Sometime ago, I had a
dream in which I was one of a huge multitude of people.All of us had just been in a serious accident
. . .but the surprising thing was that no one was afraid; rather, we were all
smiling, talking animatedly, and helping one another . . .whether cleaning
another’s wounds, giving water or meds to another or walking together along a
very long path.No one seemed to need
rest . . . but rather instinctively knew that, as we walked or limped, we were to leave no one behind!Apparently , all of us knew where we were
going, i.e., to our Father’s House where we would surely see friends, members
of our families, even those who made us suffer while on earth . . . Then I
thinking of my dream, I realized it was expressing, for me, some
thoughts on planting, watering and harvesting (of all unusual themes!)Quite literally, WE are the “crop”, the fruit
of another’s labors in the family, the church, our society!I thought of the JOY on the faces of all in
my dream; no one was sad!Were they so
joyful because they were helping another?Welcoming another on the road?Allowing another to serve? Making sure no one would be left behind? Even
more surprising to me was that everyone walked, fully confident that they were
going HOME to the welcoming embrace of their Father and other family members.
I know that this dream expresses what I deeply desire—that we stand in awe of a God who dependsupon us
to bind up one another’s wounds or remind another of our undeserved privilege
in being part of God’s family.It also
expresses some of what I feel led to do:
be a bridge of understanding and forgiveness, especially among the marginalized
members of our society! How many more years will be given me?I don’t know.My friend, Fr. Rick Thomas gives an answer: “God speaks through
circumstances.When God makes something
possible, God wants you to do it; and when God makes it impossible, God wants
you to quit.”
Have we reflected sufficiently on the circumstances of this
day? What will I/you do so as to leave
no onebehind?With the Psalmist we can be sure that “goodness
and kindness will follow us all the days of our lives. . .”
Relationships, experiences, and
mirroring change you much more than ideas. You cannot really do something until
you have seen someone else do it. You do not know what patience is until you
have met one truly patient person. You do not know what love is until you have
observed how a loving person loves. We hold great power for one another--for
good and for ill.(Richard Rohr, “Daily
Meditation”, May 24, 2016).
True elders and spiritual teachers mirror
their values and wisdom.On their life
journey they have witnessed and experienced transformational values. Having
invited incarnational relationships to transform their own hearts and visons,
they become ready to articulate and mirror their journey-into-change to those
We are much like a coin with two
sides.On the one side of the coin, life
experiences reveal to us the limitations of our own wisdom, power and tiny
self.And on the other side, prayer
moves us into recognizing that there is nothing that can separate us from a God
who will always love us unconditionally, no matter how we look from the
outside, and will always blow on the embers of our gifts so that we can become
a light to others.Light begets
light.Becoming change begets change.
Together we moved to the small table, she picked
up the little vessel of water and carefully let a few drops fall into the
chalice and pitcher of wine. She looked at me and smiled. Putting down the
water, she then picked up the plate of bread. I took this as my cue to pick up
the chalice and pitcher of wine and follow her lead.
Her gentle manner in these movements caught me by
surprise. Yet, not really, because she lives a gentle and prayerful life
dedicated to her Benedictine commitment. What we were about to do, present the
gifts to the priest at the altar, is an act of commitment to our faith. What is
about to happen as the
prays over the bread and wine with the worshiping community gathered for
Eucharist is the reason we are there. Side by side we walked up the steps to
the altar. The priest received her gift of bread and then my gift of wine.
The smile I was witness to between her and the
priest was priceless. I say this because her love of Jesus was evident. She
knew that she was part of something greater than a simple exchange of bread on
a plate. After the Eucharistic celebration, I expressed my thanks to her in
helping me bring the gifts to the altar. Her response was what I should have
been expecting, “Thank you for asking me.” I grew in greater appreciation of
the importance in being the gift bearer at the Eucharist. Because she was so
present to the ministry, I will be more present to the ministry next time I am
invited to present the gifts of bread and wine. We celebrate the Eucharist
daily at Saint Benedict’s Monastery and have the opportunity to serve one
another in this way.
Sister Lisa Rose is Vocations Director at Saint
Benedict's Monastery. If you would like more information about our Benedictine
community, please contact her at email@example.com.
A lot of things have happened unexpectedly in my life recently. Take this blog, I wasn't expecting to write one for today, but here I am! And this is just one of the multitude of unscheduled things that have happened at work in less than two days this week. Sadly, it's carry-over from how things were at the end of last week. So far, I don't think I've completed one of the things that I had written on my "to do" list! I must say, I was starting to feel stressed and frustrated. I've kept thinking, "When can I get the work done?"
