Monday, April 30, 2012

Thoughts on Obedience, Part I

Whoever wishes to offer God an acceptable sacrifice has nothing more preciouse to offer than his own will.

~ John Trithemius, Rule
found in Essential Monastic Wisdom

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Good Shepherd Sunday

The Fourth Sunday of Easter, sometimes referred to as Good Shepherd Sunday, is different for us this year.  I/we don't remember this day without Sr. Gaudentia celebrating her profession anniversary.  The two have been one in the same.

The Good Shepherd is certainly an image of Christ that Sr. Gaudentia dearly loved.  Even in her advanced years, she showed forth a beautiful aura of childlike trust in the Shepherd to whom she could turn whenever she was in need. 

Perhaps that's one of the best legacies she leaves us.  To have such trust and confidence in a loving Lord who cares for all our needs, that we can turn to Him as small children turn to their parents, and know that he will supply our needs.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Thoughts on Prayer from the Saints, Part V

We must pray without tiring,
for the salvation of mankind
does not depend on material success;
nor on sciences that cloud the intellect.
Neither does it depend
on arms and human industries,
but on Jesus alone.
St. Frances Xavier Cabrini

Friday, April 27, 2012

Thoughts on Prayer from the Saints, Part IV

"For me prayer is a surge of the heart,
it is a simple look towards Heaven,
it is a cry of recognition and of love,
embracing both trial and joy."
~ Saint Therese of Lisieux

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thoughts on Prayer from the Saints, Part III

Prayer reveals to souls
the vanity of earthly goods and pleasures.
It fills them with light,
strength and consolation;
and gives them a foretaste of the calm bliss
of our heavenly home.
~ St. Rose of Viterbo

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Thoughts on Prayer from the Saints, Part II

Virtues are formed by prayer.
Prayer preserves temperance.
Prayer suppresses anger.
Prayer prevents emotions of pride and envy.
Prayer draws into the soul the Holy Spirit,
and raises man to Heaven.
~ St. Ephraem

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Thoughts on Prayer from the Saints, Part I

Pray with great confidence,
with confidence based upon the goodness
and infinite generosity of God
and upon the promises of Jesus Christ.
God is a spring of living water
which flows unceasingly
into the hearts of those who pray.
~St. Louis de Montfort

Monday, April 23, 2012

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Bringing Forth Pearls of Love

The loving soul ought to receive int othe seashell of its heart the most sweek and pure dew of the Divine WOrd.  It must then enclose the Word deep within itself by recollection.  It must then cast itself deep into the sea of its own nothingness, hiding in Jesus Christ to bring forth of Holy Love.

~ St. Paul of the Cross

Friday, April 20, 2012

Dinner Nunning


This evening is our annual Fundraising Dinner and Silent Auction to raise monies to help with our operating expenses.  What makes our event different than most is that we bring folks to the monastery -- instead of holding it at a local hotel or country club.  And, they are invited, their schedule permiting, to begin the evening in prayer with us at Vespers.

It's an enjoyable evening for all, and includes a delicious served dinner by a local caterer who absolutely loves our kitchen. 

The baskets for the silent auction are crafted largely by our volunteers from items donated from various companies, organizations and individuals and have fun themes and great content.  We are indeed blessed that so many are generous to us.

Something we started last year and that was a definitely worth repeating was our dessert idea:  a sunday bar!  Who doesn't like ice cream and an array of toppings to choose from?

On Interior Humility

St. Thomas Aquinas tells us that the sure way of attaining to the love of God is to dwell on his mercies; the more we appreciate them, the more we shall love him.

Nothing can so us humble us before the compassion of God as the abundance of his mercies; nothing so humbles us before his justice as the abundance of our misdeeds.  Let us reflect upon all he has done for us, and all we have done against him.  As we count over our sins in detail, so also we count his mercies.

We not fear to be puffed up with knowledge of what he has done for us, if we keep before us the truth that whatsoever is good in us is not of us.

