Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Holy Week

Sr. Mary Tewes

      Beginning with the procession into Chapel on Passion Sunday with our palms and hymn, we are lead to review our lives as disciples of the Christ we follow, especially this week.  Holy Mother Church gives us such powerful readings and rituals each day of this holiest of weeks carrying us through the Triduum to the celebration of Christ’s Resurrection, next Saturday Evening.
      In reviewing the year, I am grateful for the wonderful opportunity I had accompanying our Benedictine Oblates on the study of Chapter 7 of the Holy Rule, on “Humility,” using a book by Fr. Michael Casey, OSB A Guide to Living in the Truth: Saint Benedict’s Teaching on Humility.” Beginning in November, this study has led us on through the Advent-Christmas Season, through Lent, and will go into the Easter Season. 
      Oblate Dottie Due lead the first session with a prayer she compiled from various sources on humility.  I asked Dottie if I could share her prayer which we used opening other sessions as well. Key to her prayer was Jesus telling us, 
               “Learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart” (Mt 11:29)

Benedictine Oblate Dottie Due
Prayer:  “Gracious God, in Jesus we witness your humility, and in your Spirit we know ourselves to be called to humble service.  Break our pride, remove our fear, and heal us in our blindness.  Grant to each of us the grace of humility, so that we might realize the truth of our being and the glory of your majesty.  As we gather to discuss the book we have been reading, may your Spirit fill us with the wisdom that might lead us down a path of understanding the humility that St. Benedict calls us to embrace in our lives.

God you are present at every moment of our lives.  You see us for what we are, blessed and limited, gifted and in need of healing.  Keep us close to the earth.  Empower us to bless you for our weaknesses and our strengths.  May we say yes to your creation and to how we are made.  Reveal to us your love and mercy that we might come to understand our true identity.  Gift us with humility, the virtue of authentic self-knowledge. Then in our lowliness, we will ascend to you.

Gentle Jesus, by accepting the plan of redemption and by giving up your life for us, you have taught us humility.  Strengthen us so that we can follow in your way.  Make us true disciples of the cross.  May our humility overflow into joy, the delight of sharing our entire lives with you.

May what we reflect on and discuss together, become a part of our lives so we can become more like you, Jesus, meek and humble of heart.  Amen.” 
      I see now that the work/study we did together was a perfect preparation for celebrating the Paschal Mystery this week. And on Saturday we will get to add our “Alleluia”!

         Sr. Mary Tewes

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Feast of St. Benedict

     Tomorrow is the Feast of St. Benedict.  March 21 is the date of St. Benedict's death. It is estimated
that St. Benedict lived about 68 years, if we go by the traditional date of his birth to his death,
480 A.D. to 548 A.D. Benedictines all over the world will celebrate his life and legacy on his
Feast Day.
     As members of St. Benedict's Order, we are blessed with a love of Scripture and a love of the Liturgy, both in the Eucharist and the Divine Office. From this flows our ministry. We are called to see and serve Christ in others.
     The Rule of St. Benedict is a classic for his time and ours.The Rule is very Christocentric and is a step by step guide for Monastic living and for Christian living.For Benedict, spirituality is in the dust of daily living.
     Even though St. Benedict borrowed from other rules around in his time, the writing is uniquely his and adapted to his community. One can see Benedict's spiritual growth in Christ likeness and holiness when reading from chapter 1 to chapter 73. Hopefully one can see our Benedictine growth in holiness as we strive to live the Rule of St. Benedict and the monastic life.
     If you would like to learn more about the Rule of St. Benedict and his rule in your life, you could become an Oblate (men and women of various lifestyles, who are bonded together to "truly seek God" according to the vision of St. Benedict) or perhaps a member of our community.  Sr. Mary
Tewes is our Oblate director and Sr. Cathy Bauer is our Vocation Director. Visit our website at
                         Sr. Barbara Woeste, OSB

Friday, March 15, 2013

"That All May Be One"

            On March 13 with millions of other TV viewers I watched Pope Francis’ first worldwide appearance. So an Argentine Jesuit, devoted to a simple lifestyle, was chosen as the leader of the whole Catholic Church! Might this event predict a new era of Catholicism? I wonder if Pope Francis will also inspire a new vision of ecumenism during his pontificate.
            Having served as executive secretary of the Northern Kentucky Interfaith Commission in 1976-85, I have had the privilege of ecumenical relationships with many Protestant pastors and congregations in our area. Recently I received a call from Clarence Lassetter, a former pastor of Ft. Mitchell Baptist Church and past president of the Interfaith Commission. Our retired Bishop William A. Hughes had died and Clarence asked me to accompany him and his wife to the visitation for Bishop Hughes at our Cathedral. Clarence added, “We want to pay our last respects to our friend, Bill Hughes.”
            Clarence’s informal way of relating to the Bishop reminded me of an occasion when the Lassetters had invited him to their home for an Interfaith gathering of new clergy in town, and Bishop Hughes came. Now, Clarence and Gean wanted to express their farewell to their friend by a final visit to him. It was an occasion for me to recognize and appreciate the ecumenical contributions of people of one God and one faith.
            I pray that Pope Francis might initiate grace-filled ecumenical happenings during his leadership of the Catholic Church “that all may be one.”
                        Sr. Martha Walther, OSB

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Prodigal

       Sunday, March 10, is the fourth Sunday of Lent, and the readings seem to shout the theme of reconciliation. We hear the story of the prodigal son. It is a story most all of us know well enough to repeat. I read in a commentary by Scott Hahn that, “It is the story of Israel and of the human race. It is the story of every believer.”  
      The only person in the story with whom I want to identify is the Father. What does that say about me? In the culture of the time of the story, the Father would have been considered very foolish indeed. Actually, he was a prodigal father. He was allowing the son to cut himself off from the family, remove himself from the traditional expectation to care for the father in his old age, and to remove himself from the family and community. I am only willing to identify with that part of the Father who dashed out to reconcile with the son and throw a party. 
      How about identifying with one of the sons? Well, maybe the Prodigal Son. At least he came back home. What was his motive? Was it real sorrow or a stomach in great need of being filled? 
      Here I am trying to pray and getting myself backed into a corner. Of course, my motives are not always the purest. Of course I sin and temporarily forget my Baptismal birthright. Amazingly, my story remains true to the Gospel. The Father nudges me and frequently even runs to remind me I am being graced to be reconciled; graced to come back to Him. Even the desire to be reconciled is initiated by the Father. 
      I will soon make a Lenten Confession, experience the warmth of the Father’s embrace and truly strive to be God’s obedient child again. What does the story say to you? 
      Sr. Victoria Eisenman, OSB
Addendum: A sister who read this blog noticed I had not mentioned the 2nd son. Another sister asked me why. Upon reflection I realized that I was in a hurry and didn't take the time to deal with that part of my shadow.I have my friends to be thankful for that insight.