Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Longing for Spring



I have several friends who long for Spring, starting as early as the Feast of St. Scholastica on February 10th.  Why?  Because the scripture reading for that feast sings one of its most beautiful verses:  “Come, my love, my dove, my beautiful one!  Winter is o’er; the rains are over and gone.  The flowers appear on the earth…the song of the dove is heard in our land. …O my dove in the clefts of the rock, in the secret recesses of the cliff, let me see you, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet, and you are lovely (2:10+)."

Almost as alluring was an e-mail I received entitled “A Touch of Spring” with the subtitle:  “We’re all ready for a bit of Spring.”  I was so delighted.  It was an interactive piece, so using the mouse, I could click as often and wherever I wanted to on a completely black screen.  I went a bit wild!  All those flowers that I could present to the dark background in a matter of seconds!  And at the click of a mouse!  I felt as if I were a veritable flower garden: fresh spring green leaves, sky blue flowers, yellow daisies, bubble-like and graceful fronds, orange, purple, and peach, some double-petalled, others bending over gracefully.  There were large flowers, the size of a quarter and tiny ones, the size of an ear ring.  Sometimes, there were different kinds of flowers rising out of the same root or stem.  One was in the form of a cross; all the rest shouted out: “Our life is new!  Resurrection.  Come alive.”

There were even fire-cracker blossoms.  If I stayed at the same spot on the screen and clicked a number of times, I marveled at the wonderful overlapping of colors, textures and designs.  Everything seemed to fit; everything was lightsome. A touch of spring?  Yes and more.  For me it was a reminder of how God must delight in what He had created.  It’s no surprise that God would, of course, find his creation good, very good, indeed!  And now again: “all those flowers appearing on our land!”  How good it is!  Spring is here!

Renee Domeier, OSB

Friday, March 20, 2015

Phoenix



Photo: Nancy Bauer, OSB
I read about a Minnesota truck driver who saved a 5 month old puppy from a burning barrel. As a Christian and Benedictine, I felt compelled to blog. The pup was abandoned, starving and charred black.  The driver whisked it away to a veterinarian who took care of it and named him Phoenix. In Greek mythology, the phoenix is a bird who, after being consumed by fire, is reborn from its own ashes -- an appropriate name for the brave pup. This incident triggered a quotation from an eco-psychology class: “A society is only as healthy as it treats animals and children–those who are most vulnerable.” 


St. Benedict, about whom the story is told that he was once fed by a raven,  understood that all life is sacred and ought to be cared for with diligence, patience and mercy. I believe this kind of care includes the earth and the animals entrusted to us. Were Benedict the truck driver, he would have rescued the pup. Why? Because Benedict’s Rule teaches reverence for everyone and everything. It encourages a life of connectedness in community and with the larger world—a sacred connectedness that is also union with God. 

Elizabeth A Johnson’s recent Commonweal article “At Our Mercy” tells us: “We have failed utterly to protect our planet and those who share it with us.  For Christians, this constitutes a profound break with God.”   She calls us to rebirth our connectedness with God, nature, and animals, and with all that is entrusted to us.  -- Commonweal (January 23, 2014)


Trish Dick, OSB

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Wireless Connections





There’s a lot of the scientific as well as the mystical in what met my eyes as I opened the internet recently.  I read: “Prayer. The world’s greatest wireless connection.”  We marvel at how Bangladesh, Australia or Washington can be addressed with the click of the computer mouse, and how we can receive a response within nanoseconds from the person addressed in any of those locations. Wireless connections!


Likewise, when I wearily approach our bulletin boards here at the monastery and read hundreds, literally, hundreds of cries out of the darkness of other lives yearning for prayer support, I tell myself I am not alone, either in pain or in support! The pain is writ big on our bulletin board requests! But so is the prayer support that comes from hundreds of monastics here at Saint Benedict’s and at Saint Scholastica who respond in prayer to the requests. Yes, prayer is the world’s greatest wireless connection! And that is just within our monastery walls.


Moving outside the monastery and back again to the internet, almost daily I receive announcements of a world day of prayer -- sometimes at a given clock hour -- invitations to  communal prayer for world peace, for victims of human trafficking, for our military, for Pope Francis, for wise and compassionate decisions to be made by heads of countries throughout the world. And the prayer support is evident in the many who belong to yoga groups, to centering prayer communities, meditators, ashram gatherers, retreatants coming apart to rest and pray -- you name -- there are innumerable conscious parts-seeking-the-whole who are assembling to manifest what God and science are trying to tell us: we are all deeply connected; each of us can make a difference, can effect an outcome, when we put our minds to it!  The more minds and hearts, the better, of course, although individuals, too, have far-reaching influence upon the whole of humanity. “Prayer is the world’s  greatest wireless connection.”


The internet tells us where the needs are and where the resources; by our prayer we can enlarge the energy level where the Spirit seeks to make all things new! Don’t we all love the flash mobs, where musicians from all entry points come together, share their gifts, literally stop pedestrians in their tracks to listen, smile, lift children high on shoulders in order to participate, to rejoice together, to experience the connections? We, all of us, can come from wherever we are, remind others or simply become consciously aware of who we are together, where we can go together, how we might get there! Think about it! Pray! Be a conscious part of the existing human/divine connection!  Any moment, we can start ...



Renée Domeier, OSB