Sunday, February 28, 2016

My Favorite Line That I Read While Retreating This Weekend...

...from the book, The Universe Is A Green Dragon:

Youth: What is our fullest destiny?
Thomas: To become love in human form.

Let us walk in the holy presence.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Dynamic Duos

This weekend I will retreat for some silence and solitude as I mark the halfway point of my postulancy. Silence and solitude are a wonderfully powerful combination, so it got me thinking about other combinations in my life that I particularly enjoy. For me, the sum is greater than the two parts in each of these pairings, or sum > part + part, for all you fellow mathletes out there. While you will read many edible combinations on the list, all are nourishing in some way. I invite you to reflect on your own, too!

  • Hamburgers (underdone) and french fries (overdone)
  • Prayer and poetry
  • Chocolate and pretzels
  • V-neck shirts and jeans
  • Bikes and open roads
  • Disney World and time with my sister
  • Ice cream and ice cream cones
  • Ice cream and hot fudge
  • Green and blue
  • Stained glass and sunlight
  • Pajamas and Saturday mornings
  • Federal holidays and Mondays
  • Coffee and half&half
  • Oceans and sunrises
  • Summer and beaches
  • Rivers and walking paths
  • Graph paper and pencils
  • Bob Dylan and his harmonica
  • Long conversations and friends
  • Advent and Christmas
  • Scarves and my neck
  • Corn-on-the-cob and butter
  • Children and education
  • Passion and creativity
  • Sand and bare feet
  • Soil and bare hands
  • Peace and Joy
  • Wisdom and Love
  • God and me

Please pray for me this weekend, as I will hold you with me, too.

Let us walk in the holy presence.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Transfigure Me

This weekend our community received the gift of two very good reflections on the Transfiguration, one during our Saturday night vigil and the other during the homily this morning. Last night we were asked if we dare to reveal our divinity. This morning we were asked to consider if we could allow our Lenten experience to be guided a bit more by God and a little less by ourselves.

This afternoon I continued to reflect on the Transfiguration surrounded by a semi-frozen lake. My mountaintop took the form of this welcoming log.

My prophets were two stones I found that had been one at some point, but now just fit together like two adjoining puzzle pieces. I held them in both hands. I imagined Jesus right behind us the whole time. God was revealed to us all in the form of brief glimpses of sunshine on an otherwise cloudy day.

In my little Transfiguration moment, the stones represented two prophets in my own life who call me to new life and a greater recognition of the all-embracing Love that God has for us.

I thought about the love that these two people show me; it is a tremendous love, and that love cannot even begin to compare to the love that God has for me and for us all.

May we walk into a new week transfigured by Love.

Let us walk in the holy presence.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Season's Greetings (or, how community will get me through winter)

As many of you know, winter ranks seventh on my list of favorite seasons.

The darkness and the cold create a certain bitterness for me, making me rather impatient waiting for spring to bloom and light and warmth to return.

So, half a year ago I packed my bags and moved to Erie, a city that perennially ranks on the list of snowiest U.S. cities.


What was I thinking?

Well, as you also know, it turns out that I moved to Erie to enter the Benedictine community here. And one responsibility we all share is wo-manning the front desk each day.

Tonight, as I took my turn, I was greeted by two sisters offering me a sign of winter joy after we received another few inches of white today.

Then, when another sister saw Frosty, she brought a little "snowy ground" to add to the wintery scene. (Which also served to catch the melting snow!)

All of this served to put a smile on my face. Now, I may not like winter, but I like knowing that community makes it a little brighter.

Let us walk in the holy presence.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Marinating in Relationship

Most weeknights I watch Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, though I am still used to Jeopardy coming on first as it does on good ol' 6ABC at home.

The other night there was a question referring to a cooking technique with an "ocean word" origin. I had never connected the "mar" in "marinate" with the ocean before. I thought the answer was brine for "briny;" I wonder if the judges would have accepted my answer.

A few days after that I was on my daily walk when I met a new friend who was relaxing on a log.

Now, we didn't exchange names or share any details about our lives, but we did accompany each other for a few moments on this chilly afternoon. I did wonder if someone had boiled Mr. Lobby's tail (*name invented since undisclosed*), or just how he ended up the way he did.

When I got home, I showed my next-door neighbor the picture. She figured he had to have been placed there since Lake Erie is fresh water, but I can still imagine that he traveled all this way because we were supposed to meet that day.

The best way to get to know someone, or some crustacean, is to spend time together building a relationship. I have been thinking about that a lot as I begin the Lenten journey. As I stand at the beginning of the next 40 (and now fewer) days, I have an opportunity to soak in my relationship with God in the special way that this particular liturgical season invites me to.

What better marinade than my loving Creator?

Let us walk in the holy presence.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Entering In

I found this blessing from Jan Richardson yesterday. Blessings on you all, not only today, but throughout the next forty, too.

Blessing the Dust
A Blessing for Ash Wednesday

All those days
you felt like dust,
like dirt,
as if all you had to do
was turn your face
toward the wind
and be scattered
to the four corners

or swept away
by the smallest breath
as insubstantial—

did you not know
what the Holy One
can do with dust?

This is the day
we freely say
we are scorched.

This is the hour
we are marked
by what has made it
through the burning.

This is the moment
we ask for the blessing
that lives within
the ancient ashes,
that makes its home
inside the soil of
this sacred earth.

So let us be marked
not for sorrow.
And let us be marked
not for shame.
Let us be marked
not for false humility
or for thinking
we are less
than we are

but for claiming
what God can do
within the dust,
within the dirt,
within the stuff
of which the world
is made
and the stars that blaze
in our bones
and the galaxies that spiral
inside the smudge
we bear.

—Jan Richardson
from Circle of Grace

Let us walk in the holy presence.


Sunday, February 7, 2016


I am currently reading A Tree Full of Angels by Macrina Wiederkehr for my formation reading.

In the chapter I just finished, she uses a loaf of bread as a metaphor of life. The moments, the people, the thoughts, and all the rest are the crumbs that make up each unique loaf. Macrina writes about some of the crumbs in her loaf: love of trees, silence, sorrow, people, and a few others. The one that resonates most with me, though, follows:

Sitting at someone's feet
At someone's feet has not been my favorite place to hang out. As I grow older, however, I have such a yearning to sit at the feet of one who is wise. I long for wisdom, and I've discovered that I can't get wisdom from books. Wisdom comes from listening to life. If you find someone who has lived life fully and is still full of life, you have found a treasure. Learn from him or her. Lean on her heart as John leaned on Jesus at the Last Supper. Sit at his feet as Mary sat at the feet of Jesus. It is not only at the table that we find nourishment. Sometimes the food we need is found in lowly places. Until we learn to sit at one another's feet, we will starve at our lavish banquet tables.

Obviously there are myriad crumbs in my life and your life. I, like Macrina, have been quite grateful to sit at the feet of many wise people over the years; they have been and continue to be nourishing crumbs in my own loaf. It leads me to another quote that I love from the book:

When your depth meets the depth of another person, what a sacrament that can be!

Let us see all the crumbs in our loaves as sacraments that bring us closer to our Great Baker.

Let us walk in the holy presence.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A Comforting Thought

In our room at SBC, we recently welcomed two new children. Both are adjusting to being away from their parents for the first time, which isn't the easiest adjustment to make.

So, I have been spending a lot of time holding crying children these past few days.

But, there are other children in the room who also need to be held sometimes, so I have to put one down to hold another.

My arms cannot manage more than one child at a time.

But, God's can. God's arm are big enough to hold our entire crying world.

What a comforting thought.

Let us walk in the holy presence.