Thursday, February 28, 2019

Preppping for Lent

Matt: 24:12  Because of the increase of iniquity, the love of many will ... grow cold. 
          This year with increase in polarity in the world our church, the sex abuse scandal within the church threatening our faith; what must we do to  help prevent this coldness of heart in our lives and in the lives of those brethren we encounter daily. What do we have to offer?  In Pope Francis'  address last year, he noted that the Catholic church offers each year the Season of Lent as a ‘sacramental sign’ of conversion.  Lent summons us and enables us to come back to the Lord wholeheartedly in every aspect of our lives. 

Romans. 12:1-2  I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourself to this age but be yourself transformed by the renewal of your mind that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.

 Romans. 14:13  Then let us no longer judge one another, but rather resolve never to  put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another.

Mark. 7: 7-9   In this quote, Mark points out that those who turn away from the commands of God and become attuned to purely human teachings (divisive and abusive politics, intolerances, ambiguity, polarity, etc) can no longer hear the voice of God.

Joel:2:12-14   Even now declares the Lord 'Return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.'

Luke 6:38   Give and gifts will be given to you in good measure, packed together, shook down and overflowing, and well poured into your lap. O yeah, by the way, these must also by shared wholeheartedly.

Matthew 25:40  Amen, I say to you whatever you do for one of these least of my brethren you do unto me.  Again, this includes: the poor, the sick, the immigrant, the elderly, the marginalized, the adversary,  those who are lowly and disdained by many etc.

Saint Mother Therese  It is not how much we do but rather with how much love we put into the action that we do.

If we concentrate on some of these thoughts and actions in Lent, perhaps we will avoid the coldness of heart and maybe help others to have warm hearts by reaching out with love.

                   Sr. Joan Gripshover, OSB

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Bishops' Meeting in Rome February 2019

Ideas you discuss, but situations have to be discerned.
                                                            Pope Francis

      I came upon the above quote in a recent issue of Commonweal (2.22.19) in an article by Austen Ivereigh. The author was reflecting on Pope Francis’ remarks to reporters on his way home from Chile.

      Between February 20th and the 24th bishops from around the world will be meeting at the Vatican regarding the global sex abuse crisis in the Church. The summit is designed to be about conversion, a change of heart, rather than a meeting to develop and produce more norms, codes, laws or procedures. The goal of the summit is to bring about a true awareness of the suffering of the victims and to name the root of the problem. Only then can reform be effective.

      Let us support the assembled bishops in our prayer.

              Sr. Mary Catherine Wenstrup, OSB

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Give Civil Engagement a Chance

       Valentine hearts are not enough. To truly love, that is to regard the other in an unconditionally positive way, we must listen and be open to the person. This is needed on a personal as well as global scale. In launching One Small Step, StoryCorps©suggests, We are living through complicated days in these United States. The country is increasingly disconnected –our mutual distrust is amplified by everything from the corrosive effects of social media to the forces seeking to weaken the foundations of our democracy. Many people in American feel unheard, alone or distrustful. This project, currently being promoted by NKU Scripps Howard Center for Civic Engagement, is one way of bringing people together, one on one, to share their thoughts and feelings without judging or being judged.

       The Northern Kentucky Justice & Peace Committee is studying this and other possible activities to promote civil dialogue. But it’s not complicated. At the heart of every process are these basic guidelines:

  • Invite someone whose point of view is different from your own to have a conversation over coffee or lunch.
  • Don’t persuade, defend or interrupt. Be respectful.
  • Share some of your life experiences.
  • What issues deeply concern you?
  • Be curious.  What have you always wanted to ask someone from “the other side”?

      I am drawn to take action in this way. I haven’t quite figured out who I will invite, or when, or the other specifics that need to be planned to really turn the idea into action. But writing this is my launch pad. Thank you for empowering me by listening.

      A final thought from Rumi:
                Out beyond ideas of right doing,
                wrong doing,
                there is a field.
       I’ll meet you there.

Sr. Dorothy Schuette, OSB 

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

The Joys of February

            It’s official! February is here! Punxsutawney Phil has already predicted what the weather holds for us for the next 6 weeks.  February is my least favorite month.  Although it is the shortest; it seems like the longest to me.
            “February got its name from the Latin FEBRUUM meaning purification.  FEBRUA was a purification ritual held February 15, (full moon) where people were ritually washed.  These great festivities were to re-establish the Emperor’s focus on righteous living.” (Writer’s note:  Wouldn’t that be great!)
            It’s possible that FEBRUA (purification) had some influence on the Christian three part celebration on February 2nd.  One part is the Presentation of Jesus in the temple by Mary and Joseph. Jesus, the Son of God, is offered and redeemed by two turtledoves.  Simeon, the elderly prophet, tells Mary and Joseph that Jesus is destined to be “the Light of the world.”  Jesus, as “light,” is symbolized by candles. Second part is Candlemas Day when the Church blesses candles for use in the liturgy.  The final part of this day is Mary’s Purification.  The ritual women participated in after the birth of first born child.
            We Benedictines have a special interest in February.  The 10th is the feast of Saint Scholastica, Benedict’s twin sister; the 25th the feast of Saint Walburg, the saint for whom our monastery is named.
            Presidents’ Day February 18th (this year) celebrates our many presidents especially, Washington (22) and Lincoln (12) whose birthdays occur during this month.           
            We can’t forget Valentine Day the 14th.  According to Wikipedia “there are energy shifts toward love and compassion.  We find happiness in the simplest things.”  On Valentine Day we take the time to reflect on the love given us from others, and show them how much they mean to us.  We give valentines—by our love in words, actions, simple gifts.
            I’m ready for spring with warmer weather and more sunshine.  I have begun to look for the tiny heads of tulips, crocus, and daffodils peaking out of the ground.  Even “the Old Farmers’ Almanac said that this is the month to plant a garden. Start onion seeds, these are firmer than sets. Parsley should be started indoors.”
            Maybe it’s a good thing to have a “Leap Year” every four years, thanks to Julius Caesar’s astronomers.  Or, we may not have enough of “February” to enjoy all its l-o-n-g days.  Maybe I’ll learn to like February better.

        Sr. Kathleen Ryan, OSB