Saturday, December 31, 2011

The year is closed...


The year is closed, the record made;
The last deed is done, the last word said.
The memory alone remains
Of all its joys, its griefs, its gains;
And with purpose full and clear
I turn to meet another year.

Robert Browning

Friday, December 30, 2011

Reborn each moment...


Celebrate the feast of Christmas every day,
even every moment
in the interior temple of your spirit,
remaining like a baby
in the bosom of the heavenly Father,
where you will be reborn each moment
in the Divine Word, Jesus Christ.

~ St. Paul of the Cross

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Three Trees



Once upon a mountain top, three little trees stood and dreamed of what they wanted to become when they grew up.

The first little tree looked up at the stars and said:  "I want to hold treasure. I want to be covered with gold and filled with precious stones.  I'll be the most beautiful treasure chest in the world!"

The second little tree looked out at the small stream trickling by on it's way to the ocean.  "I want to be traveling mighty waters and carrying powerful kings. I'll be the strongest ship in the world!"

The third little tree looked down into the valley below where busy men and women worked in a busy town.  "I don't want to leave the mountain top at all.  I want to grow so tall that when people stop to look at me, they'll raise their eyes to heaven and think of God. I will be the tallest tree in the world."

Years passed.  The rain came, the sun shone, and the little trees grew tall.  One day three woodcutters climbed the mountain.  The first woodcutter looked at the first tree and said, "This tree is beautiful. It is perfect for me."  With a swoop of his ax, the first tree fell.  "Now I shall be made into a beautiful chest, I shall hold wonderful treasure!"  The first tree said.

The second woodcutter looked at the second tree and said, "This tree is strong. It is perfect for me."  With a swoop of his ax, the second tree fell.  "Now I shall sail mighty waters!" thought the second tree.  "I shall be a strong ship for mighty kings!"

The third tree felt her heart sink when the last woodcutter looked her way.  She stood straight and tall and pointed bravely to heaven.  But the woodcutter never even looked up.  "Any kind of tree will do for me," he muttered.  With a swoop of his ax, the third tree fell.

The first tree rejoiced when the woodcutter brought her to a carpenter's shop. But the carpenter fashioned the tree into a feedbox for animals.  The once beautiful tree was not covered with gold, nor with treasure.  She was coated with saw dust and filled with hay for hungry farm animals.

The second tree smiled when the woodcutter took her to a shipyard, but no mighty sailing ship was made that day.  Instead the once strong tree was hammered and sawed into a simple fishing boat.  She was too small and too weak to sail to an ocean, or even a river. Instead she was taken to a little lake.

The third tree was confused when the woodcutter cut her into strong beams and left her in a lumberyard.  "What happened?"  The once tall tree wondered. "All I ever wanted was to stay on the mountain top and point to God..."

Many, many days and night passed.  The three trees nearly forgot their dreams. But one night, golden starlight poured over the first tree as a young woman placed her newborn baby in the feedbox.  "I wish I could make a cradle for him," her husband whispered.

The mother squeezed his hand and smiled as the starlight shone on the smooth and the sturdy wood.  "This manger is beautiful," she said.  And suddenly the first tree knew he was holding the greatest treasure in the world.

One evening a tired traveler and his friends crowded into the old fishing boat.  The traveler fell asleep as the second tree quietly sailed out into the lake. Soon a thundering and thrashing storm arose.  The little tree shuddered.  She knew she did not have the strength to carry so many passengers safely through with the wind and the rain.

The tired man awakened.  He stood up, stretched out his hand, and said, "Peace."  The storm stopped as quickly as it had begun.  And suddenly the second tree knew she was carrying the king of heaven and earth.

One Friday morning, the third tree was startled when her beams were yanked from the forgotten woodpile.  She flinched as she was carried through an angry jeering crowd.  She shuddered when soldiers nailed a man's hands to her.  She felt ugly and harsh and cruel.  But on Sunday morning, when the sun rose and the earth trembled with joy beneath her, the third tree knew that God's love had changed everything.

It had made the third tree strong.  And every time people thought of the third tree, they would think of God.  That was better than being the tallest tree in the world.

The next time you feel down because you didn't get what you want, sit tight and be happy because God is thinking of something better to give you.

