Tuesday, October 17, 2017

I Changed Teams


Being a spiritual counselor in children’s acute behavioral hospital has been challenging and a huge learning curve. I have worked and been exposed to a ministry of trauma but never at this acute level. My eyes have been opened to a world of trauma and suffering that most of the population will never experience. This ministry has challenged to me at the core of my faith and belief system in the goodness and loving-kindness of God.


Last week I sat down with a ten-year-old patient whom I had prayed with often and encouraged in their faith and belief system. This patient I noticed was acting out aggressively and defiantly last week. At our routine meeting time, I asked the patient, “Hey, what’s going on?” The patient responded; “Oh I changed teams from God to Satan.”  I replied; “Really tell me why you changed teams?” The patient responded, “Well, Trish, I prayed to God for help and God didn’t answer my prayer. I have now joined the other team.”  I admit I was taken aback and wondered how to respond to this cry of suffering. I tritely replied, “Sometimes, it takes time for God to answer prayer.” I knew this was no consolation to the patient and an ineffective answer, although I believe in some way or time God answers our prayer. For this ten-year-old, dealing and coping with the pain of traumatic abuse, waiting on God to answer prayer was not in the cards for relief and healing.


My conversation with this patient is not a new concept for human beings. Probably most of us, at some point in our life, have wondered and questioned, “Why God?” and even switched teams to unbelief or apathy. The only thing I knew to do was to look the patient in the eye and say, “I believe that God understands your heart and will always love you.” 


I carry the seed of hope for this patient. I pray and cry to God for the suffering of all these children that are put in my path.  My compassionate heart dreams of adopting them all and giving them a chance, even though I know that it’s an impossible, grandiose dream. Yet, I carry a seed of hope in my heart and believe the scripture of Romans 5:5: "Hope does not disappoint because …", because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. The seed of hope that was carried for me, I now carry for others because of the gift of the Holy Spirit and the love of God into each of our hearts. Go and make disciples …. Nurturing a seed of hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.


Trish Dick, OSB

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

My Day in the Woods


A solo butterfly

a busily searching bee

and numerous bugs

kept me company today.

Oh yes, and Meister Eckhart, the mystic

         who sees everything from the inside out.

I asked him: “What if the world were not here?”

“What if I could experience God

         through my inner eyes too?”

(Photo by Karen Streveler, OSB)
“Would God, then, not have created

         this butterfly? this bee? these bugs?

         or, for that matter, green grass? colorful flowers?

         blue sky and water? invisible breezes and swaying leaves?

         ordinary birds like robins, sparrow, swallows?

I can’t imagine knowing God without this world of nature.

For me, the way to God is along a wide path lined with

         color and design, movement and life, invitation and delight.

So why, Meister Eckhart, do you ask me to surrender

          unneeded boundaries as I walk, limp, run or leap for joy?

Though I think I may understand when you say:

          The Father laughs

          and gives birth to the Son.

          The Son laughs back at the Father

          and gives birth to the Spirit.

          The whole Trinity laughs

          and gives birth to us.

So are you saying ‘boundaries are not needed’ if we are ONE?”

Renee Domeier, OSB

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Climbing the Rock Wall


S. Lisa Rose climbing a rock wall!
Have you ever climbed a Rock Wall?  This past summer I had the opportunity to climb a rock wall with some of the campers at our 3g camp (Girls, God and Good Times). As I watched the first group of climbers I thought, “I want to do that.” With this moment of courage leading me on I geared up in the special shoes and harness, then went to the meet the Belay. The belay is the individual to whom you are tethered for safety as you climb the wall. The belay guides you from below as you climb to the top.
After a few instructions, I was ready to start the climb. I had a hard time getting started and was almost ready to quit, then I said to myself, “You can do this.” During my third attempt I was on my way up the wall. I had a group of campers cheering me on from below, along with the belay who was calling out secure areas to place a foot or hand. Halfway up I felt a little nervous, asking myself, “Will I make it?” Then I felt a surge of energy that whispered, “You are almost there, keep going.”  In the end, I was unable to get that last good grip three feet from the top, so the belay began lowering me to the ground. The belay and the campers cheering me on during the climb helped me stay focused.
We all need people cheering on as we try something new. Without my cheerleaders, I may have given up, yet they helped me succeed in doing something I can now check off my bucket list.
If you would like more information about Saint Benedict’s Monastery please contact Sister Lisa Rose at lrose@csbsju.edu.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

"Why Are You Sad My Heart?"


“Why are you sad, my heart?

Why do you grieve?

Wait for the Lord,

I will yet praise God my savior.” Psalm 42

 

Cyclone damage to the Monastery (1916)
Events these past few weeks answer the psalmist’s questions about why my heart might be sad or why I might be grieving. Hurricanes and earthquakes have brought death, injury and devastation to so many; the nuclear threat from North Korea has escalated; millions across the globe continue to face the horrors of terrorism and civil war.  These events also make me ask another question, “Why does a loving, forgiving God allow these things to happen?” I don’t know. I don’t have secret hotline to God through which my questions and doubts are answered.

