Tuesday, May 28, 2013

God in the Ordinary

It’s Ordinary time in the Church’s calendar.  This so-called “Ordinary time” started after the high feasts ofEaster, Ascension and Pentecost.  “Ordinary time?” we ask, “but now we begin summertime when the living is full.  What can the Church calendar be eager to teach us?”

A few days ago, one of our sisters hinted at the answer; she prayed: “We ask you now, O Holy Spirit of God, to stay with all of us as we begin to live ordinary time, secure in your love. Amen.”

How often, when we are faced with some decision, disaster or even evil, do we jump into action? Yet, Scripture tells us that “in quietness and confidence, shall we find our strength (Is. 30:15).”  We are asked to be still and allow God to be God (Psalm  46:10 ). God wants to direct us, if we but put our trust in God, if we not allow fear to overcome us, if we not take the entire burden upon our shoulders.  Today, in the smallest of things, we can practice being still and trusting our God so that the threats and uncertainties of this summer will not overcome us!

Ordinary time but extraordinary events, and many of them:  weddings, births, deaths, vacations, plantings and harvesting, decisions and transitions.  In the midst of these and others, can we remember that we have asked the Holy Spirit to stay with us as we live, secure in an extraordinary love?  We will need to be still in order to know God’s presence among us, no matter what!
Renee Domeier, OSB

Monday, May 20, 2013

Real Beauty

Krista Tippet, in her Feb 23, 2013, blog for her NPR “On Being” program, offered John Donohue’s definition of beauty.  He said, “Real beauty is that, in the presence of which, we feel more alive”.


Photo by S. Nancy Bauer
Perhaps you have been enlivened by glimpses of nature’s real beauty these past weeks. In Minnesota, it has been sprouting leaves on winter-rested trees; bringing us patterns of familiar sounds from returning robins; encouraging sturdy spring flowers to poke their heads through last fall’s shriveled leaves, and gifting that beautiful forgotten smell of fresh rain on bone dry sidewalks, swept clean of winter’s ice-melting dust.

There also have been life-giving sightings of real beauty indoors.

·        The transpersonal connection, between an elderly sister and her care giver when mutual laughter emerged

·        The beauty of unbounded affection, as a five year old ran into the arms of his beloved great aunt

·        The life-giving-beauty of solidarity, as a tear-covered-face and encircling arms supported a family member during a difficult loss

Alive again, alive again, thank God I’m alive again!

As the Spirit again floods us with its transforming and life-giving light, may our eyes see in brighter hue the enlivening beauty that softens the soil of our hearts and emerges as a shout of spontaneous gratitude and praise or a delightful beauty-gasp.

Mary Rachel Kuebelbeck, OSB

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mystery of Pentecost

Recently I discovered two Spirit-filled interpretations of the mystery of PENTECOST. One is a Spirit Psalm, inspired by the image of the Spirit rushing upon David in 1 Samuel 16:13. The other is from The Message, the New Testament in contemporary language. Let us pray both:

Rush upon us, O Spirit of God!
From this time on, rush upon us
like living water,
like leaping fire,
like fresh breath through an open window.
For this time, rush upon us, O Holy Spirit,
with wisdom and knowledge,
with understanding and counsel,
with wonder and recognition and awe.
Just in time, rush upon us, O Spirit of God,
in life-giving words,
in songs from the voiceless,
in a passion for witness.
At this time, rush upon us, O Holy Spirit;
this hopeful time,
this searching time,
this preparing time,
this coming and going time,
this trusting time,
this new time,
this full time.
All the time,
Rush upon us, O Spirit of God!

“It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us . . . It’s in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it, found yourselves home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. This signet from God is the first installment on what’s coming, a reminder that we’ll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life.

That’s why, when I heard of the solid trust you have in the Master Jesus and your outpouring of love to all the Christians, I couldn’t stop thanking God for you—every time I prayed, I’d think of you and give thanks. But I do more than thank. I ask—ask the God of our Master Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for Christians, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength! (Ephesians 1).”

Now, isn’t that what we all desire in and for one another!? Glorious Pentecostal in-Spiriting!

Renee Domeier, OSB

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Thank You, Blog

The last couple of weeks have been very hectic for me. As communications director for the monastery, I am editor of our magazine, Benedictine Sisters and Friends, which is published three times a year. The spring-summer issue is due at the printer tomorrow. I love putting together the magazine, working with our Editorial Board to determine the theme, engaging people to write some of the articles, having an opportunity to learn more about our community through the articles I, and others, research and write. I value the support of my colleagues. I value their input and encouragement and, with a little more difficulty, their critical eyes. Do you think, though, that when I am running around, desperately trying to get everything done, I'm actually thinking how grateful I am for all these things? Well, I'm not. I'm horrified when anybody asks me to do the smallest thing that takes me away from the Big Task - the Magazine. Having a passing conversation with anyone becomes a trial, not a joy (and I'm a person who loves visiting in normal circumstances). However, because I decided that I was going to write a blog on the subject, I set myself the task of thinking about what is good about the whole experience, and I came up, just off the top of my head, with all these things. It made me think that maybe it's a good idea, when anything seems stressful or difficult, to step back for a few moments and think about what's good in the situation. So, writing the blog has, I feel, taught me a valuable lesson. Thank you, Blog.

Karen Rose, OSB