'What have you that you did not receive?  And if you did receive it, whay do you glory as if you ahd not received it?' (1 Cor. 4:7)

A lively consciousness of mercies received makes us humble, for this knowledge gives birth to gratitude.

Sometimes we say we are nothing, weakness itself, but are ill pleased to be taken at our word.  We pretend to take the lower place, but just to move up higher.

from Athirst for God
St. Francis de Sales

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Surrender to God

Oh, how gentle are the divine attractions!  Let us run, let us run after that dear Lover of our souls, casting ourselves always more totally into the bosom of his most holy love.

Don't be afraid of troubles or daily falls or great trials.  His mercy takes care of them.

~St. Paul of the Cross

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

but might have eternal life...

God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
(from John 3:16-21)

The days of the Triduum bring to mind in a powerful way just how much Jesus loved us.  What He was willing to do so that we might enjoy eternal life with him once again in heaven.

We're not indifferent to the image of Jesus on the cross during the rest of the year, but we need the reminder that the Triduum gives in order to re-focus our sight so that we look again with fresh eyes upon his sacrifice.

And, just as importantly, we need Easter.  A friend once told me, "You can't have Easter without Good Friday."  How true!  Yet, don't most of us avoid those things that are painful, or stretching, if we can? 

Take a few moments today and thank the Lord for those times of being stretched, of being asked to move outside your comfort zone.  Jesus certainly went through much during His passion, so how can we refuse to walk in our Lord's footsteps?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

St. Faustina's Praises of The Divine Mercy

The Love of God is the flower – Mercy the fruit.

Let the doubting soul read these considerations on Divine Mercy and become trusting:

Divine Mercy, gushing forth from the bosom of the Father,
I trust in You.Divine Mercy, greatest attribute of God,
I trust in You.
Divine Mercy, incomprehensible mystery,
I trust in You.
Divine Mercy, fount gushing forth from the mystery of the Most Blessed Trinity
I trust in You.
Divine Mercy, unfathomable by any intellect human or angelic,
I trust in You.
Divine Mercy, from which wells forth all life and happiness,
I trust in You.
Divine Mercy, better than the heavens,
I trust in You.
Divine Mercy, source of miracles and wonders,
I trust in You.
Divine Mercy, encompassing the whole universe,
I trust in You.
Divine Mercy, descending to earth in the Person of the Incarnate Word,
I trust in You.
Divine Mercy which flowed out from the open wound of the Heart of Jesus,
I trust in You.
Divine Mercy enclosed in the Heart of Jesus for us and especially for sinners,
I trust in You.
Divine Mercy unfathomed in the institution of the Sacred Heart,
I trust in You.
Divine Mercy, in the founding of the Holy Church,
I trust in You.
Divine Mercy, in the sacrament of Holy Baptism,
I trust in You.
Divine Mercy, in our justification through Jesus Christ,
I trust in You.
Divine Mercy, accompanying us through our whole life,
I trust in You.
Divine Mercy, embracing us especially at the hour of death,
I trust in You.
Divine Mercy, endowing us with immortal life,
I trust in You.
Divine Mercy, accompanying us every moment of our life,
I trust in You.
Divine Mercy, shielding us from the fire of hell,
I trust in You.
Divine Mercy, in the conversion of hardened sinners,
I trust in You.
Divine Mercy, astonishment for angels, incomprehensible to saints,
I trust in You.
Divine Mercy, unfathomed in all the mysteries of God,
I trust in You.
Divine Mercy, lifting us out of every misery,
I trust in You.
Divine Mercy, source of our happiness and joy,
I trust in You.
Divine Mercy, in calling us forth from nothingness to existence,
I trust in You.
Divine Mercy, embracing all the works of His hands,
I trust in You.
Divine Mercy, crown of all God’s handy work,
I trust in You.
Divine Mercy, in which we are all immersed,
I trust in You.
Divine Mercy, sweet relief for anguished hearts,
I trust in You.
Divine Mercy, only hope of despairing souls,
I trust in You.
Divine Mercy, repose of hearts, peace amidst fear,
I trust in You.
Divine Mercy, delight and ecstasy of holy souls,
I trust in You.
Divine Mercy, inspiring hope against all hope,
I trust in You.
Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your Holy Will, which is Love and Mercy itself.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Jesus, I Trust in You!