~ Author Unknown

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Legend of the Poinsettia


It once was the custome in Mexico
For the villagers to leave
A gift for the Baby Jesus
In their church on Christmas Eve.

In one small village, a little boy,
Who had no gift to bring,
Prayed to God for a way to show
His love for the Infant King.

God, in His mercy, looked down on the boy
And answered his earnest prayer
By causing a flower to bloom where he knelt --
A flower so brilliant and fair.

The miraculous flower was formed like a star
With leaves tht were red and so bright,
And the boy's precious gift has come to be known
As the "Flower of the Holy Night."

Published in Christmas Blessings
by Hallmark

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What we have looked upon and touched with our hands...


St. John, whose feast we celebrate today, is an amazing person to look to when discerning a vocation.  Why?  It wasn't seeing the Babe in the manger at Bethlehem.  But John's own words in his Gospel when he arrived at the tomb on that first Easter morning:  he "saw and believed."  Not swaddling clothes, but the burials cloths are what cemented his faith.

Belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, as John so eloquently expresses in the opening lines of his first letter: 

What was from the beginning,
what we have heard,
what we have seen with our eyes,
what we looked upon
and touched with our hands
concerns the Word of life --
for the life was made visible;
we have seen it and testify to it
and proclaim to you the eternal life
that was with the Father and was made visible to us --
what we have seen and heard
we proclaim now to you,
so that you too may have fellowship with us;
for our fellowship is with the Father
and with his Son, Jesus Christ.

(1 John 1:1-4)

As you sit and ponder these words today, ask yourself a few simple questions:  how do I see Christ today?  how do I touch Him?  how do I proclaim His presence to those around me?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Nativity Nunning


The creche in our chapel, while containing the same basic elements (i.e. same figurines and stable) always seems to ends up with a new "effect."  This year is no different -- in fact you could say this year it grew. 

Grew?  Well, this year we added a starry sky.  Our plain white walls needed some color and light.  So consulting with one of our ever loyal volunteers, several engineering discussions having occurred, a check on what might be in house and a trip to the lumber store, Sears and JoAnne Fabric brought about the elements needed to achieve our goal.

First two of our guys hauled in the three sheets of 4' x 8' particle board and stood them in place.  Next 4' x 6' nets of LED lights were strategically stapled to the boards followed by dark blue fabric being draped loosely over them to create the twinkling night sky.  Then we stapled some beige-tone fabric to the base of the particle board to create the "horizon" and then we went for it with more fabric, boxes, dried grasses, and, yes, even more lights!  We think the effect is quite dramatic -- and even better experienced in person. 

Stop by the Cor Jesu Chapel to pay Jesus a visit!

Here's a sneak preview of the Creche before
we placed the figurine of the Christ Child.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Christmas Prayer


Christ Eternal, hear our prayer,
Bless our friends everywhere,
Bless each home and fireside hearth,
Bless the children's fun and mirth,
Bless the carols that are sung
As the holly greens are hung;
May all earth this Christmastide
In Thy joy and peace abide.

Christ Eternal, shed Thy love
From Thy throne in Heav'n above,
Fill with peace the hearts of men
As Thou didst at Bethlehem;
May Thy glory fill this day
'Til all men shall know the way
to Thy great salvation free,
Blood-bought Gift of Calvary.

Christ Eternal, may all men
Look anew to Bethlehem,
May they see the guiding star,
May they hear the angel choir,
May their faith grow deep and strong,
Trusting Thee, God's only Son;
May all earth its homage pay,
Christ, to Thee this Christmas Day.

Kathryn Thorne Bowsher

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Ero Cras


Our O Antiphons have taken us on a journey.  We have traveled a great deal with Isaiah these past days and now our O Antiphons have spelled out a message for us.  By taking the first letter from each of the Latin titles of the antiphons, we arrive at the words ero cras, which translated means "Tomorrow, I will come." 

This message brings both our Advent and our O Antiphons to their promised fulfillment:  the feast of the Nativity of Our Lord. 

Admist the business of the day, try to take even a few moments to sit and quietly reflect on this great mystery:  God who created the world and all that it holds took on the flesh of our humanity in order to redeem us.  Yes, Christmas is an awesome time.  Not because of the tinsel and the presents, but because God became a tiny, helpless baby because He loved us so much!

