Sunday, July 30, 2017

Teach Us The Wisdom of God

Today, in a fine homily, our presider told us that the first line of today's second reading would be enough to meditate upon for the rest of our lives:

"We know that all things work for good for those who love God."

I think that's probably true of these words Paul shares with the Romans. Our presider also stressed the value of wisdom in our faith lives. It brought to mind a simple, yet effective and useful Venn diagram shared with me during a class this past week.

The wise mind is where our rational and emotional minds meet. When we discern, we want to operate from our wise minds. This (and I would venture to say, more than often) means that it takes more than one person to find the wisdom in any situation. It reminds us of the value of listening and humility, too. When we live lives of wisdom, listening, and humility, then, yes, we can trust the goodness of God at work in our lives. This also brought to mind a favorite Mary Oliver poem called Mysteries, Yes. Because even when we value wisdom, listening, and humility in our search for and love of God, we have to remember that, still, this is all one great Mystery!

Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous
   to be understood.

How grass can be nourishing in the
   mouths of the lambs.
How rivers and stones are forever
   in allegiance with gravity
      while we ourselves dream of rising.
How two hands touch and the bonds will

   never be broken.
How people come, from delight or the
   scars of damage,
to the comfort of a poem.

Let me keep my distance, always, from those
   who think they have the answers.

Let me keep company always with those who say
   "Look!" and laugh in astonishment,
   and bow their heads.


Perhaps this is true wisdom!

Let us walk in the holy presence.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Afternoon Poetry To Let Sink In

There is no controlling life.
Try corralling a lightning bolt,
containing a tornado. Dam a
stream and it will create a new
channel. Resist, and the tide
will sweep you off your feet.
Allow, and grace will carry
you to higher ground. The only
safety lies in letting it all in —
the wild and the weak; fear,
fantasies, failures and success.
When loss rips off the doors of
the heart, or sadness veils your
vision with despair, practice
becomes simply bearing the truth.
In the choice to let go of your
known way of being, the whole
world is revealed to your new eyes.

Allow, by Danna Faulds

Let us walk in the holy presence.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Florida Life

We returned this evening from a few days in Florida at St. Leo's University having attended a symposium centering around a program in which we participated. For the past three years, women in initial formation (and directors) have been meeting online with other Benedictine women in initial formation across the country. These days were the culmination of the project, and a wonderful time was had gathering together. Beyond quality time with others, I personally enjoyed a bit of hot, humid outside time taking in the nature in a different part of the country.

First, the sky:
The most glorious sunset over the lake...

And the lingering glory the next morning

Moving onto flowers:
Bird of Paradise 

Something I couldn't identify...help!

Then, animals:
Small lizards darting EVERYWHERE...I was told they are anole lizards. 

Delicate snails 

Soaring seahawk 

Perched hawk on volleyball net!

Aquaponic tilapia...a ministry of one of the sisters at Holy Name Monastery where we visited

Hungry Sandhill cranes 

And a rather beautiful photo of them that I did not take!

Now, we're home again...

Let us walk in the holy presence.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

200 Posts...A Look Back

Today's post is the 200th entry of this blog. Thanks for being a part of the ride!

In light of this, I have decided to return to beginnings today.

Every so often I am reminded or remember myself to connect with the initial spark of my vocation. What fired me up with Divine energy in the first place? It's a great and important question to reflect upon. Someone told me that she believes the key to commitment/vocation/life choice (or whichever word you're feeling today) is recognizing and naming the moment that made you say "Yes!"

So, what was the moment in my journey that stayed with me so strongly that I couldn't help but move forward in the discernment process?

For me it was my first experience of Triduum at the Mount. Of course the liturgies were totally breathtaking, but it was the presence of so many beautiful people surrounding me that made me think, "Yes! I both want and need to keep coming back." One sister in particular took me under her wing, made sure I felt comfortable in the new experience, and shared most meals with me and a little group of friends that formed during those holy and sacred days.

The rest is history now, but I decided to go back into the history of my journals from that first Triduum. This is the line that I found I had written upon my return home to Philadelphia.

"I know that if I keep this experience with me I will never be the same."

An understatement, indeed.

Let us (continue to) walk in the holy presence.

the journey

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Another Series, part 2

Following the waterfalls from two posts ago, here is the lake.

First, a wider view awaiting the sunset...

Now, some closer-ups of waves crashing...




SPLASH!

Let us walk in the holy presence.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Companions on the Journey

We are companions on the journey,
breaking bread and sharing life;
and in the love we bear is the hope we share
for we believe in the love of our God,
we believe in the love of our God.

We sang this hymn a Sunday or two ago during Liturgy. The lyrics are lovely, but what I loved most was the ad-libbing of a sister next to me:

...for we believe in the love of our God (And each other),
we believe in the love of our God (And each other).

Yes, we do believe in the love of our God and of each other. As we celebrated the Feast of Saint Benedict yesterday, the Good Zeal of Monastics came to mind:

Just as there is a wicked zeal of bitterness which separates from God and leads to hell, so there is a good zeal which separates from evil and leads to God and everlasting life. This, then, is the good zeal which members must foster with fervent love: "They should each try to be the first to show respect to the other (Romans 12:10)," supporting with the greatest patience one another's weaknesses of body or behavior, and earnestly competing in obedience to one another. No one is to pursue what she judges better for herself, but instead, what she judges better for someone else. Among themselves they show the pure love of sisters; to God, reverent love; to their prioress, unfeigned and humble love. Let them prefer nothing whatever to Christ, and may Christ bring us all together to everlasting life.


Isn't it all the same?

Let us believe in Love.

Let us walk in the holy presence.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Another Series

Last Sunday I took an evening walk over to Glinodo, deciding to enter into the creek that runs into the lake. Unlike the series of hydrangeas from my last post, there is no game to play, but here are some pictures that I took when I got up close to the little waterfalls. In another post, I will share a series from the lake.

First, from farther away:


Now, up close and personal:







Let us walk in the holy presence.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Heavenly Hydrangeas

It seems that everywhere you look in our gardens right now, you can spot a beautiful hydrangea plant. I walked around the house and took pictures of all the different colors and varieties that I could find. These hues would create a most glorious box of crayons! So, here's a game. Below you will find ten pictures that I took. Can you figure out where I am around the property? This should be a beautiful game for your eyes, and I hope it is enjoyable, too!

Number One

Number Two

Number Three

Number Four

Number Five

Number Six
 (This location should be pretty easy to figure out, but I wanted to capture the wonderful, ongoing resurrection of an Easter chapel plant!)

Number Seven

Number Eight

Number Nine
(I don't expect you to figure this out, but it was my favorite picture!) 

Number Ten

Answer key: Take a walk around the Mount to see how you did!

Let us walk in the holy presence.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

On Sabbath...In Praise of Play

A few weeks ago I read a great article on the On Being blog.

Courtney Martin writes about the importance of play and idle time.

In the piece, she writes:

The adults I admire most in recent years are people who devote real time and energy to playing. They tend to be lifelong learners — finding new crafts and sports that they’re curious about and giving them a go. They let their curiosity, not their egos, lead — less attached to being “good” and more attached to having fun. [...] What unites these people is a sense of playfulness about their own identities and a creativity with which they approach their time. They know how to be alone. They learn something about themselves that those of us who endlessly complain about being “too busy” or go into autopilot when we’re off work, collapsing in front of the TV and drinking, do not. They have grounds for being proud of themselves, for surprising themselves, for growing and taking deep pleasure in something other than our modern false god: productivity.

So, on this beautiful Sabbath day, PLAY!

Let us walk in the holy presence.