Yesterday was Divine Mercy Sunday.  Back when I first began discerning vocation, I was having difficulty sleeping.  The priest I spoke with basically diagnosed the real root of my problem to be one of lack of trust in God's will for my life.  He went on to assure me that if I prayed, "Jesus, I trust in You!" over and over as I tried to fall asleep, that I would become at peace and would be able to sleep. 

Sure enough, I was able to sleep again and came to be at peace with that strange word of "vocation" that had become part of my personal reality.  Mind you, I had no knowledge of Faustinaher Diary, the novena, chaplet, etc.  What I knew was this was a mantra that I prayed, over and over again, as I came unite my will with God's will for my life.

The Lord likes to write straight with crooked lines, and in my vocation story it is not different.  Eventually Divine Mercy Sunday would become an even bigger part of my vocation story.  My clothing day and the date of my first profession were both on Divine Mercy Sunday.

Still I was clueless.  I did not pray the Chaplet or Novena (didn't really know they existed).  It wasn't until people kept saying to me, "Oh, Divine Mercy Sunday" when I would tell them my profession anniversary.  I eventually discovered several copies of the Novena and Chaplet in my cell (I still don't know how they came into my possession).  The final "sign" was a Sister from St. Faustina's convent (in Poland!) who attended a day of recollection here at the monastery.  Through her presence, I finally heard the Lord's call to pray the Chaplet and Novena.  Actually I thought if I didn't, I'd be facing St. Faustina herself next and I just wasn't up to that challenge!

Today, the Chaplet and Novena are a special preparation each year for my profession anniversary, and other prayers taken from the Diary are also incorporated into my personal prayer.

All that, from such a small, yet powerful prayer, Jesus, I Trust in You!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

My Lord and my God!

Now a week later his disciples were again inside
and Thomas was with them.
Jesus came, although the doors were locked,
and stood in their midst and said, "Peace be with you."
Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands,
and bring your hand and put it into my side,
and do not be unbelieving, but believe."
Thomas answered and said to him, "My Lord and my God!"
Jesus said to him, "Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed."
(from John 20:19-31)

Poor Thomas.  We know him first and foremost as the doubter.  We know the famous lines:  "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe." 

But it's thanks to Thomas, that we have the words of Jesus that apply to us:  Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.  That's you and me!  Yet, I wonder if you or I would have been been much different than Thomas, had we been in his shoes.  How often do we need "proof" before we will believe something.  Yes, there's a bit a "Thomas" in each of us.

Lord, may we be more and more like those you called blessed!  May we put aside our need to have things proven to us -- especially when it comes to our faith and trust in You!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

...He appeared first to Mary Magdalene

When he had risen, early on the first day of the week,
he appeared first to Mary Magdalene,
out of whom he had driven seven demons. 
She went and told his companions who were mourning and weeping. 
they did not believe.
(Mark 26:9-11)

Probably in many ways the Apostles were likely incredulous that Jesus would appear to anyone but them first.  But, then again, we know how they reacted and scattered when Jesus was arrested in the garden, and how John was the only one we know of to have been present at the cross.

But the women.  That's another story.  We read of how the women were present at the crucifixion.  They suffered with Him in his passion.  In many ways it's not surprising that Jesus would appear to one of the women first.  They possessed courage that few others did.

Today, take a few moments to reflect on these lines from the Gospel.  Put yourself in Mary Magdalene's place.  Consider her surprise, her joy at seeing Jesus alive -- and how that impelled her in finding the others to share the wondrous news with them.

Friday, April 13, 2012

A Vocation Prayer

O blessed St. Walburga,
Who heard the call of the Heavenly Bridegroom
   in the depths of your heart,
intercede now with that same Heavenly Bridegroom
that He may assist me
as I discern the path I should follow.
May He fill my heart with a great love,
   joy, peace and and sense of dedication,
so that I may persevere in following Him
in whatever path He is calling me to walk.
I ask this through Christ our Lord.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Touch me and see...

