Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Sacred Triduum and Hope

       The Celebration of the Sacred Triduum begins on Holy Thursday with the Mass of the Lord's Supper.

On Friday we will meditate on the mystery of Christ's death and we will adore the Cross.

Holy Saturday we will contemplate Jesus lying in the tomb and with Mary, His mother,and  strive to keep alive the flame of hope in Christ's resurrection.

Then at the Easter Vigil, the Alleluia will resound again as we celebrate the Risen Christ, the  center and fulfillment of the universe and of history.
       Through these statements Pope Francis in his Vatican Radio address on 04-01-2015 urged us the "faithful" to open our hearts to a "present that is full of hope in the future."
       In our chaotic violence-filled world, where is our hope?  Let us accompany Jesus as closely as we can so that
our hearts beat as one with His.  Let our hearts be as close with him as we are when we companion a beloved relative or friend in their dying days. Let our feeling of helplessness to be absorbed in the unifying love of the Holy Trinity.
       As we share presence with Jesus let us keep awake and imbue  this act of total commitment into our hearts and conscience; that this sign may be imprinted upon  us. Let us reach out to one another within our local community, and throughout the world to become a committed force of love and mercy through prayer and actions.
       As members of Jesus' Body through our baptismal promises, it is imperative  that we strive for this perfection in faith and love. Then maybe we will again be able to be beacons of hope.
       Sr. Joan Gripshover, OSB

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Being Carried through this Lenten Season on the Wings of Prayer & Song

       At the beginning of this Lenten Season our chaplain, Fr. John, pointed out one of the older Lenten prefaces that summed up the meaning of Lent for him.It really struck me, so I copied it and prayed it daily as a thanksgiving prayer to God for this season, and asked God to bring the Image of the Son to perfection within me and all of us.
         “Father, all-powerful and ever-living God, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks through Jesus Christ our Lord. Each year you give us this joyful season when we prepare to celebrate the paschal mystery with mind and heart renewed.You give us a spirit of loving reverence for you, our Father, and of willing service to our neighbor. As we recall the great events that gave us new life in Christ, you bring the image of your Son to perfection within us.Now, with angels and archangels, and the whole company of heaven, we sing the unending hymn of praise:  Holy, Holy, Holy!”
       This prayer reminded me that through our working and praying and singing together here at the monastery, God is bringing the image of His Son to perfection within us.When I view the prayer/liturgy bulletin board, I’m aware of how many of the community members assist with the preparation of our liturgies. We take turns assisting the Eucharist Liturgy co-ordinator, Sr. Colleen, especially with the Sunday masses; reflecting on the readings together, choosing the hymns, deciding on minor rituals, reminding the ministers, writing intercessions, welcoming guests, etc. There is the list of lectors for the month and Eucharistic ministers for each day.  For the Liturgy of the Hours, we sign up to preside at the community prayer one day at a time; choosing the hymn and canticles and preparing the intercessions for this most important Work of God.  The Liturgy of the Hours is coordinated by Sr. Christa.
       One of the hymns that has become a favorite of mine, was written by our organist/musician, Sr. Colleen Winston, in 1972 as a reflection on John 1:16. I think it could be our theme song for this Year of Mercy. We have sung it as a round or as a refrain by itself. For me it is a prayer I love to sing.
                        God’s Fullness
           “Of your fullness we have all received our share, love and more love.                                                    Your mercy is ours thru Jesus Christ. 
                                                       Your mercy is ours thru Jesus Christ.”

        May you be carried on through these last holy days of Lent to Easter Joy, on the wings of your favorite prayers and songs of praise, along with your companions on the journey.
                                                                       Sr. Mary Tewes, OSB

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Reading with Sr. Andrea

       As a long time reader of America magazine, I have been familiar with the name of James Martin, SJ and his writings as they have appeared in the Jesuit magazine over the years. I remember details of his life as given there, struck by his call to the Jesuits and the readability of his compositions. Although aware of his published works, I had not yet read one until this year—and it was his first work of fiction—The Abbey. One of the sisters received a copy from a friend and gave it to me to read.
       A short novel with short chapters, it is strongly Benedictine as the title suggests and when I began to read, I could barely put it down. Although fictional biography seems a contradiction in terms, The Abbey’s three main characters, Anne, Mark and Fr. Paul seem real people drawn to God over time by the Benedictine influences of Sts. Philip and James Abby. I especially appreciated the conversations between Anne and Fr. Paul in her growing conversion to God after the tragic death of her 13 year old son. What remained with me after finishing the book was the wisdom in conversation thought, direction and example given by those associated with P & J Abbey. The novel  was not lacking in a bit of humor as it treated the monastery “business”—jam making!
                Read The Abbey for enjoyment and understanding. This novel has led me to the well-known, much longer work of Martin, Jesus, a Pilgrimage, in which I am now absorbed.

   Sr. Andrea Collpy, OSB

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

There is Life in the Desert

Lent is a time of a change of heart. It is a time of turning our hearts toward  God in a more intense way.

The image of the desert goes back to early Christianity and to the desert fathers and mothers. It goes back even before this to Moses and the Hebrew People and the Exodus.The desert is not as barren as we would imagine.  It supports all kinds of life.  However, in the desert, we come face to face with our own life and try to see life as it really is and how we are called to live because in the desert there are no distractions.
Being in a desert with a group of people, would call all of us to work together and thus forget our own agenda. In the desert, we come face to face with God and ask ourselves how we live by God’s law, the commandments, and by Christian values. In the desert
we turn to prayer because we know we cannot live our lives alone but must rely on God. In the desert we acknowledge our limitations and our need for others.

As we continue our Lenten experience to Easter, let us go into the desert to seek God and to be filled with God that we can truly pray and live the life of the Spirit and
truly rise to new life with Jesus at Easter!
                                               Sr. Barbara Woeste, OSB