Wednesday, December 28, 2011

“Behold I Make All Things New.” (Rev. 21:5)

     I always enjoy the celebration of the New Year because of my association with the word new. I have been practicing my resolution for 2012 for about a month, and it has given me a new outlook on life. It is the practice of remembering not just the New Year, but every new day and every new moment . It requires much discipline to follow this practice, but it is very rewarding. 
     Scripture abounds with the word new. It occurs numerous times in the Old and New Testament and at least eight times in the Psalms. A common line in the Psalms is, “Sing a new song to the Lord.” How many times have I sung, “Sing a new song to the Lord?” At first I asked myself how I could sing a new song numerous times and find it new. Of course it is new. I’m singing it on a new day at a new moment with the new self with which I awoke this morning. The last time I sang this song is gone forever and so I sing it with new awareness and a renewed heart. Being in touch with the new moment and with the succeeding new moments of the each day can be life changing.  Indeed I am always singing a new song!                                               
     Keeping in touch with the newness of everything I do makes me conscious of the presence of the Lord in each new task. It helps me be aware that everything I do and everything I say needs to be for the glory of God.    
      Sr. Victoria Eisenman, OSB

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas shopping, Advent and Monastic Life

     December 17 is the day the O Antiphons begin. I look forward to Dec. 17-23 when we chant these hauntingly beautiful antiphons at the Magnificat. 
     The timing of the first antiphon, “O Wisdom”, signals to me that it is time to do Christmas shopping. I put it off for two reasons: one, so that I might remain immersed in the Advent spirit as long as possible and not be barraged by Frosty the Snowman in the stores; two, because I need the pressure of dwindling days. 
     I make a list—it isn’t long—and even list stores to visit. I plan out a driving route that makes sense and set out. Every year my experience is similar. In the first couple stores my targeted gifts do not exist. Well, the evening is early, I think, and the stores are open late. I proceed on. Then I find something. Just perfect. And beyond what I am willing or able to pay. I stand there in the store and have a monastic experience. You are a sister with a limited budget. Poverty is a real commitment. But the temptation to overspend is there. The prices and the bustle around me are daunting. I have stood in this aisle for 15 minutes! Do I look as poor as I feel? Will this lesser gift be ok? Whose standards do I use? 
     And is this even a monastic experience of poverty, or rather a common one among those who have little? By the time I finish shopping I have had to wrestle with my commitment, the true meaning of being poor and being rich, and my guilt over bypassing the Salvation Army bellringer. I know what I am in for, and the 17th will be here soon. 
        Sr. Christa Kreinbrink,, OSB

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Our Lady of Guadalupe

       On Monday, the 12th of December I participated in the Mass at our local Spanish parish for the Feast of our Lady of Guadalupe. Who is Our Lady of Guadalupe? “She is one of us” responded my Mexican-American friend. This really piqued my reflection on this Feastday of Mary.  The features of Our Lady of Guadalupe reflect her identity with the Indigenous peoples of the Americas which for me is a visual reminder that we are all sisters and brothers not because of ethnic origins, but because we are rooted in the soil of our sister- countries.
       Mary is our mother, our sister, our friend. Our Lady, the Mother of God, is one of us, walking with us on our journey, sharing our burdens and our joys, attending the births of our babies and of our hopes, rejoicing in our celebrations, sitting at the bedsides of the sick and elderly, weeping at graves of our loved ones and of our dreams. For me the relationship with Mary is personal. I see her as taking my concerns to God with an understanding beyond my limited words. She just “knows” and it is enough to just trust that she is holding my heart in her own.
       The Church guides us to see that we also have a communal relationship with Mary by praying that “all who invoke the Blessed Virgin of Guadalupe, may seek with ever more lively faith the progress of people in the ways of justice and peace.” Indeed, the Virgin of Guadalupe makes us one by being one of us. How can we fail to share each others’ sorrows and joys, to work for justice and seek peace and happiness for everyone in our family?
                        Sr. Dorothy Schuette, O.S.B.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Give comfort...
Speak tenderly...
Prepare the way...
Today...and today...and today...
          this man
          this woman
          this child
Until Christ comes...  in glory!
           Sr. Sharon Portwood, OSB