"Why are you troubled?
And why do questions arise in your hearts?
Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.
Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones
as you can see I have."
(from Luke 24:35-48)

We fortunately know all the story, but the Apostles were learning it, experiencing it.  Troubled?  Undoubtedly.  They saw him crucified.  They saw his lifeless body taken down from the cross and buried.  They knew the pain in their hearts as they mourned his death. 

Questions arising?  That too.  There was no where in recorded history that anyone had risen from the dead.  They may have known all the scriptures that predicted that the Messiah would die and rise, but they didn't know how to break them apart to understand their meaning.

Touch me and see.  Jesus knew that he needed to help them to move past their fears.  Touching him.  Seeing him.  Experiencing him.  All these helped to shore up their faith and move them forward into a new life. 

When questions and doubts arise in our hearts and minds, Lord, help us to take courage and trust in You and your great love and mercy.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

On the road to Emmaus

Two were bound for Emmaus, disheartened and lost;
all their hope for the future had been nailed to a cross.
Love unknown then walked beside them,
come back from the dead,
and they knew he was risen in the breaking of bread.

From Two Were Bound for Emmaus
by Bob Hurd, copyrighted 2000

Today's Gospel reading by St. Luke is well known.  The tale of two disciples journey to a town that took an entire's day journey when disheartened after Jesus' death but whose journey was incredibly shortened after the joy of knowing that Jesus was indeed risen from the dead!

Bob Hurd did a nice job in the first verse referenced above.  It also made me ponder what all went through the disciples minds when Jesus began walking with them and explaining the scriptures to them.  Luke only records that their hearts had been burning as He broke the scriptures open for them. 

Do we recognize Jesus when He walks beside us?  Or are we like those disciples who need a lot of "coaching" before we recognize Jesus in our midst?

Today take a few moments to ponder how to better recognize Jesus in your midst.  Remember:  We can find Him in those we encounter, if we look with eyes of faith.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Aurora lucis rutilat...

During the Easter season, the text of the following hymn is sung each day at Lauds.  It's text is rich and provides a terrific basis for prayer and meditation...

Light's glitter'ng morn bedecks the sky,
Heav'n thunders forth its victor cry,
The glad earth shouts it triumph high,
And groaning hell makes wild reply.

While He, the King of glorious might,
Treads down death's strength in death's despite,
And trampling hell by victor's right,
Brings forth His sleeping Saints to light.

Fast barred beneath the stone of late
In watch and ward where soldiers wait,
Now shining in triumphant state,
He rises Victor from death's gate.

Hell's pains are loosed and tears are fled,
Captivity is captive led;
The Angel crowned with light hath said,
"The Lord is risen from the dead!"

We pray Thee, King with glory decked,
In this our Paschal joy, protect
From all that death would fain effect
Thy ransomed flock, Thine own elect.

In Thee Who, dead, again dost live,
All glory, Lord, Thy people give;
All glory, as is ever meet,
To Father, and to Paraclete.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

He Is Risen, Alleluia!

Last night we gathered outside in the darkness and the fire was lit.  From the small single flame, a large fire was kindled.  And so began our Easter Vigil.  Moving through the opening stages of blessing the fire, the candle and then lighting the candle and processing into the dark chapel to hear the proclamation, The Light of Christ! was truly undescribable. 

And then the light began to disperse further as we lighted our candles from the Paschal candle.  And after Father had chanted the Exsultet, we began the Liturgy of the Word and traveled with our ancestors in the faith through all seven of the Old Testament readings with their sung responsorial psalms.

After the homily, we had the blessing of the Easter water followed by the renewal of our baptismal promises.

With the renewed liturgy, we heard new prayers, a new translation of the Exsultet.  A new liturgy, but a faith 2000+ years old.  A rich tradition from which we mine abundant treasures.