Friday, December 23, 2011

O Emmanuel

O Antiphon text:

O Emmanuel,
God with us,
our King and lawgiver,
the expected of the nations
and their Savior:
come to save us,
O Lord our God.


 
Reflection:

O Emmanuel!
God with us!
Your birth gave rise to a new Kingdom
And a Law of love!
O long-desired,
And yearned for by your Chosen People,
Your birth changed all understanding
Of what it was they should be seeking.
You fulfilled all the prophecies of old
And brought all peoples together
to seek you anew.
Come, O Emmanuel!
And save us from ourselves!

 
Additional texts for reflection:

Isaiah 7:14
Matthew 1:23
1 Timothy 4:9

Thursday, December 22, 2011

O Rex Gentium (O King of Nations)

O Antiphon text:

O King of the gentiles
and their desired One,
the cornerstone that makes both one:
come, and deliver man,
whom you formed out
of the dust of the earth.


Reflection:

O King of Nations,
Whom all desire
You were both a stumbling stone
and a cornerstone
to those whom you encountered.
When man had sinned
And turned from You,
You assumed what You were not,
Yet your divinity retained,
So that sinful Adam
May once again
Undivided communion with You attain.
Come, O King of Nations,
And deliver the man
You made.


Additional texts for reflection:


Isaiah 2:4; 11:10; 28:16 
Psalm 47:8;
Psalm 118:22
Jeremiah 10:7
Daniel 7:14;
Haggai 2:8
Matthew 21:42
Mark 12:10
Luke 20:17
Acts 4:11
Romans 15:12
Ephesians 2:14, 20

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

O Oriens (O Dayspring)

O Antiphon text:

O Dayspring,
Brightness of the everlasting light,
Sun of justice,
come to give light to them
that sit in darkness
and in the shadow of death.

Reflection:

O Dawn of Eternal Day,
Who most desire
To drive darkness and sin away.
In Thy radiance,
of Lord of Light,
Give to your people your gift of sight.
By Your wondrous birth may we,
evermore be made like unto Thee.
Come, O Dawn of Eternal Day,
and shine on all
in darkness and in death's dread thrall.

Additional texts for reflection:

Isaiah 9:1; 58:8; 60:18-20
Malachi 4:2
Luke 1:78-79
John 8:12
Revelation 22:16

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

O Clavis David (O Key of David)


O Antiphon text:

O Key of David,
and scepter of the house of Israel,
who opens and no man shuts,
who shuts and no man opens:
come, and lead forth the captive
who sits in the shadows from his prison.


Reflection:

O Key of David,
Who through your gift of the priesthood
Reigns today and is the only key.
In the gift of your priesthood,
We experience your mercy and forgiveness.
As we celebrate the wondrous Sacrament of Reconciliation.
We know that it is You who opens and no man may shut
And who shuts that no man may open:
Come, Lord,
And loosen the shackles,
With which we bind ourselves
And lead us through
Your open door.


Additional texts for reflection:

Isaiah 3:7
Jeremiah 13:13, 51:19
Matthew 4:15; 16:19
Luke 1:79
Revelation 3:7

Monday, December 19, 2011

O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse)

O Antiphon text:

O Root of Jesse,
that stands for an ensign of the people,
before whom the kings keep silence
and unto whom the Gentiles
shall make supplication:
come, to deliver us,
and tarry not.


Reflection:

O Root of Jesse,
A small beginning,
And yet the anchor of a mighty tree!
From such a tiny beginning,
You reigned majestically from the Cross!
Whom the Magi worshiped
Simply bowing low and presenting their gifts
And from whom today
Many nations and peoples
Find their joy and salvation
And present their needs and necessities.
Come, Lord,
and do not delay...


Additional texts for reflection:

Isaiah 11:1, 10
Romans 15:12

Sunday, December 18, 2011

O Adonai (O Sacred Lord)

O Antiphon text:

O Sacred Lord of ancient Israel,
who showed yourselft to Moses in the burning bush,
who gave him the holy law on Sinai mountain:
Come, stretch out your mighty hand
to set us free.