Well, the fact is that it's all been work, just not the work I thought it would be! And that's stressful.
So, the question arose for me about how could I get through everything and de-stress? I think two things have helped. The Benedictine motto "Ora et labora" ("Work and prayer") came to my aid. Instead of focusing on how stressed and, I will admit, at times irritated, I've been feeling, I decided to see the unexpected challenges as an opportunity put everything I was doing and feeling into God's hands. I've tried to see it all in a bigger perspective and not get caught up in my little "now." In other words, I've tried to make my stress and frustration part of my prayer life.
The second coping strategy came out of the first. When I realized with some horror that we have no blog for this week and our regular blog poster is away, I was not excited about the fact that I'd have to fill in (no offence intended to blog readers!) One more thing to do. When I looked at the task prayerfully, however, I could see that here was an opportunity, in fact, to de-stress. Here I am writing about my stress to you and, by sharing it reflectively, I can feel myself calming down. My heart rate is slowing and I'm becoming more prepared with very word to move on calmly to the next task; I'm even looking forward to it.
I'd like to end by saying, "Thank you for listening."
smartphone adventure is one that I held off for a long time. Because I was very
comfortable with my “land line” and “flip phone,” I saw no reason for a
smartphone. I supported my choice for not owning one for the following reasons:
“It is too expensive”, and “Will I learn or need to use all the things a
smartphone is capable of doing?” Eventually I made the decision to buy a
smartphone. So, when the sales rep. told me, “You now own a mini computer”, “Yikes!”
I thought, I am still learning how to use a desk top computer, my learning
curve just increased. I am gradually learning the benefits a smartphone has to
offer. One benefit is that I am able to stay connected to more people than I
had ever dreamed of, if I choose to so. As a work benefit, it will help me
connect and collaborate with other vocation directors. The smartphone lets me respond to email, send
a text message, check Facebook, and actually make a phone call, imagine that. I
must admit that I am slow to get up to date with the social media of today’s
world. Yet, as I learn how to work with my smartphone, I see the many advantages
available at my fingertips. I have the plus of staying connected 24/7 which is
okay for some people but not for me. In this case I have learned that I can
just as easily ignore the buzz that alerts me to a new email or I can respond.
I choose to ignore it, especially if I am engaged in a face to face
conversation at the time. I do not want
a smartphone to take me away from the real person right in front of me. As a
novice smartphone owner I know I have a lot to learn. In conclusion I am grateful for the many
willing individuals, all younger than I am, who are ready to teach me the
tricks and conveniences of this new piece of technology. So all you smartphone
users, I wish you well. If you would like more information about our community,
please contact Sister Lisa Rose at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When I recently heard the newscaster tell us of the huge oil
spill into the Columbia River, my heart sank again. How long and how often will
we witness such tragedies that destroy the beauty and life of our Mother Earth?
It seems as if the seas and oceans, lakes and rivers are the oft-reported
scenes of human abuse and, yes, trafficking!
A recent report from the World Economics Forum indicated that
by 2050, the oceans’ plastic waste will outweigh fish! I can scarcely get my mind
around that announcement – that today there are over 150 million tons of
plastic in the ocean(re-read that
statistic, please); and that by 2025 — less than 10 years from today — the
ocean is expected to contain 1.1 tons of plastic for every 3 tons of fish. .
.and by 2050, more plastic than fish, by weight. Plastic! This same report indicated that at least 8 million tons of
plastic — equivalent to one garbage truck every minute — leak into the ocean
each year. (Please re-read that alarming statistic, as well.)
How can it be? Is it because of our unexpected surge in
consumption? Because everything we buy is being packaged in plastic? Some
plastic bears the warning: “Keep out of reach of children!” I would say that
our world is being choked by all the discarded plastic. What can I/you do to
save our fish, dolphins, coral, children, Mother Earth, Sister Seas?It’s too big for anyone or anything unless
the whole supply and demand chain sits at the table and participates in this
necessary revolution. Would you agree? Are we willing? When do I/you begin the
revolution against plastic, to say nothing of oil spills, pop cans etc.?
This blog is maintained by a group of Sisters at Saint Benedict's Monastery in St. Joseph, Minnesota. We try to post weekly and often succeed at that.
The opinions on this blog belong to individual writers and do not reflect any official position of the monastery. Please feel free to comment on any of the entries-- comments are moderated, but we'll publish any reasonable comment.