Showing posts with label Cloistered Heart. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cloistered Heart. Show all posts

20 Aug 2017

And in the Wind

There is change in the air as a storm approaches. The wind picks up, clouds gather, there may be a distant clap of thunder. As lightning flashes around us, we race for shelter.

Monastery grounds and walls are as subject to storms as those of any other building. They get slapped with rain, pelted with sleet.  Inhabitants of the cloister might find themselves standing at a window looking out, maybe with a touch of concern. What are those chunks of hail doing to the roof? Are the windows secure against the wind?

The monastery of my life is vulnerable, too. I face storms, at times, of great magnitude. Sickness, sudden disaster, an unnerving news report. It helps me then to remember that I’m in the strongest cloister possible – the cloister of God’s loving embrace.  Everything that touches me must first come through His hands, through His “permissive will.” I can do as St. Francis de Sales advised, and say amid my contradictions: “this is the very road to heaven..  I see the door, and I am certain the storms cannot prevent us from getting there....” (continue reading...)

30 Jul 2017

Bells, Bells, Bells...

Morning in the monastery:  it starts with a bell.  

Come to think of it, most activities in the monastery start with a bell.  Time to rise:  the bell rings.  Time to pray, eat, study, work, have recreation: the bell rings. Anyone who has spent time in a monastery knows the bell as at least a background.  

Monastics look upon it as the voice of God.

In the dark silence of our monastery morning, the bell calls.  It may not be all that welcome.  It shatters our darkness and our dreams.  If we don't live in a physical monastery, our bell might be a baby's cry.  Or the insistent bleep of an alarm clock.  And oh, our slumber has been so comfortable.  Go away, we think as we slap at the snooze button; give me just a few more minutes.  Let me have time with this dream.....(continue reading)

2 Jul 2017

What I Did Not Miss

One day, I scheduled a good sized block of minutes for uninterrupted concentration on God. I actually try to do this regularly, but on this day in particular I was ready and waiting. I had even dug through my bookshelves for an unused journal (I have several waiting in the wings) in order to make notes of What I Did Not Miss.

I sat with a list of suggestions on how to pray with Scripture and opened my Bible to a reading from the Gospel of Luke. I read a few lines slowly, and waited. I read the lines again, and waited. I asked Jesus what He wanted to reveal to me, and I waited. 'Keep on doing this until the words begin to live,' the anonymous Religious had suggested. So I did.

The words I read were good words, holy words, straight-from-the-written-Word-of-God-words, and I received them with gratitude. I thanked God for the words, and for His written word, and for gifts I was aware of and gifts I didn't know I was receiving.

But did the words live? From my perspective, that did not seem to be the case.... (click to continue)

25 Jun 2017

Of Jesus Concealed


'In a world where there is so much noise, so much bewilderment, there is a need for silent adoration of Jesus concealed in the Host. Be assiduous in the prayer of adoration and teach it to the faithful. It is a source of comfort and light, particularly to those who are suffering.' - Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

4 Jun 2017

Help Me Make Time


"Lord, help me to make time today to serve You 
in those who are most in need of encouragement or assistance."

St. Vincent de Paul

Painting: Rostislav Felitsin

28 May 2017

My Life on the Fence



The life of a nun would be impossible for me, because I don't have grace for it. Sometimes, however, I long for the framework of such a life. I long for physical structure to securely fence me in and keep me from getting sidetracked by things that are unimportant, frivolous or even sinful.

In the midst of a society that finds the very thought of living "for God" repressive, fanatical, and politically incorrect, I find myself not securely fenced in, but camped out and living on the fence. I don't intend to embrace the world's standards, but in my attempts to blend in with the rest of society, sometimes I just might find myself compromising.

The fence is where I settle in to watch a PG-13 movie while trying to close my ears to the language and my eyes to "those scenes." It's where I enter a party determined not to gossip, but wind up laughing along with those who do. It is where I know I'm to stand up for Christ, for life, for morality, for biblical truth - yet I pull back for fear of what others might think.... (continue reading)

21 May 2017

Holy in the Midst


'Live on the divine Eucharist, like the Hebrews did on the manna. 
Your soul can be entirely dedicated to the Eucharist, 
and very holy in the midst of your work and contacts with the world' 

St. Peter Julian Eymard
 
 

6 May 2017

When We Are Mystics

"Is this life of union a special vocation for priests, religious, Saints, privileged persons, and mystical souls? Not at all.   


This trusting and tender union with God is the very foundation of the spiritual life...." (read more)

27 Apr 2017

This Unchosen Cloister

You may have noticed that lately I've been absent from behind these cloister walls. I wish I could say I've been away on a long vacation, but the truth is far less glamorous. I've spent the last few weeks in a cloister not of my own choosing... 
 
'Thank God, there still remains one sanctuary, the sacredness of which no earthly power may violate…  It is the sanctuary of the human heart.  It needs no fixed place for its confines, no stated time for the opening of its gates, no particular hour of silence for its prayer.  A thought, a word, a moment of reflection, and by faith and by love, the soul is within the blessed refuge, and the gates are closed on the confusion of life with all its noise and tumult. It is secure against the bitterness and the pain of persecution, or hardship or trial, or hurt of body, or wound of earthly pride, or failure of worldly ambition, for there she is inviolable, sacred, impregnable in the fortress of her own spirit.' (From The Living Pyx of Jesus)
 
(continue reading...)

26 Mar 2017

Revisiting the Real Jesus

Recently I read something touting a "politically correct" (but unmistakably warned against in Scripture) lifestyle as being something Jesus would applaud. 

I immediately thought:  "Oh, really?"  

Just who, I asked, is this jesus of whom the writer is speaking?  It's definitely not the Jesus quoted and taught about in Scripture and 2,000 years of the Church.  The real Christ clearly taught against what the author was endorsing.

This is extremely important.  Nothing in our lives could be more important.  If we intend to respond to the world through the "grillwork" of God's will, a knowledge of the real Jesus is critical. 

If I am going to see the world through Scripture and the teachings of the Church, I must have a working knowledge of what these are. I cannot make them up for myself. And certainly I can't invent my own jesus, one who will approve of everything I do.. even sin. The real Jesus loves me; He genuinely loves me. He cares enough about me to correct my missteps.  

The real Jesus does not overlook the cliffs I'm blindly frolicking about on. He is not afraid of warning me about them lest He interrupt my fun. Because He loves me, He wants to protect me from the enemy of my soul... (continue)

How to be a waffle: the art of compartmentalization

There is a book called,  Guys are Waffles, Girls are Spaghetti  by Chad Eastham , which a review on Goodreads posits as the healthier a...