Reflection:

O Sacred Lord,
Who appeared as a flaming bush to Moses,
and as a flame we see symbolized
In your Sacred Heart
And in the Tongues of Fire.
You who gave Moses the Law,
And who gave us a New Law of Love,
to Love You and our neighbor equally.
Come, Sacred Lord,
And set us free,
Break the bonds of sin that bind us.


Additional texts for reflection:

Exodus 3:2
Isaiah 33:22; 63:11-12
Micah 6:4
Acts 7:30-31

Saturday, December 17, 2011

O Sapientia (O Wisdom)


O Antiphon text:

O Wisdom,
who came from the mouth of the Most High,
reaching from end to end
and ordering all things mightily and sweetly: 
come, and teach us prudence.


Reflection:

O Wisdom,
Who took on human flesh
And was born in time,
Yet the ever timeless Word.
You, the sinless One,
Took our sins upon You,
And nailed them to your Cross.
Restoring humanity to its original image,
And making it once more
Sons and daughters of God.
Teach us to live
That we may reflect
Your Spirit
Shining forth from within our hearts.


Scripture texts for further reflection:

Wisdom 8:1,
Isaiah 11:2-3 and 28:29
Proverbs 8:1-36
John 1:1-5

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Golden Nights



Just as we have Holy Week that leads up to the great feast of the Resurrection, so in Advent we have what some have referred to as the golden nights, which creates an octave leading up to the feast of the Incarnation of our Lord.

During these days, which begin on December 17, the Magnificat antiphon at Vespers recalls titles given to Christ in the Book of of the Prophet Isaiah.  Those titles are: 
Sapientia
Adonai
Radix Jesse
Clavis David
Oriens
Rex Gentium
Emmanuel
Over the next days we will reflect on these titles of Christ to further ready our hearts for Christmas.  If you would like to do some extra research on these antiphons on your own, simply google "O Antiphons" or a website that we discovered that offers a lot of detail is http://fisheaters.com/customsadvent10.html.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tannenbaum Nunning


The erection and decoration of the various Christmas trees throughout the monastery and its environs calls forth various gifts and talents.  This year has been no different thus far, and it all started with the placement of the star...
This beautiful 12' tree pictured above was given to us this year.  One of our volunteers assisted a Sister in assembling it.  It was known (though not widely), that the bottom of the pole was "somewhat" bent, but it assembled well and looked really terrific -- and most importantly, stood erect! 

A few days later, one of us began to decorate the tree by putting the star on the top, with the necessity of tilting the top slightly in order to reach it from the 10' ladder.  All went well until Sister was down ladder and moved it to a better location to begin decorating.   You guessed it, the tree began to fall...

Three of us and two of our strong-armed male volunteers then began the nearly hour long task of making the tree stand erect on its own.  When shoring up the base didn't help, we switched the tree to a different style holder, and adding stronger shoring up material, i.e. rocks.  When that didn't work, the engineering mind said we needed to wire it.  Thankfully, the recessed area in the ceiling had four screws placed in the architecture that were in the exact places needed to attach the wires, and now our tree is standing wonderfully erect! 

And as you probably have already guessed, our minds are already thinking of what needs done to make this task to erecting and decorating this particular tree easier next year...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Prayer for Guidance


Dear Lord,
give me the truths which are veiled
by the doctirnes and articles of faith,
which are masked by the pious words
of sermons and books.
Let my eyes penetrate the veil,
and tear off the mask,
that I can see your truth face to face.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Readying Our Hearts to Receive Jesus - Part X


Christ Child

Worship the child in the manger with special love.  All that you do, do in the name of Jesus.  Give Him your heart.  While at work, pray also again and again to God.

Ask God for his grace and pray with devotion the Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Readying Our Hearts to Receive Jesus - Part IX


Mother of God - Purity

Honor in a special manner this Advent the most Blessed Virgin Mary.  Sacrifice all your activities to the service of her.  Carefully make sure the stable to Bethlehem is entirely pure, or whether somehow dust and spider webs dirty the manger.  For example, you must search your conscience search to see that your heart does not hang on temporal or earthly things. 

