Monday, November 25, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

     Reflecting on Thanksgiving of course brings me to how grateful I am living in this country. Despite its problems it has provided a rather soft life and since I am a wimp I feel terribly blessed as I am sure many others do as well. i cannot imagine living anywhere else.
     So as I compiled my long list of thanks that I am sure resembles yours I paused at technology. For it enables us to enter the lives of persons and peoples living at great distances.We see those suffering great traumas of war and disasters, famine and disease. I am grateful. It gives me another way to be Christ to my neighbor.I usually think of Jesus in terms of kindness, charity, forgiveness, etc. But Jesus suffers. Jesus weeps over Jerusalem, “How often have I wanted to gather your children together as a mother bird collects her young under her wings.”(Luke 13) I can be part of that Jesus as well and ever more so thanks to our many media sources.  Please join me in celebrating that we are one.
     For another take on gratitude I invite you to revisit Sr. Aileen's blog posted July 17,2013.
     Enjoy the holidays.   Sr. Mary Rabe, OSB

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Visio Divina

     “Visio Divina” or Divine Seeing, or Seeing the Word - is much like the prayer form, “Lectio Divina” or Divine Reading, or Praying the Word.  Only here I pay attention to what I see, how God is revealing God’s self to me through the sights, things, art works, people around me.  These are some examples that come to mind:
     Right now the fall foliage is breathtakingly beautiful. How can we help seeing God’s beauty, and stand or sit in awe and wonder at what God has done and does seasonally in this climate.  Praise God! Take time to notice, allow it to fill you, feel the love and warmth of God’s unconditional live.  Such a variety of trees; Ginko, Maple, Oak, Sycamore, Sweet Gum, Moses Bushes displaying their leaves in all shades of yellows, oranges, rusts, reds, browns and even blacks, all shades of the flames of Spirit fire, consuming the leaves as they ready for the death of winter, and anticipate the resurrection of spring.  This is a symbol of the Paschal Mystery.  Every tree, every leaf is special, as we are each unique and special to God.
     One of our Oblates just shared with me another experience of “Visio Divina” using the illuminations from the new St. John’s Bible.  Each of the three sessions of the workshop she is attending is centering around one of the illuminations.  The first was from the Creation Story from the Book of Genesis that the artist, Donald Jackson, depicted so creatively.  The group listened to the scripture text and allowed the word to dwell within them.  Then gazing on the Creation illumination in seven panels asked God to open the eyes of their hearts and enable them to see what God wanted them to see.  Finally they prayed for inner transformation for themselves and each other.  Laura was amazed and moved by this prayerful experience, and called me to share.  She was eagerly waiting the next two sessions.
     This brought to mind our community retreat a few years ago, when Sr. Irene Nowell, OSB, used many of the illuminations from the St. John’s Bible in much the same way, projecting them on the chapel way, where we were overwhelmed by their beauty and power.  I was profoundly moved by this experience, and realized that this is what the committee behind the Bible did to come up with these powerful illuminations of the Word of God. It was truly “Divine Seeing”.
     I believe that Julian of Norwich must have prayed in this way as she allowed the hazel nut in her hand to speak to her of the God who made it, who loves it, and who preserves it.  From her “Revelations” she shared that she saw in it that “God is the creator and the protector and the lover.  And that we are not fully at ease because we seek rest in things that are so little.  We must come to recognize our God, who is all powerful, all wise, all good - who is our true rest.”

     Let us open our eyes and as well as our hearts to what God has set before us in so many ways night and day. Sr. Mary Tewes, OSB

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

We Remember ...

       We have had prose and poetry on our blog but no jokes.  So I will break the tradition, it also goes
with my blog.
       “A couple of friends were talking recently and they agreed that the one who died first would let the other know what heaven was like. One of the friends died and went to Heaven. She got word to her earthly friend. Heaven is wonderful! I have good news and bad news for you.The good news is that they have a beautiful big ball field! The bad news is that you are pitching tomorrow.” 
       On November 1, we celebrated All Saints Day and on November 2, we celebrated All Souls day.  It indeed was a celebration on both days of the Communion of Saints.  All of us have had close relatives and friends die and we still grieve their loss. These days help us to remember them and pray to and for them and know that some day we will be reunited with them.
       Sr. Barbara Woeste, OSB

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Way to Pray

          Three essential items get me started every morning, namely: a pen, a notebook and a bible. These facilitate an awareness of God’s presence and help me begin the day with God. Usually God’s words in the day’s Mass reading sparks questions, comments, exclamations in mind and heart and result in a short period of wordless prayer. Sometimes this is a mixture of thinking, questioning, or responding in awe.
         Other times my prayer requires sheer perseverance to read the scripture passage several times and be patient in listening more openly without forcing a “conversation”.  The active listening itself becomes my prayer.  Whatever personal presence, will and time are given, I believe the prayer is always heard by God.
       I count on it.   Sr. Martha Walther, OSB