am to noon at St. Olaf Catholic Church in Minneapolis. Together we will pray, reflect, explore, and identify ways we are invited to deepen our love and compassion for ourselves, others, and the universe.  Click the link below for more information.