Ask God for the grace of purity of heart and pray the Litany of Loreto. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Readying Our Hearts to Receive Jesus - Part VIII


St. Joseph

Awake in your heart a pious devotion after the example of Saint Joseph.  Remember with what love he served the Christ Child, with what constant love he guarded the holy Virgin, with constant holiness he administered his house and fulfilled all duties, with what deep devotion he worshiped God and revered his holy, virginal bride.  Follow him and imitate him with God’s grace.

Pray with devotion the Litany of St.  Joseph.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Readying Our Hearts to Receive Jesus - Part VII


The Angel

Take care that the angel, the peace of the heart, is in the stable at Bethlehem.   When you perceive in your heart an aversion to a person or feel displeasure, for example hatred or envy, resentful self-love, or whatever it would be, you must remove it from your heart.  You must forgive all from your heart.

Ask God for His grace, peace, and peacefulness and pray with devotion five Our Fathers and Hail Marys. 


Friday, December 9, 2011

Readying Our Hearts to Receive Jeus - Part VI


Shepherd

Good will is the shepherd by the manger of your heart.  Sacrifice and offer to God your will with all its inclinations and wishes.  Offer God gladly and willingly all your freedom.  Unite your will entirely with the will of God and desire nothing that does not please Him. 

Ask God for His grace and conform your will to the will of God and reverently pray five Our Fathers and Hail Marys.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Readying Our Hearts to Receive Jesus - Part V


Little Donkey

Retrieve the donkey in the stable of Bethlehem through faithful service of God.  Carry readily and diligently the load which the Lord enjoins on you.  Be constant in the observation of the regulations, as well as in the fulfillment of your duties.  Offer everything that you do, as well as your sufferings and joys to the Lord, so that your whole life will be a service to God.

Ask God for his grace and pray the Litany of the Saints.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Readying Our Hearts to Receive Jesus - Part IV


Little Ox

Retain reverent silence in the stable at Bethlehem.  You must remember that we must give an account over all our words.  A Church Father says:  "Often I have regrets over words I have spoken; never, however, over having been silent." 

Ask God for the grace of silence and pray with devotion three Our Fathers and the Salve Regina. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Readying Our Hearts to Receive Jesus - Part III


Lamb

Today, o God-loving soul, you must also be the lamb at the manger, this is meekness of the heart,  never flying into a rage, never being cross,  never retaliates, lovingly apologizes, forgives all and rather suffers the largest wrongs than commits the smallest ones.

Ask God for his grace and help and pray with devotion three Our Fathers and the Salve Regina. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Readying Our Hearts to Receive Jesus - Part II


Fence

Place your fence around the manger through preservation of your senses.  Hold yourself back, speak less and consider how Mary has never spoken a useless word, as well as how chaste she was.  Offer your silence and speech with hers to God. 

Ask God for his grace and help and pray with devotion three Hail Marys and the Memore.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Readying Our Hearts to Receive Jesus - Part I

Today's reading from the beginning of St. Mark's Gospel gives a familiar image:  St. John the Baptist by the Jordan River baptizing the people as they confessed their sins.  He was helping to prepare them for the coming of the Messiah. 

Over the next days, we invite you to join in an older custom that we have begun anew several years ago:  the spiritual nativity.  Each Advent, each Sister draws a slip from a basket and then uses that "lense" so to speak as a means to help prepare her heart.  We would like to share some of these with you, so that you, may have a thought each day to think and pray about in order to ready your heart for Christ in a special way this Christmas:

Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem


The Stable

Awaken a loving desire in your heart for the Christ Child and prepare with all care the stable through the practice of the humility.  Offer all that you have, in particular offer up your self will and self love to the Lord.  Prune your pride and your vanity. 

Ask God for His grace and His help and pray with devotion three Our Fathers and the Salve Regina.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Patience is a diamond...



Arm yourselves with that patience which works such wonders in the saints and renders a frail girl capable of ovecoming the entire world.  Moreover, the triumph is assured even before the contest is begun, for patiences lives iwth the sorrows of the world and finds its delights in vexations...

Let us reflect, and we will see that our sufferings in this life are not at all in proportion to the greatness of Christ's sufferings, the gravity of our sins, the horror of the torments of hell, and the celestial reward...

Patience is a diamond which enables the soul to resist all adversity; a remedy which heals all wounds; and a buckler which protects against every attack... 

