Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A New Year Begins ... The Season of Advent

       I love the season of Advent!  It is such a gift to begin again.  Another liturgical year is before us and we can embrace it by entering deeply into this season of Advent.  Our culture seems to skip over Advent as it busily prepares for Christmas.  Advent invites us to reflect on what we are preparing for at this time of year.  It is a season of hope and anticipation as we await the birth of the Christ child into our hearts and our world.  

I find it helpful during Advent to take a little extra time each day for silence.  As I enter this time of silence, I find myself reflecting on the gift of Christ in my own life.  It also challenges me to look at the ways I share, or need to share, the gift of Christ with others.  These times of silence stretch my heart and make it a little bigger, a little more welcoming for Christ to dwell. I am so thankful for the gift of Advent.  I pray that it is a time of blessing for you as well.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving At Our Lady of Grace Monastery

 We had a wonderful Thankgiving at Our Lady of Grace.  We had a beautiful liturgy followed by an absolutely delicious meal.  We were joined by family and friends for both Mass and the meal.  It is always a gift to share our blessings with others.  It takes a lot of community participation to decorate the chapel, prepare the meal and decorate the dining room.  Of course, it is all worth it.  Hope you enjoy the pictures!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Thought I'd share a poem I received from my friend, John Hay, Jr.  It expresses the depth of what I understand Thanksgiving to be.  Blessings!
*** *** **** ****
Gratitude comes from some place deeper than mouthing the words “thank you”

I penned this poem thinking of gratitude, which is a grace that runs much deeper than the socially-expected etiquette that surrounds “giving thanks.”  As important as it is to celebrate thanksgiving and to take up the practice of saying “thank you,” finding gratitude reverberating authentically in one’s heart is the surpassing gift.  I pray that you experience and express it this season.

Thanksgiving doesn’t live in a vacuum;
We do not pluck it from thin air.
We cannot be grateful on command,
Genuflecting at the drop of hat.

Talk is cheap when it comes to thanking,
Yet beyond courteous etiquette
Lies a deeper reality that beckons,
Inviting us to reckon with grace.

Native American graciousness
And Pilgrim hospitality,
Turkey and all the trimmings point
Beyond finely folded, praying hands.

Through and beyond these images
We glimpse a sacred connection,
As generations across time
Hail some gracious provision.

It’s not so much a debt we owe
Or tribute for posterity
As it is a virtue we receive
And reflect into eternity.

We deep-down know we are held
By sustaining, life-giving hands.
Not our own or on our own,
We belong and are lovingly known.

We cannot utter such mystery--
Tradition and rite fall short;
But these, and we, can point and say
“Thanks” for life and grace today.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

St. Gertrude the Great and St. Mechtild of Hackeborn

This week we celebrate two great Benedictine saints of our church.  Yesterday, Tuesday November 16,  we celebrated St. Gertrude the Great.  She was the only mystic to be named "Great".  She went to the monastery of Helfta at the age of five to be taken care of by the nuns.  Later she chose to become a nun and grew in holiness in the midst of her community.   The Church celebrates St. Mechtild's feast on November 19.  St. Mechtild served as St. Gertrude's Formation Director and they grew close in spiritual friendship.

Both of them had a deep love of the Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Hours.  It was through the liturgy that they grew closer to Christ and gained strength.  Both of them had a deep devotion to the Sacred Heart.  Both of these saints had visions and deep experiences of contemplation that have been written down for others to share.

As we grow in our faith and commitment to Christ through the liturgy, let us ask Sts. Gertrude and Mechtild to pray for us.