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Showing posts from December, 2017

Happy New Year

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From Mary Oliver

Stanley Kunitz
I used to imagine him coming from his house, like Merlin strolling with important gestures through the garden where everything grows so thickly,  where birds sing, little snakes lie on the boughs, thinking of nothing but their own good lives,  where petals float upward,  their colors exploding,  and trees open their moist pages of thunder - it has happened every summer for years.
But now I know more about the great wheel of growth,  and decay, and rebirth,  and know my vision for a falsehood. Now I see him coming from the house - I see him on his knees,  cutting away the diseased, the superfluous,  coaxing the new,  know that the hour of fulfillment is buried in years of patience - yet willing to labor like that on the mortal wheel.
Oh, what good it does the heart to know it isn’t magic!  Like the human child I am I rush to imitate - I watch him as he bends among the leaves and vines to hook some weed or other;  I think of him there raking and trimming, stirring up those sheets of fire bet…

What Else?!

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I mean, really, what else would I blog about right now?

If you visited Lake Erie on Friday afternoon, this is what you would have seen.

If you visited Lake Erie today, this is what you would have seen.

Yes, it's true we are setting records. This was just the beginning out my bedroom window: Christmas morning, 10:35am.

And, this was the latest adventure: A walk right before evening prayer today, 4:30pm.

Here is a true community effort: cleaning off the cars the first time. (Tomorrow will come.)

And, having some fun while doing so.

We ventured out for a late afternoon walk. See the depth!

Here are some sights along the way.



Then, we arrived at the lake. Reminiscent of last year's adventure!


We had to stop for a break on the way back due to exhaustion.

Stay warm everyone!

Let us walk in the holy presence.

Or, as Erin says, "Let us trudge through banks of snow in the holy presence."

Where Am I?!

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If you were to visit our chapel here at the Mount today, you would find many different scenes.
The chapel is one of the most essential places in the monastery where we practice our vow of stability, but with the fourth week of Advent and Christmas Eve falling on the same day, today's a bit unique. Take a look:
 Morning
Noon
Afternoon
Kudos to the team who made this all happen! Great work! Tonight's Liturgy will certainly be unique, too! And note our lovely Christmas tree (quite unique), with arms extended upward, welcoming all who come to celebrate Christ incarnate.
Merry Christmas, everyone!
Let us walk in the holy presence.

Experiencing Incarnation

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Last night I was sitting at the front desk on "Bells," as we call them, while in the chapel the handbell choir very audibly practiced Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, one of my favorite Christmas songs.

Glory to the newborn king!

Yes, we aren't there quite yet, but we are so, so close. You know how at some point during the final days of Advent...all of sudden...you can feel Christmas? I felt that feeling while listening to that song being practiced.

Hail the Flesh, the God Head see;
Hail the incarnate Deity!


On Monday morning, one line from the gospel reflection in Give Us This Day read:

"What is worth beholding is astonishment at what God can draw out of each experience."

I shouldn't be surprised by how much I loved these words; they are truth. But, I am still quite stuck on this contemplative line; God packs each experience with the potential for sacred awe. Benedict, too, reminds us that all time is holy. In particular, by marking the hours of the day in prayer…

JOY to the World

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It is Gaudete Sunday.

Joy abounds!

I began reflecting on so many small moments of joy throughout my day, and suddenly overwhelm overcame me.

Blessings abound.

Someone brought me sweet treats when she came to Liturgy today.We stood in our places and practiced songs for Christmas liturgies during Schola; as we were told that we would sing Adeste Fideles nextin the liturgy, we walked back to our seats singing the song to ourselves.My dear friend told me a story about a welcoming parish community.There were beautiful duets during prayer and Liturgy this morning: organ/piano for O Come, O Come Emmanuel and piano/flute for People Look East.I sat next to someone who was wearing the same shoes that I was, which gave us a laugh.It is week 3 in the psalter, which means it is the week that we sing "Let us walk in the holy presence" during the Isaiah canticle.The O Antiphons have begun.It didn't snow.
The list is longer...that's the thing; I am usually moving too fast to stop and…

Being and Doing

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Ah, the great challenge...balancing being and doing within one self.

I just finished reading Grace and Grit by Ken Wilber. (Yes, it took a while, but it was worth the lingering. It felt like I was reading just the words I needed just as I was reading them.) Being/doing is a major theme in the book, an account of Ken Wilber's walk with his wife through cancer.

His wife, Treya, comes to learn the balance, to appreciate the being that is so difficult in our world, to share with others the wisdom she gains from being, to live "both/and."

That summarizes her entire life. Grace and grit. Being and doing. Equanimity and passion. Surrender and will. Total acceptance and fierce determination. Those two sides of her soul, the two sides she had wrestled with all her life, the two sides that she had finally brought together into one harmonious whole.

So, I have been thinking about this being and doing a lot lately.

On Monday we began a transition at daycare, my ministry. As the season…

Loco(a) for Coco

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This really is the time of year to go to the movies. Because the race for the Academy Awards begins, all the best movies premiere around this time...as close to the qualifying deadline as possible so that they will be fresh in the memory of the voting body.

Such as it is, I used to spend a lot of time at the movies around this time of year. Seeing two movies in one month is a lot for me now. I saw Lady Bird over Thanksgiving weekend, and I was supposed to see Coco on Thursday night. But, with a measurement of 10.3 inches of "the white stuff," we held off until yesterday instead.

I would see anything that had the names Disney and Pixar attached to it, and on top of positive reviews, I was quite excited to see Coco.

While there was definitely quite a bit of darkness in the storyline for a children's film, like Lady Bird, this is another one that I'd highly recommend. With themes such as family, vocation, life, and death explored through the story of Miguel, a young boy…

Pondering Nature

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I remember being told how critical I was by my seventh grade teacher. I had just rendered my judgment on some project, and I most definitely had my opinions that needed to be vocalized. I have been told that this critical nature of mine will be with me, like a dear friend, most likely for the course of my lifetime.

That isn't to say that I cannot and do not take this part of myself to prayer, or that I haven't learned to keep my mouth shut a bit more frequently than I could when I was 12, but it's part of my nature, and I might as well embrace it.

I was struck by today's gospel and the reflection in Give Us This Day. I started to think about how Jesus's nature was bearing witness to the fullness of God in humanity--the unlimited potential of what the Divine can do through flesh and bones and emotions and earthly life.

So, what does it mean when...
Jesus walks by the Sea of Galilee, goes up on the mountain, and sits down there.

When...
Great crowds come to him, having…