May we all share today in the treasures of our faith in Christ's Resurrection.

He is risen, Alleluia!

And a blessed Easter for all of us!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Lamentations of Jeremiah, Part III

The favors of the Lord are not exhausted,
   his mercies are not spent;
They are renewed each morning,
   so great is his faithfulness.
My portion is the Lord, says my soul;
   therefore I will hope in him.

Good is the Lord to one who waits for him,
   to the soul that seeks him.
It is good to hope in silence
   for the saving help of the Lord.
It is good for a man to bear
   the yoke of his youth.

Let him sit alone and in silence,
   when it is laid upon him.
Let him put his mouth to the dust;
   there may yet be hope.
Let him offer his cheek to be struck,
   let him be filled with disgrace.

How tarnished is the gold,
   how changed the noble metal;
How the sacred stones lie strewn
   at every street corner.

Zion's precious sons,
   fine gold their counterpart,
Now worth no more than earthen jars
   made by the hands of the potter.

Even the jackals bare their breasts
   and suckle their young;
The daughter of my people has become as cruel
   as the ostrich in the desert.

The tongue of the suckling cleaves
   to the roof of its mouth in thirst;
The babes cry for food
   but there is no one to give it to them.

Those accustomed to dainty food
   perish in the streets;
Those brought up in purple
   now cling to the ash heaps.

The punishment of the daughter of my people
   is greater than the penalty of Sodom,
Which was overthrown in an instant
   without the turning of a hand.

Hear begins the prayer of Jeremiah the prophet:

Remember, O Lord, what has befallen us,
   look, and see our disgrace;
Our inherited lands have been turned over to strangers;
   our homes to foreigners.
We have become orphans, fatherless;
   widowed are our mothers.
The water we drink we must buy,
   for our own wood we must pay.
On our necks is the yoke of those who drive us;
   we are worn out, but allowed no rest.
To Egypt we submitted,
   and to Assyria, to fill our need of bread.
Our fathers, who sinned, are no more,
   but we bear their guild.
Slaves rule over us;
   there is no one to rescue us for their hands.
At the peril of our lives we bring in our sustenance,
   in the face of the desert heart.
Our skin is shriveled up, as though by a furnace
   with the searing blasts of famine.
The wives in Zion are ravished by the enemy,
   the maidens in the cities of Judah.

(from the Book of Lamentations 3:22-30, 4:1-6, 5:1-11)

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Lamentations of Jeremiah, Part II

The Lord marked for destruction
   the wall of daughter Zion:
He stretched out the measuring line;
   his hand brought ruin, yet he did not relent
He brought grief on wall and rampart
   till both succumbed.
Sunk into the ground are her gates;
   he has removed and broken her bars.
Her king and her princes are among the pagans;
   priestly instruction is wanting,
And her prophets have not received
   any vision from the Lord.

On the ground in silence sit
   the old men of daughter Zion;
They strew dust on their heads
   and gird themselves with sackcloth;
The maidens of Jerusalem
   bow their heads to the ground.

Worn out from weeping are my eyes,
   withing me all is in ferment;
My gall is poured out on the ground
   because of the downfall of the daughter of my people,
As child and infant faint away
   in the open spaces of the town.
They ask their mothers,
   “Where is the cereal?” -- in vain.
As they faint away like the wounded
   in the streets of the city,
And breathe their last
   in their mothers’ arms.

To what can I like or compare you,
   O daughter Jerusalem?
What example can I show you for your comfort,
   virgin daughter Zion?
For great as the sea is your downfall;
   who could heal you?
Your prophets had for you
   false and specious visions;
They did not lay bare your guilt,
   to avert your fate;
They beheld for you in vision
   false and misleading portents.

All who pass by
   clap their hands at you;
They hiss and wag their heads
   over daughter Jerusalem:
“Is this the all-beautiful city,
   the joy of the whole earth?"

I am a man who knows affliction
   from the rod of his anger,
One whom he has led and forced to walk
   in darkness, not in the light;
Against me alone he brings back his hand
   again and again all the day.

