Friday, March 27, 2009

In the kitchen again...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

"...a burning and shining lamp"

The beheading of John the Baptist

by Pierre Puvis de Chavannes (1869)

In today’s gospel Jesus says of John, “He was a burning and shining lamp (John 5:35).” Oh, to have the Lord say that of me! Wouldn’t that be something? The love and respect Jesus had for John was immense. It had nothing to do with his worth or possessions. He had none but the skins on his back. It wasn’t because he was brilliant or articulate. He was a one-message man, an unrelenting voice “crying out in the wilderness.” No, it was the love of GOD indwelling that shone from John’s heart - that gave him courage, strength and the certainty that he was, in fact, preparing the way of the messiah. It was the love of GOD Jesus recognized in his cousin – a passion they both shared in earthly life.

Lent is a good time to consider what kind of “lamp” I am these days – what kind of light emanates from my soul. Not every “lamp” burns as bright. Am I smaller than others, more decorative that functional? Am I a sturdy, standard floor lamp – giving light that helps others to see? Am I a groovy, little retro lamp that looks good on the outside but offers little in the way of illumination? I want to burn and shine like John – like a real flame dancing above wick and oil. I want to trade in those wasteful bulbs for something that costs a good deal more, but offers a light that lasts a good, long time. May we all shine and burn with love for GOD - today and "unto everlasting life (Rule of Benedict, 72:12)."

Blessings and love to you all...

- Sister Vicki

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Feasting with our Oblates...

On Saturday every Benedictine monastery celebrated the Feast of Saint Benedict. March 21st is the day our Holy Father entered eternal glory. It almost always falls in Lent, so the Church, in her compassion, gives monastics everywhere leave to really celebrate. (You might also know of the summer feast - July 11th - in which the universal church honors Benedict as "Patriarch of Western Monasticism.")

This year Sister did something different. Our Oblates in Richmond invited me to spend the day with them and offer a few thoughts about the season of Lent. With permission from my prioress, I readily agreed. I can't tell you how wonderful it was to pray the feast day office with nearly 20 people in the Chapel of our high school. Sisters Andrea and Charlotte Lange joined us for Morning Prayer. How lovely, for we who are on mission, to have such a festive prayer on a day when I'd normally be missing Bristow.
We decided to pray the real thing - all the special antiphons and a mode for the canticle. Our oblates were marvelous. They picked it up so quickly. The acoustics in our Chapel are just unbelievable so 20 sounded more like 30.

The retreat day went well, I think. I loved every minute of it. Sometimes, I can't believe my ministry includes such moments of grace. These good people, who are already oblates or who are in formation, gave me the gift of their faith. There is a place where people can meet in the heart - a place of wonder and oneness. I think we were there. They remain in my grateful prayers...

Blessings and love to you all...

- Sister Vicki