Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Silent Breakfast

Breakfasts in the monastery during Lent are eaten in silence. It’s just an ordinary breakfast. 

But everything about the silent space feels uncluttered and gentling… 

The heart beats a bit more slowly.
The breath emerges in elongated patterns.
The mind’s eye becomes playfully attentive.
The food births gratefulness.

Every aspect of this meal feels connected to gratefulness…

          A silent “Thank you” spontaneously rises for all who faithfully bring this nurturing food to tables

                   Farmers, farm-workers and gardeners, as well as truckers and grocery-workers
                   Dining room staff and sisters, who rise early to prepare a sunrise delight
                   Our lavish God who looks on all work and calls it good

          A litany of “Thank you” cascades for…
                   Soil, sun and rain, strengthening our favorite cereal grains
                    Chickens, sharing their rich egg protein to fortify us
                   Coffee beans, releasing their delightful aroma and waking up every cell
                   Each taste, color, smell and texture, alerting and enlivening us

Today, everything somehow seems beautiful…

          Maybe that’s what John O’Donohoue meant when he defined real beauty as,
          “That, in the presence of which, we feel more alive.”

Mary Rachel Kuebelbeck, OSB

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


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