Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Discernment and Chapter of Election

     Electricity is in the air of the monastery as we prepare for the chapter of election.We are approaching   a very holy time.The chapter of election for the prioress to lead us for the next four years is our version of the conclave to elect the Pope. But there is a major difference in that our chapter includes all the members in the discernment and voting. All of the sisters living at a distance will be at the monastery for this blessed event.  That in itself brings joy and excitement. We have spent the last month offering special prayers for each other and as we come to the end of the list the anticipation grows.
      As you may know “Listen” is the first word of the Holy Rule of St. Benedict. We have been preparing ourselves to listen intently to our hearts and to the Holy Spirit speaking through each one of us. This discernment captures the spirit of our obedience to one another as we actively listen and respond. We truly believe each of us has a piece of the wisdom. No one comes into the process to “win” but the entire community “wins” because the voice of the Spirit has been heard. In the prayerful silence of our hearts we are open to pray, to hear, to speak, to let go and ultimately to hear and respond to the will of God as expressed at this time and in this community.
     I ask for your prayers and thank you for your prayerful participation in this holy event.
            Sr. Mary Rabe, OSB

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Thoughts on St. Joseph

     St. Joseph did not get a liturgical feast until the 15th century in Rome, and it was only in the 16th century that a feast was authorized for the Universal Church. As early as 150, however, the apocryphal writing, Protevanglium of James, tried to give more details to Matthew’s and Luke’s accounts of the infancy of Jesus, including the role of Joseph. Other apocryphal gospels written between the second and eighth centuries influenced the growing devotion to Joseph, and the iconography of Joseph holding a lily comes out of these gospels plus the story of his dying in the presence of Jesus and Mary. These writings are evidence of our interest in the human setting and details of the Holy Family, details lacking in the Gospels. Who was Joseph? What did he do? How did he live? How did he relate to his human and divine charges? How did he act as a father and guardian?
     Luke’s account of Mary and Joseph is from Mary’s viewpoint while Matthew concentrates on Joseph. Matthew looks at Joseph as a man of dreams like the patriarch Joseph in Genesis. Joseph is instructed in dreams to take Mary into his own home, to name the child, to go to Egypt (like his Genesis predecessor) to save the child’s life, and to return to the land of Israel after the danger passed. Karl Rahner notes that Scripture says of Joseph three times, “He rose up.”
     There are many views of St. Joseph. St. Bernard says, “When we do not know how to pray, we turn to Joseph,” and St. Teresa of Avila says she knows by experience that Joseph helps in every area. “…I know by experience [he] helps us in every need.” Jacques Bossuet contrasted the vocation of the apostles with that of Joseph

. “The apostles were lights to make Jesus Christ visible to the whole world. Joseph was a veil to hide him. …the apostles proclaimed the gospel so loudly that their words re-echoed in the heavens. …Joseph listened, wondered and kept silence.”
     Karl Rahner says that Joseph as the guardian and protector of the Son of God is our model as we are “called to be guardian of the Holy One in ourselves, in lives, in our work.” Rahner also says that Joseph is a good patron for us—“a patron of the poor, a patron of workers, a patron of exiles, a model for worshippers, an exemplar of the pure discipline of the heart.”
     Who is Joseph to you as we celebrate his feast today?
               Sr. Deborah Harmeling, OSB

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Rite of Election and Lent

     The First Sunday of Lent is the Sunday the Diocese of Covington
celebrates the Rite of Election at the Cathedral. This Rite is for the R.C.I.A. in the parishes when the catechumens and candidates, with their sponsors and R.C.I.A. teams, gather for this prayer service. Those who are catechumens (who are not baptized) are now called the “elect” after this rite, and they add their names to the Book of the Elect of the diocese. Those who are already baptized, the candidates, are called to continuing conversion.
     On the third, fourth and fifth Sundays in Lent, the elect will take part in the scrutinies. These scrutinies are special blessings for the elect to deliver them from sin and evil.
     Lent is a special time to recall our own baptism and what it means to share in the resurrection of Jesus.
      Sr. Barbara Woeste, OSB

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Because of our testimony

     Lent has begun, and yesterday I finished a chapter on John’s Gospel in the book Like a Hammer Shattering Rock: hearing the Gospels today. Author Megan McKenna summed up John’s Gospel with Jesus’ line, “I am the way, the truth and life.” She cites the encounter of the Samaritan women with Jesus and quotes, "Many Samaritans from that city came to believe in him because of the woman’s testimony.” May this Lent stimulate us to deepen our testimony to Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.
            Sr. Martha Walther, OSB