Showing posts from January, 2018


"Put yourself in the way of grace."

Mary Oliver quotes this line from a friend of hers in the essay, Winter Hours, found in her book of the same title. I have been fixating on this line since the new year began. I love it. It implies choice in the matter, and it implies the reality of grace at work in our lives.

Tonight our community celebrated with our new sister, Kathy, as she chooses to put herself in the way of grace for the next year as a novice in the community. As I told her, I am a bit jealous of, but mostly joyful for her. The novice year is one full of grace because of its intentionality and sacredness. The purpose of the year is to grow with God, and all of its components (learning, time deepening relationships with community, exploring art, exploring self, and living in much silence/solitude) are beautiful ways of putting oneself in grace's path.

As our prioress reflected on a line from the Rule of Benedict, I reflected on my own year of grace that just ended…

Some Thoughts on Authentic Living

My dear friend Jackie just started her own blog over at Monasteries of the HeartThought-provoking would be one word I would use to describe her most recent post, Some Thoughts on Calling. And it was these lines in particular:

Here’s the maddening thing, for me, as I try to figure out what exactly I’m doing with my life: even when you have a sense of what you’re called to, you can never know what it really means to choose it. We all commit ourselves to people, to places, to ways of life without any knowledge of what the future will hold: you can marry someone with perfect certainty that you’ll love him forever, and he could be hit by a truck the day after the wedding. Or you can take vows with a religious community a year before a Church Council permanently alters what religious life looks like, what possibilities it can encompass. More to the point: I don’t know what will happen to this community. I don’t know what will happen to me if I enter. Or if I don't. That is scary.

This i…

We Belong Together

Even though our food remains plentiful throughout the winter, our four-footed and feathered friends don't experience the same abundance. So, we bundle up, slip (or forcibly pull) our boots on, and head outside.

Justice does not only extend to our fellow humans, my friends. This morning I was listening to an episode of On Being with Br. David Steindl-Rast as guest. What a beautiful description of our interconnectedness I heard:
Br. Steindl-Rast: I remember, the grace that Buddhists pray before a meal starts with the words “Innumerable beings brought us this food. We should know how it comes to us.” And when you put that into practice and look at what’s there at your table, on your plate, there is no end to connectedness. In the end, for instance — most people don’t think of it, but in the end, we always eat earth. We eat earth, not in an abstract way; in a very concrete way, this humus is what we eat. Or crystals: when we eat salt, it’s pretty obvious that comes out of the earth. Th…

A Changing Landscape

I was gifted with a weekend of silence and solitude across the road at the lake this past weekend. While it was probably the coldest weekend so far this winter, I wrapped up and did some adventuring to explore the winter stillness.

Here is some ice that caught my eyes. The first one because of its size, the second one because you could see water trickling down.

This was Saturday at the lake. In the early afternoon, there was no sun, but you can see how it tried to make a comeback on a later walk.

And, by Sunday...sun!

Let us walk in the holy presence.

Resolute Love

Like a caring parent, God receives our childlike painting of a tree--usually an unrecognizable mess--and delights in it. God doesn't hand it back and say, "Come back when it looks more like a tree" or tell us how to improve it, God simply delights in us.

This quote, from Greg Boyle's new book, Barking to the Choir, gave me pause. The teacher in me thought of all the artwork I have received from children throughout my few years in the classroom so far. Each piece delightful in its own way. In fact, I still keep Michael's drawing framed in my bedroom: the cover of The Giving Tree that he made for me. Another student once asked me about my favorite things and gifted me with a precious paper full of sunshine and a river. Yet another drew me St. Benedict after we read The Holy Twins in religion.
As I sat with these lines from Boyle, the Jesuit priest who founded Homeboy Industries, I thought about the "mess of myself" that I present to God. I don't mean i…