He has worn away my flesh and my skin,
   he has broken my bones;
He has beset me round about
   with poverty and weariness;
He has left me to dwell in the dark
   like those long dead.

He has hemmed me in with no escape
   weighed me down with chains;
Even when I cry out for help,
   he stops my prayer;
He has blocked my ways with fitted stones,
   and turned my paths aside.

(The Book of Lamentations, Chapter 2, Verses 8-15 and Chapeter 3, Verses 1-9)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Lamentations of Jeremiah, Part I

The lessons of the first nocturn for each of these three days (of the Triduum) are taken from the Lamentations of Jeremiah, which describe the miserable state of Jerusalem, when, in punishment for her idolatry, her people were led captive to Babylon.  How visibly is the anger of God shown in these ruins of the great city, over which Jeremiah pours forth his inspired words of mourning!  (from The Liturgical Year, Passiontide and Holy Week by Abbot GuĂ©ranger OSB, Translated from the French by Dom Laurence Shepherd OSB, The Newman Press, Westminster, Maryland, 1949)

How lonely she is now,
   the once crowded city!
Widowed is she
   who was mistress over nations;
The princess among the provinces
   has been made a toiling slave.

Bitterly she weeps at night,
   tears upon her cheeks,
With not one to console her
   of all her dear ones;
Her friends have all betrayed her
   and become her enemies.

Judah has fled into exile
   from oppression and cruel slavery;
Yet where she lives among the nations
   she finds no place to rest:
All her persecutors come upon her
   where she is narrowly confined.

The roads to Zion mourn
   for lack of pilgrims going to her feasts;
All her gateways are deserted,
   her priests groan,
Her virgins sigh;
   she is in bitter grief.

Her foes are uppermost,
   her enemies are at ease;
The Lord has punished her
   for her many sins.
Her little ones have gone away,
   captive before the foe.
Gone from daughter Zion
   is all her glory:
Her princes, like rams
   that find no pasture,
Have gone off without strength
   before their captors.

Jerusalem is mindful of the days
   of her wretched homelessness,
When her people fell into enemy hands,
   and she had no one to help her;
When her foes gloated over her,
   laughed at her ruin.

Through the sin of which she is guilty,
   Jerusalem is defiled;
All who esteemed her think her vile
   now that they see her nakedness;
She herself groans
   and turns away.

Her filth is on her skirt;
   she gave no thought how she would end.
Astounding is her downfall,
   with no one to console her.
Look, O Lord, upon her misery,
   for the enemy has triumphed!

The foe stretched out his hand
   to all her treasures;
She has seen those nations
   enter her sanctuary
Whom you forbade to come
   into your assembly.

All her people groan,
   searching for bread;
They give their treasures for food,
   to retain the breath of life.
"Look O Lord, and see
   how worthless I have become!
"Come, all you who pass by the way,
   look and see
Whether there is any suffering like my suffering,
   which has been dealt me
When the Lord afflicted me
   on the day of his blazing wrath.
"From on high he sent fire
   down into my very frame;
He spread a net for my feet,
   and overthrew me.
He left me desolate,
   in pain all the day.
"He has kept watch over my sins;
   by his hand they have been plaited:
They have settled about my neck,
   he has brought my strength to its knees;
The Lord has delivered me into their grip,
   I am unable to rise.

(The Book of Lamentations, Chapter 1, Verses 1-14)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Man of Sorrows

"O sweet Jesus, I understand what You must be feeling!  O good Jesus, meek and loving!  You suffered martyrdom by the many wounds caused by the scourging and the nails. You were crowned with thorns.  How many, O good Jesus, were they who struck You!  Your Father struck You, since He did not spare You, but made You a victime for all of us.  You struck Yourself when You offered Your soul to death, that soul which cannot be take from You aginst Your will.  The disciple who betrayed You with a kiss struck You too.  The Jews struck You with their hands and feet, and the Gentiles struck You with whips and pierced You with nails.  Oh! how many people, how many humiliations, how many executioners!
 "And how many gave You over!  The heavenly Father gave You for us, and You gave Yourself, as St. Paul joyfullys says:  'He loved me and delivered Himself up for me.'

