Tuesday, July 31, 2012

My Own Prayer

     While looking through a set of books someone was discarding, I found one with an 1981 copyright that, though old, seemed to call my name. The Breath of Life by Ron DelBene with Herb Montgomery proved to be a spiritual treasure for me.
      As the book suggested, I made up my own prayer using a title for God followed by a petition of my own. The prayer was to be 7-8 syllables and rhythmic. My prayer was, “Lord, let me feel Your presence.” Since I began the practice, my prayer comes very frequently and I feel more consciously connected to God’s presence throughout the day. Although the book  suggested using the same prayer for a month, I find myself including other short prayers such as, “Lord, keep me focused on You,” or “Lord, please help (insert name and mention intention.)  
      I am aware that this prayer form may not be attractive to everyone,  but I thought it just might give someone else the joy it has given me. 
     Sr. Victoria Eisenmann, OSB

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Real vacations are not like online

         Planning a vacation with online data, maps and photos makes us think we are in control of it. Better to let go of that. When one takes stock of the trip afterwards, it is the unexpected, unplanned moments that delight, and often the things that go wrong that provide the best stories.           
            Take weather—a big deal on a camping trip. It is a test of one’s flexibility and ingenuity when the weather is less than ideal. A thunderstorm is inconvenient at home, but very difficult to ignore in a tent. 
            The open, unwalled space of a campground makes neighbors of people from Kentucky to Connecticut to Scotland. They may be thru-hikers headed for Maine on the Appalachian Trail, staying off-trail to use showers and laundry. This year we got the chance to do some trail magic for two of them. (Trail magic is an unexpected gift of food or drink bestowed on a thru-hiker.) 
            On Sunday we were amused to find ourselves at singing practice at the church we attended. The assembly was learning the last piece of the Heritage Mass from Breaking Bread. We felt right at home.

Sr. Christa Kreinbrink

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Amazing Day

     It’s another hot and humid day here in Kentucky. “I don’t do humidity.” That’s my mantra! That’s also my whine for today.
     I realize how small that sounds and wish I were more noble, but I’m stuck with myself to a certain extent. No one can change me but me. How many times have I heard that or said that before?
     All morning I’ve been remembering the first line of my favorite poem by e.e. cummings: “i thank you, god, for most this amazing day.” No matter the weather, the work, the people, the feelings, this is an amazing day. I’m here and I’m part of the day. What will I do with it? Will I truly thank God for it?
     Join me in thinking about and appreciating the many gifts this day brings. Not all gifts are really positive; many are crosses we bear or difficulties we try to understand. All of them are gifts from God.
     “We thank you, God, for most this amazing day…”
               Sr. Nancy Kordenbrock, OSB

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Benedict's Rule: a Holy Leaven for Earth

              The vocation of a Benedictine is to seek God. Since the 6th century the Rule of St. Benedict has aided women and men in that search by proposing to create an environment which enables persons to became aware of the sacred in the ordinariness of everyday life. St. Benedict calls the place where his followers learn this reverence the house of God. He makes his followers aware of the holiness of time by creating a rhythm of prayer and work. Human relationships are sacramentalized by recognizing the divinity present in every person, especially the sick, the poor and the guest.
               As we, the Church and monastic women and men and Benedictine Oblates throughout the world, celebrate the feast of St. Benedict, Patriarch of Western Monasticism, we might ask why the Rule which we call holy, has lasted so long. It is flexible, having within itself the dynamic for change. It is moderate, encouraging the weak and challenging the strong. But most of all it is humble, embodying values that have touched human experience for centuries. The Rule recognizes the need for solitude and for stable community life. There in mutual love and obedience conversion is possible.
               In the poem “Birches” Robert Frost writes, “Earth’s the right place for love; I don’t know where it’s likely to go better.” St. Benedict believed that. Because it is of earth and blessed by God, the Rule has lasted.
      Sr. Justina Franxman, OSB

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Sun, Sand, Sea and We

 Last week, on a rare and wonderful vacation
with my family, I sat on the veranda of a seashore house,
and, for the first time, watched the sun rise on theAtlantic Ocean.
I have seen many beautiful sunrises, but none quite like this,
with the sky lighting and the tiny orb rising gradually out of the massive sea.
Compared to it, I felt myself as a grain of sand.
Yet the sun, the sand, the sea and we – all are held
in the arms of a loving, creative God.
O Holy One, O Creator of undreamed possibilities,
on this Independence Day, draw us
out of darkness, into your own most wonderful light!
Sr. Portwood, OSB