~ Blessed Humbert of Romans

Friday, December 2, 2011

Stir up your power, we pray, O Lord, and come...



Stir up your power, we pray, O Lord, and come,
that with you to protect us,
we may find rescue
from the pressing dangers of our sins,
and with you to set us free,
we may be found worthy of salvation.
Who live and reign with God the Father
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

From  The Roman Missal, Third Edition
Friday of the First Week of Advent

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI's Intentions for December

Photo:  Pressestelle Erzbischöfliches Ordinariat MĂĽnchen

December's Intentions:

Peace Among All Peoples:  That all peoples may grow in harmony and peace through mutual understanding and respect.

Children and Youth:  That children and young people may be messengers of the Gospel and that they may be respected and preserved from all violence and exploitation.

For more information about the Apostleship of Prayer, visit:  http://www.apostleshipofprayer.org/.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What is prayer?


What is prayer? 
It is the mind detached from earthly things
and the whole heart pointed
to that in which it hopes.

~ Isaac of Ninevah

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pray without ceasing...


If you want to pray “without ceasing”
never cease to long for God. 
The continuation of your longing
is the continuation of your prayer;
if you cease to long for him,
prayer ceases.

~ St. Augustine

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thoughts on prayer...



Prayer is called meditation
until it has produced the honey of devotion,
when it may become contemplation…
when the love of God takes possession of our hearts,
then we contemplate His goodness,
hoping to satisfy our love.

~ St. Francis de Sales

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Advent Nunning


You can tell its Advent in the monastery:  large Advent wreaths are set up in the chapel, the refectory (monastic dining room), our recreation room as well as several other locations.  Wherever you look, it seems that you have the visible reminder in purple and pink that there are four weeks to prepare your heart to receive Christ in a special way at Christmas.

Advent is about waiting and preparing.  Preparing to celebrate the Birth of Christ that happened 2000 years ago, the coming of Christ when He returns, and the coming of Christ in the here and now of Christmas 2011. 

How do we prepare?  For us, today is a day of recollection, a day of prayer.  Just as one would spend time with friends or loved ones, we spend time today and during these days of Advent in a special way with our Divine Bridegroom asking Him and inviting the Spirit to make our hearts even more like unto His own Sacred Heart and an intimate dwelling place for Him.

What are you doing this Advent to make your heart a home for Christ?  Take some time today to ask the Lord what He most desires for you.  Who knows, you may be very surprised at the gift Christ gives you for Christmas...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Climb Until Your Dreams Come True


Often your tasks will be many,
And more than you think you can do…
Often the road will be rugged
And the hills insurmountable, too…
But always remember, the hills ahead
Are never as steep as they seem,
And with Faith in your heart start upward
And climb ’till you reach your dream,
For nothing in life that is worthy
Is ever too hard to achieve
If you have the courage to try it
And you have the Faith to believe
For Faith is a force that is greater
Than knowledge or power or skill
And many defeats turn to triumph
If you trust in God’s wisdom and will…
For Faith is a mover of mountains,
There’s nothing that God cannot do,
So start out today
with Faith in your heart
And Climb ‘Til Your Dream Comes True!

~Helen Steiner Rice

Friday, November 25, 2011

'Twas the Night Before Christmas ~ A New Version

This delightful little updated poem catches what our culture tells us these days leading up to Christmas -- and Christmas itself is about.  We are an Advent people -- people preparing a place in our hearts to welcome anew the Newborn King.  Read on to the end -- and find out what this season is really about...



'T'was the night before Christmas
and all through the town
Not a sign of Baby Jesus
was anywhere to be found.

The people were all busy
with Christmas time chores
Like decorating, and baking,
and shopping in stores.

No one sang "Away in a manger,
no crib for a bed".
Instead, they sang of Santa
dressed-up in bright red.

Mama watched Martha Stewart,
Papa drank beer from a tap.
As hour upon hour
the presents they'd wrap

When what from the T.V.
did they suddenly hear?
'Cept an ad.. which told
of a big sale at Sears.

So away to the mall
they all flew like a flash...
Buying things on credit...
and others with cash!


And, as they made their way home
From their trip to the mall,
Did they think about Jesus?
Oh, no... not at all.

