Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Seeds of Faith

“Why do you not leave the Catholic church?”

At this debilitating and demoralizing time within our church, I decided to take a small survey on why some people choose NOT to leave the Church, why they don’t do as so many refugees do as they run away from what is harmful, abusive and a tremendous challenge to their very lives and faith! Here are some of their answers:

  • "Like Peter, I respond, 'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.'"
  • "Even when our favorite pastor got into abusive relationships, I never even thought of giving up my faith! I’m not tied to an individual; I believe in God."
  • "I believe in Pope Francis and broke into tears when the election returns were announced five years ago. The Spirit was in that election, and is in him!"
  • "I love the church; this is my home; this is where I was nurtured!"
  • "I believe there is a Higher Power who will sustain us."
  • "I don’t put my faith in anyone except God. We all fail; God doesn’t."

Photo by Lisa Rose, OSB

Are you able to make a decision like these persons have made? Are you standing firm? This summer, on our small veranda where the "floor" is made of cement bricks, I felt myself confirmed in hope! There were eight or nine seeds of one kind or another that found their way up through the narrow openings between the bricks! Would you believe that the floor began to sprout? Even a Canadian thistle! Somehow, perhaps metaphorically, these seedlings were the message: LIFE finds a way! For weeks, I had waited until the tiny seedlings began to grow and blossom! The promise of Christ to be with us til the end of time gives me life and hope! "I believe, Lord, help thou by unbelief!"

Renée Domeier, OSB

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Food for the Journey

Photo: Jennifer Morrissette-Hesse

During these harvesting months, it’s easy to think about the smell of homemade bread, and if you are from Minnesota, you perhaps have the memory of delighting in the hearty taste of Minnesota harvested wild rice soup. This grain has been harvested from the river grasses for many centuries by the Ojibwa/Chippewa peoples (they refer to themselves as Anishinabe, which is an Indian term meaning “original person”). I can’t help but wonder if the early Anishinabe peoples wondered what they actually were eating as they first cooked this treasured grain. Maybe they were like the Israelites in the desert who exclaimed "What is this?" when they first saw the Manna in on the desert floor ("manna" is translated into English as "What is this?"). Is that the question that all of us need to keep asking ourselves on our life journey? 

What might we discover if we look at each surprising event in our life, whether it delights or confuses us, as “Manna,” food for the journey? How might “ruminating” on these surprising events teach and nurture us? How might we share it? How might the sharing of these events with one another actually pollinate and create a nurturing environment for us personally and for our journeying companions?

Mary Rachel Kuebelbeck, OSB

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

We Create the World We Want!

James Bowey, photographer and oral historian for refugees running from their native "homes that won’t let them stay," recently provided an exhibit at the Paramount. The documentary hopes "that portraits and vignettes are universally humanizing" (St. Cloud Times, 7/8/2018), that refugee stories and experiences might touch our hearts while endless debates seem to not only prolong the process, but deaden our spirits! Many of his comments penetrated my soul; e.g. "We create the world we want by the stories we tell of one another!" I keep reminding myself: "WE CREATE the WORLD we WANT by the STORIES we tell of ONE ANOTHER!"

What do I say after having watched my country’s tribute and burial of Senator John McCain? Of singer, Aretha Franklin? Of the wounded and wounding Church I love?

Can I find never-failing goodness there and reveal that to my world?

What about my next door neighbor who may be one of the Muslim strangers in my country? Or our present and past presidents, black or white, beloved or not? Can I find and celebrate their goodness?

Recently I raised a glass of wine while my friend toasted: "To the goodness in all of us!" I like that! "We create the world we want by the stories we tell of one another!" Therefore, I raise my voice, over and over again, to the goodness in YOU, my reader, and YOU...and YOU...and YOU whom I do not yet know, but in whom lies so much goodness! Adelante! Salud! L-chaim! To LIFE!

Renée Domeier, OSB

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Sparking a Flame

Photo: Nancy Bauer, OSB

One of the sanctuary candles in Sacred Heart Chapel was bathed in sunlight on a recent summer afternoon. Its beauty caught me immediately by surprise as I was walking through the chapel. One candle was lit by the sun while the other three remained in the darkness of shadows. I had to slow down my usual quick walk through the chapel and simply pause for a prayer of gratitude. The candle was brought to life that afternoon by the sunlight shining through the windows. The light that surrounded the candle had more splendor than I had ever witnessed before. A flame sparked within my heart, and in that moment, I felt like I was in touch with God in an intimate way. I took a few seconds to ponder what I was witnessing, grateful that as I paused, I was living fully in that moment of time. We celebrate the Eucharist in our chapel, surrounding the sanctuary and the candles, on a regular basis, so the space is one I am accustomed to seeing. At the same time, on that particular afternoon, the familiar changed for me. I opened my eyes to a new experience. I learned again to be aware of God in everything at any time.

If you would like more information about Saint Benedict’s Monastery, please contact Sister Lisa Rose at lrose@csbsju.edu.

Lisa Rose, OSB