Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What's in your cup?

Urszula lives with us at the monastery. She is one of four women who will knock on the door two weeks from now and enter the monastery as a “postulant.” Early on in her stay with us, Urszula noticed that the tea cups in our Dining Room were seriously stained. Urszula proceeded to clean the cups, one by one, with some magic combination of water and elbow grease. The time-consuming task was done freely and because it needed doing. I think we must have forgotten what clean cups look like. New eyes and generous hearts are such a blessing!

In today’s gospel the Church is given an unusually harsh saying with which to pray. This section of Matthew’s account is filled with “woe’s.” In the time of Christ, “woe to you,” meant “beware,” “change you ways.” Those poor men JESUS was addressing thought they had salvation all figured out. JESUS, because He loved them, too, confronted them with the reality of their souls using a clever metaphor.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.You cleanse the outside of cup and dish, but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence.Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may be clean.”

We are like those Pharisees and scribes sometimes. We get kind of used to the way we are inside and think it’s just fine. That’s when the Word brings us back to the path of becoming. That’s when we get out the bleach and detergent and clean things up a bit. We don’t want to stay as we are or get used to the “stains” of selfishness, pride and anger. Even if the stains aren’t really so bad, we want to be a pure vessel for the love of GOD. We want to be inside what we claim to be outside. And because He loves us, JESUS lets each of us know when it’s time to “clean the inside of [our] cup.”

Blessings and love to you all…
- Sister Vicki

Monday, August 24, 2009

"What I learned this summer..."

Not all of life’s learnings are grand revelations. Some lessons come in much smaller packaging. This summer I added a few items to my personal list:

1. As tempting as the price may be, NEVER cut your own hair. There are just parts of you that can’t be seen – even with two mirrors. (Trust me.)

2. Clothes really do wear out. I am seven years in the monastery and having to grieve a few close “friends” who are not even fit for charitable donation.

3. Never leave your basket of recyclables near the bedroom door. Well-meaning sisters will put your mail into it.

4. Shopping at “Good Will” helps provide jobs for others and tends the earth by using what is still of value. AND, it may get you four “new” tops for the price of one purchased at retail.

5. Change is…hard, good, constant. Moment to moment we are not the same person. Though things “around us” change, it is really we who consent to become something more, something new.

It might sound as if it was a boring summer or that Sister didn’t have enough to do. Truthfully, these little moments of illumination bring joy and challenge to the journey. I could write volumes on where I’ve been or what I learned. Somehow, today, the little things feel like such a gift. What lessons have you learned lately?

Blessings and love to you all…
- Sister Vicki