Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Of Shoes and Earth

Shoes removed for the Luminous Lodge Retreat
(Photo by Lisa Rose, OSB)
Putting our sandals away as summer and fall are leaving us, we take out our winter shoes and snow boots to prepare for winter.
Allegorically, in the scriptures, “shoes” also refers to “our path,” “our journey” in life.
Exodus 12:11 says: “…You are to be dressed for travel with your sandals on your feet.” Paul, Eph. 14-15 says, “So stand ready with truth as a belt, righteousness as your breastplate, and as your shoes a readiness to announce the Good News of peace.:
Some years back, while visiting a Trappestine Monastery, I participated in their daily walking meditation outside, all with bare feet.
Shortly, after coming home, I dreamt that I lost my shoes and after looking all over, I did not find them.
The experience I had with the Trappestines had something to tell me about my journey. What could it be? What does “having lost my shoes” tell me now? Is it trying to tell me something about my walk in life, my vocation here and now?
As I was focusing on the dirt below my bare feet, I came closer to the meaning. Am I too focused on my ministry and not enough on nature and the earth below my bare feet? Am I taking enough time enjoying the outdoors to be nourished by it? How can I help to take better care of the earth? Is God telling me to trust the soul of my heart and the gut more?
Thich Nhat Hanh, the author of Peace in Every Step, invites us to a gentle bare foot walk on the dirt and, in doing so, to imagine your toes as kissing the earth below. Do that gently with each step, left, right, left, right. This felt like a truth I was meant to learn. While taking my ministry seriously, I need to stay close to the “earth.”
While on Mount Sinai, God told Moses to take off his shoes for the soil he was standing on was Holy Ground.
Margaret Mandernach, OSB

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Tour of Saints Bike Ride

Supporting our sisters at Saint Scholastica
(Photo by Marina Schlangen, OSB)

It was a rainy and cool Sunday morning as a friend and I checked in for the Tour of Saints bike ride. We had agreed to ride the eighteen-mile route, which took us along the Lake Wobagon Trail. We rode up to Avon and back again to Saint Joseph. We met many bikers along the way who were also spending their Sunday morning riding their bikes in the rain. The rain did not appear to dampen the spirit of any of the bikers. We greeted people along the way by offering and receiving words of support. I learned as I was riding my bike that when I set my mind to do something, I really want to accomplish it. Riding my bike in the rain was not my first choice that Sunday morning. Under the rainy circumstances, I learned a lesson of endurance that a sunny day would not have provided. I learned that a little encouragement goes a long way. Still I would have preferred a bright sunny day for the experience.  I hope that next year the sun will shine for the Tour of Saints bike ride and we are already talking about riding the thirty-five mile loop. Rain or shine, the sisters at Saint Benedict’s Monastery encourage one another day after day to live a balanced life of prayer, work and community. If you would like more information about Saint Benedict’s Monastery please contact Sister Lisa Rose at lrose@csbsju.edu.


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

A Retreat at the Lodge

(Photo by Karen Streveler, OSB)
It was somewhat easier
to still my “flickering mind”

Though it took three days
 two birds,  two squirrels
and trees that stood still,
          deeply grounded
          and waiting . . .
for who knows what?

I know! It was You, Lord, coming
through the music of creation
          slowly yet continuous;

It was You, my Love,
          speaking through feathered wings,
though there were no seeds,
and squirrels who did not need
to climb the slippery pole as if
they already knew there was no food.

You are everywhere, Lord,
          waiting to  open my flickering mind
          and tell my heart of Your gentle presence.

You like the Lodge community too, don’t You?

Renee Domeier, OSB