Their lives were so busy
with their Christmas time things
No time to remember
Christ Jesus, the King.

There were presents to wrap
and cookies to bake.
How could they stop and remember
who died for their sake?

To pray to the Savior...
they had no time to stop.
Because they needed more time
to "Shop til they dropped!"

On Wal-mart! On K-mart!
On Target! On Penney's!
On Hallmark! On Zales!
A quick lunch at Denny's

From the big stores downtown
to the stores at the mall
They would dash away, dash away,
and visit them all!

And up on the roof,
there arose such a clatter
As grandpa hung icicle lights
up on his brand new step ladder.

He hung lights that would flash.
He hung lights that would twirl.
Yet, he never once prayed to Jesus...
Light of the World.

Christ's eyes... how they twinkle!
Christ's Spirit... how merry!
Christ's love... how enormous!
All our burdens... He'll carry!

So instead of being busy,
overworked, and uptight
Let's put Christ back in Christmas
and enjoy some good nights!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

How to Observe Thanksgiving


Count your blessings instead of your crosses;
Count your gains instead of your losses.
Count your joys instead of your woes;
Count your friends instead of your foes.
Count your smiles instead of your tears;
Count your courage instead of your fears.
Count your full years instead of your lean;
Count your kind deeds instead of your mean.
Count your health instead of your wealth;
Count on God instead of yourself.

~Author Unknown

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Smallest Prayer


God hears the very smallest prayer,
Nor sends a cross too great to bear,
And though we stumble now and then,
He always picks us up again.
There is no moment day or night,
When we are hidden from His sight,
No wall too high nor door too stout,
To keep His loving care without.

His ways are wiser than our own,
His strength remains when ours is gone,
We must not doubt nor question why,
He sends the answers by and by.
And this I know within my heart,
All darkness fades and shadows part,
And that sometime, somehow, somewhere,
God hears and answers every prayer!
~ by Grace E. Easley

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Two Horses


Just up the road from my home is a field,
 with two horses in it.

From a distance, each looks like every other horse.
But if you stop your car, or are walking by,
you will notice something quite amazing.

Looking into the eyes of one horse will
disclose that he is blind.

His owner has chosen not to have him put down,
 but has made a good home for him.

This alone is amazing.
If nearby and listening,
you will hear the sound of a bell.
Looking around for the source of the sound,
you will see that it comes from the
smaller horse in the field.

Attached to her halter is a small bell.
It lets her blind friend know where she is,
so he can follow her.

As you stand and watch these two friends,
you'll see how she is always checking on him,
and that he will listen for her bell and then
slowly walk to where she is, trusting that she
will not lead him astray. When she returns to the
shelter of the barn each evening, she stops
occasionally and looks back, making sure her
friend isn't too far behind to hear the bell.

Like the owners of these two horses,
God does not throw us away just because
we are not perfect or because we have problems
or challenges. He watches over us and even brings
 others into our lives to help us when we are in need.

Sometimes we are the blind horse being guided by
the little ringing bell of those who God places in our lives.

Other times we are the guide horse, helping others see. Good friends are like this.
You don't always see them,
but you know they are always there. Please listen for my bell and I'll listen for yours.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Five Simple Rules to Be Happy


Remember these five simple rules to be happy:

1.  Free your heart from hatred -- Forgive.

2.  Free your mind from worries -- Most never happen.

3.  Live simply and appreciate what you have.

4.  Give more.

5.  Expect less from people but more from God.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Solemnity of Christ the King

The following reading is taken from Vigils (or Office of Readings, as it is known in the 4-Volume set of the Liturgy of the Hours):



