Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Advent: our time of waiting

     Have you ever had the experience of waiting for a baby to come?  There is much anticipation and excitement while getting ready.  There is expectation and hope and much preparation. 
     This is our Season of Advent.  We are indeed waiting for a baby to be born.  The baby is very special, He is our Savior!  While the Jewish People were awaiting the Messiah and Mary and Joseph were awaiting the birth of Jesus, there was much hope and anticipation. 
     Although Jesus was born over 2000 years ago, we must also live this reality in our own lives to make it present to us today.  We do this through our celebration of the various feasts of the Church.  We do this through our celebration of liturgy and our celebration of the Church’s liturgical year. 
     The liturgy of Advent is rich and meaningful.  Through it, we enter into the mystery of Jesus and the mystery of waiting and anticipation.  This is why the Church insists on the Season of Advent as a time of waiting and preparation.  However, our culture is such that we must always be very busy about so many things.  Like the Gospel, when Jesus tells Martha, his friend, “You are worried and busy about so many things, only one thing is important.”  In Advent, that one thing, is preparing ourselves for the coming of Jesus into our hearts, to live Jesus’ way of life, and to prepare for the final coming of Jesus at the end of time. 
     This Advent, let us become less concerned about so many “things” and center in on the real meaning of the Season.
     Sr. Barbara Woeste, OSB

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

What are You Doing?

     A high school classmate called me recently and after a short chat about news about other classmates, asked the big question, “What are you doing these days?”
     This question puzzled me because I no longer have a specific “job”, like Spanish teacher or diocesan tribunal assistant or ecumenical coordinator to give as s simple answer. Here is a list of the scattered activities I do. I attend meetings: community, committee, liturgy, vocation, retreat, special events meetings. All require some preparation and follow-up as well as attendance. There are also my regular household tasks at St. Joseph House and work I do at the monastery as the need arises. As for prayers, I meditate and take part in the Divine Office daily. I can’t, however, respond to the question above with just a list of tasks, of things I am dong.
     I believe that these activities are truly work, the “labora” that St. Benedict requires of his followers. “Ora et labora” shape Benedictine life. Practically speaking, the “the Work of God” means prayer and work and is my primary job. Daily prayer in common, morning, noon, evening and night, along with personal lectio meditation provide the spiritual energy essential for all the other work in and out of the monastery. Both ora et labora shape our every day and whole lives.
     What am I doing these days? Essentially the same things I have been doing since I entered St. Walburg Monastery sixty years ago: praying and working as St. Benedict directs. Truly regular and very life giving!
     Sr. Martha Walther, OSB 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Haiku for November

All soul's month is here
Come November every year
Pray for the deceased. 
We hold them so dear
But see them on earth no more
Stil so close they are!
Communion of saints
Drawing us close again
So united still.
"Come to me God says
No more suffering no tears
Come, now dwell with Me."

Sr. Victoria Eisenman, OSB

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

We Are This Temple

St. John Lateran Basilica in Rome

      This coming Friday (Nov. 9) we celebrate the dedication of the basilica of St. John Lateran, the cathedral church of the city of Rome, once a royal palace and basilica which belonged to the Roman emperor Constantine and his family. 
     At one time to say “the Lateran” was equivalent to saying “the Vatican” today. This continued up until the 14th century. When the papacy moved from Rome to Avignon for 70 years, the Lateran basilica fell into ruins from lack of use as well as from several earthquakes which ravaged it. The church was rebuilt several times. Its present appearance dates from the latter part of the seventeenth century, from a renovation carried out by Pope Innocent X. 
     The Liturgy of the Hours of this feast reminds us that “the temple of God is holy, and you are that temple.” We are the church in which God dwells. No earthquake will damage this holy place, nor threaten its foundation, built as we are on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone. St. Thomas of Villanova compares us further to the temple in which God walks about: “Whenever you feel within yourselves the movements of good desires, the pangs of contrition, or the fire of devotion, recognize the steps of God, the signs of the Holy Spirit, walking in the temple.”
     Sr. Christa Kreinbrink, OSB