In saying that I don’t know, however, I have the inkling of an insight. In common with most of the world, I don’t know why God lets these things happen, but it makes me very conscious of my common humanity. I know that I’m fortunate not, at this time, to be directly affected by these disasters, but I’m very conscious of suffering in my heart alongside the many victims throughout the world. And that gives me an understanding of what it might mean to love my neighbor as myself. It is right that I should feel sad and grieved.

The next two lines of Psalm 42 start to mean more to me. I don’t understand the mind of God and I don’t need to. My call is to wait and allow God’s love to flow through me, whether that’s by providing practical help to victims, making a donation or supporting my brothers are sisters who are hurting through prayer.  

One of the great gifts of the psalms is that they encompass the whole of human experience. Psalm 42 is one of my favorites because it doesn’t shy away from the difficult questions that challenge our faith; it doesn’t pretend that life is always good but acknowledges that, at times, we are disturbed and disquieted. It also ends with advice: “Wait for the Lord.” That’s where we are at this moment, waiting for the Lord, continuing to pray in hopeful trust for light in our darkness.

Karen Rose, OSB

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

"On Being"


(Sisters working with Habitat for Humanity)
Recently, Mary Catherine Bateson, daughter of well-known anthropologist Margaret Mead, was interviewed on Krista Tippet’s program On Being. An over-reaching concern was how to change not only ourselves, but our world! In order to change our world—and she confidently quoted her mother—“never doubt that a small group of people can change the world.” Mary Catherine Bateson explained further what may be included in what is experienced as “evolutionary development. Above all, though simple in words and admittedly demanding in action, is the first requirement, the need to be “observant participants” with the kind of joyful participation we see in children, all their senses open and alive to learning something new and then bringing it to Mommy so she too can see!
Observe. Judge.  Act.


The Apostles were observant participants! Having learned from Jesus a new way to be and do, they excitedly and wholeheartedly spread out to share the Message around a Mediterranean world!

Likewise, the American Revolution attests to the same required process that resulted in the wisdom of learning together, sharing ideas, perhaps modifying them and finally with—yes!—a spiritual foundation, spreading out to help form our democracy!

How, then, might we individually change our confusing and confused world?  What do I observe? Read? Believe? With whom do I ally myself? When was the last time I affirmed, disagreed with or promoted the status quo?

“Never doubt that a small group of people can change the world!”


Renee Domeier, OSB

Monday, September 11, 2017

Black Folk Religion: God as a Liberating God


I keep recognizing how much other cultures have to teach me.  A recent confirmation of that happened when I listened to an interview by Krista Tippet with Ruby Sales, civil rights veteran and public theologian. [“on Being”, August 17, 2017].  It helped me again acknowledge how many persons of color continually put their lives on the line to move social justice into the foreground of our awareness.  Ruby, who grew up on black folk religion, described her concept of black folk religion this way.


(Photo submitted by Martha Maloney)
“When I talk about Black Folk Religion I’m talking about a religion that came out of ordinary people during enslavement in the fields of America. We saw ourselves as a Beloved Community. It meant that we wanted to have justice because we loved everybody in our hearts.  Our songs were about God as a liberating God.” Ruby came to recognize and embody what God-justice, God-talk, God-love, and God-right-relations looked and felt like as the words rang in her ears.

 

Is it possible that the lyrics of these traditional black folk songs might help save America from itself by giving us a Beloved-Community-vocabulary in our time?

 

Mary Rachel Kuebelbeck, OSB

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

What does a Forever Commitment Mean?


Have you ever wondered how a commitment will stick for some people and not for others? Well here is a simple story about a lifelong commitment. When my two nieces were married last year, I was able to witness the marriage commitment of all the married couples who attended the reception. During the reception, the Disc Jockey began what he called, “The anniversary dance." After he invited all the married couples to the dance floor, the music started. When he called out a number that matched the number years they had been married they had to leave the dance floor. Of course, the first couple to walk away was the newly married. It was fun to watch and celebrate with each couple as they walked away. The count began with one year, three years, five years, seven years, ten years and fifteen years. Slowly he got up to fifty years, fifty-five years, and at this point, the only two couples on the dance floor were the grandparents of the newly married couple. At sixty years, only one couple was dancing, my parents. The count continued, sixty-one, sixty-two, he finally asked, “How long have you been married?” Everyone in my family called out “Sixty-four years.” At which the DJ responded, “I have never had a couple on the dance floor that long.”



(Tamra Thomas, OSB, Perpetual Profession, July 11, 2017
Photo by Nancy Bauer, OSB)
So what does forever mean to you? At Saint Benedict’s Monastery, we make our forever commitment on our profession day. If you would like more information about our monastery, please contact Sister Lisa Rose at lrose@csbsju.edu.











Lisa Rose, OSB