From a discourse of Origen on prayer
The coming of the kingdom of God, says our Lord and Saviour, does not admit of observation, and there will be no-one to say “Look here! Look there!” For the kingdom of God is within us and in our hearts. And so it is beyond doubt that whoever prays for the coming of the kingdom of God within himself is praying rightly, praying for the kingdom to dawn in him, bear fruit and reach perfection. For God reigns in every saint, and every saint obeys God’s spiritual laws — God, who dwells in him just as he dwells in any well-ordered city. The Father is present in him and in his soul Christ reigns alongside the Father, as it is said: We will come to him and make our dwelling with him.
Therefore, as we continue to move forward without ceasing, the kingdom of God within us will reach its perfection in us at that moment when the saying in the Apostle is fulfilled, that Christ, His enemies all made subject to Him, shall deliver the kingdom to God the Father that God may be All in All.
For this reason let us pray without ceasing, our souls filled by a desire made divine by the Word Himself. Let us pray to our Father in heaven: hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come.
There is something important that we need to understand about the kingdom of God: just as righteousness has no partnership with lawlessness, just as light has nothing in common with darkness and Christ has no agreement with Belial, so the kingdom of God and a kingdom of sin cannot co-exist.
So if we want God to reign within us, on no account may sin rule in our mortal body but let us mortify our earthly bodies and let us be made fruitful by the Spirit. Then we will be a spiritual garden of Eden for God to walk in. God will rule in us with Christ who will be seated in us on the right hand of God — God, the spiritual power that we pray to receive — until he makes his enemies (who are within us) into his footstool and pours out on us all authority, all power, all strength.
This can happen to any one of us and death, the last enemy may be destroyed, so that in us Christ says Death, where is your sting? Death, where is your victory? So let our corruptibility be clothed today with holiness and incorruption. With Death dead, let our mortality be cloaked in the Father’s immortality. With God ruling in us, let us be immersed in the blessings of regeneration and resurrection.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Stitchery Nunning


Our days are full of ora et labora, a Latin saying meaning prayer and work.  While this is true, it is not exclusive of being able to spend time doing those things that we find relaxing and enjoyable and at the same time create beauty. 

Some of us do have hobbies that are sold in our gift shop or in the little "boutique" that we have in our bed and breakfast.  Other hobbies appear for use in the chapel, which is the project being worked on above -- a new pall for the chalice.

No matter what we do, the saying in the Rule prevails:  In all things, may God be glorified!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Shake it off and step up!

We received this little story via email, we thought it interesting and thought provoking -- and hope you do to!


One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well.  The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out whatto do.  Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey.

He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him.  They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well.  At first, the donkey realized what was happening and creid horribly.  Then, to everyone's amazement he quieted down.

A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well.  He was astonished at what he saw.  With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing.  He would shake it off and take a step up.

As the farmer's neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up.  Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!

Moral:

Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt.  The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off an take a step up.  Each of our troubles is a steppingstone.  We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up!  Shake it off and take a step up.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Prayer for Peace and Tranquility


My Lord Jesus Christ,
may your peace be with me.
In you, O Lord, true peace,
may I have peace upon peace eternally.
Through you may I come to that peace
which surpasses all understanding,
that where, in gladness, I may see you in yourself.
Amen.


This prayer is by St. Gertrude of Helfta, whose feast we celebrate today.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Words of Wisdom by St. Albert the Great


It is by the path of love,
which is charity,
that God draws near to man,
and man to God.
But where charity is not found,
God cannot dwell.
If, then, we possess charity,
we possess God,
for "God is Charity."
(1 John 4:8)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Confession heals...


Confession heals,
confession justifies,
confession grants pardon of sin.
All hope consists in confession.
In confession there is a chance for mercy.
Believe it firmly.
Do not doubt,
do not hesitate,
never despair of the mercy of God.
Hope and have confidence in confession.

~ St. Isidore of Seville

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Charity unites us to God...


Charity unites us to God...
There is nothing mean in charity,
nothing arrogant.
Charity knows no schism,
does not rebel,
does all things in concord.
In charity
all the elect of God
have been made perfect.

~ Pope St. Clement I

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Christmas Shoppe Nunning


Photos cannot begin to show all the aspects of our annual "Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe" held this weekend.  Consisting of items that can be gifted for the upcoming holidays, the days include food, fun, and great deals. 

With the help of our very dedicated volunteers who do work for several weeks tirelessly displaying the items to best enhance their beauty and pricing them, they spend three days with us during the actual sale doing the "whatever it takes" to make the days go smoothly.

Our photos give you a "peek" into the kitchen and several of the sale areas.  Besides the wonderful fun it is for everyong, it is also a bit of "undercover evangelization" -- individuals who would not normally visit a monastery come.  The hook may be the pierogies or the pizza -- but it is the peace of Christ that we pray they experience.