Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Yielding to Surprise

As I see brave spring shoots receiving just the right amount of light, warmth and moisture to break through the dry, cold soil, the word “tender” keeps surfacing for me.  Everything about spring seems to have a gentle hue.   My hibernating winter gaze begins to soften, as I allow an increasing number of subtle smiles to warm my face. I sometimes even catch my voice whispering to budding trees and perennial flowers, “You sweet surprise, you’re lovely. And then I giggle a bit and add, “I see you, you’re such a delight for my exploring eyes.  Thank you.”

The Latin root for tender is “tener” defined as “yielding, easily broken”.  I find myself looking across the oratory when we sing the Liturgy of the Hours.  We sing antiphonally, so one side sings and then the other.  I pray that as I am attentive to one familiar face at a time, my moistened spring-gaze will imagine a new aspect of her unique beauty that will reveal itself to me as the day unfolds.

 If my heart remains cold, dry soil I’m tempted to say, “I have her all figured out.  I know exactly what she will likely do or say.” I’ve actually given her the greatest insult I can give her.  “Tender moments” acknowledge that each day she is no longer exactly like she was the day, month or year before. She is changing and transforming. Hopefully my attentiveness will change my heart too. I pray that the warmth and light of the Spirit can use this present moment to tenderize my vision and let my stereotypes be more “easily broken”.  Allow me, my unconditionally loving God, to be surprised each day at discovering hues of beauty in the people that I think I have “all figured out”.

S. Mary Rachel Kuebelbeck

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Earth Day

Friday is Earth Day.  We need to ask forgiveness of our Mother Earth for our communal and individual abuse of her and therefore of all our brothers and sisters with whom we share this gift from God to all of us.  Let us pray as we image our holding and embracing Mother Earth just as she holds us. 

We Hold the Earth

“We hold brothers and sisters who suffer from storms and droughts intensified by climate change.
We hold all species that suffer.
We hold world leaders delegated to make decisions for life.
We pray that the web of life may be mended though courageous actions to limit carbon emissions.
We pray that love and wisdom might inspire my actions and our actions as communities…so that we may with integrity, look in to the eyes of brothers and sisters and all beings and truthfully say, we are doing our part to care for them and the future of the children.
May love transform us and our world with new steps toward life.”

Brought to you by Interfaith Power and Light.


S. Renee Domeier

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

New Beginnings

April brings with it new beginnings. Buds appear on trees and flowers start to poke up through the earth. One new beginning for me was many Aprils ago, in 1981, when I was accepted as an affiliate at Saint Benedict’s Monastery. As an affiliate I was beginning the first step into becoming a member of the community. I had written a letter of request, and I received a letter in return welcoming me as an affiliate. When I read my letter there was a scripture passage from the prophet Isaiah inserted into the body of it. This is what the prophet Isaiah had to say to me on that memorable day.  
"Lo, I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; The things of the past shall not be remembered or come to mind. Instead, there shall always be rejoicing and happiness in what I create; for I create Jerusalem to be a joy and its people to be a delight; I will rejoice in Jerusalem and exult in my people (Ch.65:17-19)
Before they call, I will answer; while they are yet speaking, I will hearken to them. (vv.24)"

When I came across my letter of acceptance this past February, I recalled reading the letter for the first time, and this particular passage from Isaiah. I remember thinking, yes, I was being created anew and God was/is the creator. God was calling me into new life. God has continued to call me forth, challenging me to trust and follow. So what new beginnings may be happening for you in your life at this time? What may God be asking of you on our own unique journey during this month of new beginnings? On April 9th we will be hosting a retreat from 9-4 for women: Is God calling you to Religious Life? If you would like more information please contact Sister Lisa Rose at

Lisa Rose, OSB

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Good Friday Service, Brokenness and the Cross

I love to spend Triduum* with my community at the monastery. We have such wonderful, rich liturgies that call me into a space of deep reflection, sorrow, repentance, wonder and joy.

This year I did not make it up to the monastery for Triduum because of my resident chaplaincy work at Abbott Northwest Hospital. I had the opportunity to preside and gather with folks in the Mental Health Unit for a Good Friday service and time of reflection. As I prepared my reflection I found myself at a loss to know what to say to those who would be part of the gathering. It’s not that I didn’t have anything to say or could not come up with material – it just seemed out of context with these folks.  How do you talk about the cross with patients who have mental health problems, who daily bear their cross because they are stigmatized, misunderstood in their suffering, marginalized in our society and often looked on with disdain?  Frankly I was at a loss how to communicate the suffering of the cross to these patients.  In desperation I looked on the internet for some reflection resources. I couldn’t find much information and what I did find often felt as if I was trying to put a square block in a round hole.  I was stuck, or at least felt stuck, about how to communicate the meaning of the cross to these folks who have a deep, anguishing faith because of their suffering. I found some words from Henri Nouwen on brokenness and the cross that I tried to reflect on and communicate the following:


Your broken heart is the source of my salvation, the foundation of my hope, the cause of my love. It is the sacred place where all that was, is and ever shall be is held in unity. There all suffering has been suffered, all anguish lived, all loneliness endured, all abandonment felt and all agony cried out. There, human and divine love have kissed, and there God and all men and women of history are reconciled. All the tears of the human race have been cried there, all pain understood and all despair touched. Together with all people of all times, I look up to you whom they have pierced, and I gradually come to know what it means to be part of your body and your blood, what it means to be human.”


We broke bread together in the solidarity of our brokenness and suffering and Jesus’ love for us shown on the cross.  I want to fully acknowledge that I truly do not understand completely my brokenness as these folks understand their brokenness. Their brokenness and willingness to embrace the cross of Christ and claim it as Good Friday haunts my soul in mystery.  This Good Friday service impacted my sense of suffering and the meaning of the cross. I still don’t fully comprehend the cross, but I have experienced a whole new sense of the cross – and it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.


*The Triduum (a Latin term meaning ‘three days in one’), stretches for the Mass of the Lord’s supper on Holy Thursday to sundown on Easter Sunday.


Trish Dick, OSB