"What a marvelous exchange!  the Master delivers Himself for a slave, God for man, the Creator for the creature, the innocent One for the sinner.  You put Yourelf into the hands of the traitor, the faithless disciple.  The traitor handed You over to the Jews, who Jews delivered you to the Gentiles to be mocked, scourged, spit upon, and crucified.  You had said these things; You had foretold them, and they came to pass.  Then, when all was accomplished, You were crucified and numbered among the wicked.  But it was not enough that You were wounded.   To the pain of Your wounds, they added other ignominies and, to slake Your burning thrist, they gave You wine mixed with myrrh and gall.

"I weep for You, my King, my Lord, and Master, my Father and Brother, my beloved Jesus" (St. Bonaventure).
From Divine Intimacy, Meditations on the Interior Life
for Every Day of the Liturgical Year
by Father Gabriel of St .Mary Magdalen, OCD

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Peace Among Thorns

After Christ's death, his close followers were frightened men.  After all, what had ahappened to their Master might also happen to them.  Indeed this is precisely what occurred:  Each of the apostles, except John, died a violent death.  Nevertheless Christ's message was "Peace be with you; it is I.  I am with you, do not be afraid."  Christ did not shirk the difficulties which came his way in life.  He faced up to the fact of death.  The Christian belief in resurrection is taht all the experiences which seem to be "dying experiences" are in fact "life-giving."

It is not by escaping from our problems that we shall find peace.  No, it is by facing up to them, bravely and in a strightforward manner, that we shall discover peace deep down.  The wind lashes the surface of the sea and makes it rough and turbulent, but in the deep there is calm.  The wind can only strike the surface.

From The Mystery of the Cross
by Cardinal Basil Hume

Monday, April 2, 2012

Benedictine Immersion Experience

Sr. M. Luka and Sr. Mary David, along with seven girls and women discerning a vocation to the religious life spent Palm Sunday weekend with us learning about Benedictine monasticism.  

Mater Redemptoris House of Formation in La Crosse, Wisconsin is a project of the Diocese of La Crosse and staffed by the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George.  Founded in the Jubilee Year 2000, it provides programs to assist in the discernment process.  Young women may live in a convent setting, develop their prayer lives and learn about the religious life.  It also provides retreat experiences and mentoring in the spiritual life for those who are not part of the residential program.

The weekend gave time for the participants to learn about our monastic vocation, get to know the community, experience praying the full Divine Office and recreation time with the community as well as have some time on their own to enjoy our beautiful grounds and personal prayer.

Please pray for these girls and women who are discerning their vocation -- as well as all those who are seeking God's will for their lives.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Hosanna to the Son of David!

Hosanna to the Son of David,
the King of Israel.
Blessed is he who comes
in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.
(Mt. 21:9)

The reception Jesus received on his entry into Jerusalem must have been one of exaltation on one hand, and yet on the other, a cause for anguish as He knew that the hosannas would only a few short days later turn into, "Crucify him!  Crucify him!" 

Pope Benedict XVI, writing in Jesus of Nazareth (Part II),
For the infant Church, "Palm Sunday" was not a thing of the past.  Just as the Lord entered the Holy City that day on a donkey, so too the Church saw him coming again and again in the humble form of bread and wine.
The Church greets the Lord in the Holy Eucharist as the one who is coming now, the one who has entered into her midst.  At the same time, she greets him as the one who continues to come, the one who leads us toward his coming.  As pilgrims, we go up to him; as a pilgrim, he comes to us and takes us up with him in his "ascent" to the Cross and Resurrection, to the definitive Jerusalem that is already growing in the midst of this world in the communion that unites us to his body.
Today, as we take time to contemplate Christ's entry into Jerusalem, let's also take a moment to realize the many ways He comes into our lives.  And let us thank Him for the tremendous gift of his precious Body and Blood.