Thursday, February 28, 2013

Keep it simple!


As I look tenderly back on the month of February, the word I chose to befriend and companion me remains with me and hopefully will continue to teach me in the month of March.  I would like to always be open to the possibility of being taught.  SIMPLICITY!   In praying with the concept of simplicity I am reminded of how clutter depresses me.  Even so, it is easy for me to surround myself with too much:  too much stuff, too many words, too many opinions, too many books, and on and on and on,  I love space.  One of the most memorable dreams I have ever had was that of being invited into a room where I thought I would find everything I longed for, only to discover that it was a totally empty room.  I knelt down in the middle of the room and wept for joy.  It was as though I had come home.   Perhaps that dream was calling me to simplicity.

A favorite memory of February is the one red rose I received on Valentine Day.  I spent part of my personal prayer-time simply gazing at the ONE rose. I would rather have just one flower than a whole bouquet. One you can learn to love and cherish, one stands out, one seems such a good companion and is so easy to BEHOLD. How could I have even found my one ROSE if it had been mixed in with a dozen? 

Tomorrow we begin another month and I will choose a new word.  I'll share it with you when I'm ready. 
May this new month help you to believe the truth about yourself no matter how beautiful it is! 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

...but the storm of love is stronger

Happy Feast of St. Scholastica

Today, February 10, is the feast of St. Scholastica, twin sister of St. Benedict.  There is a lovely story about Benedict and Scholastica's last visit before her death.  This is told in the dialogues of St. Gregory the Great.  These twin saints had a custom of meeting once a year for holy conversation and speaking of the spiritual life.   This meeting took place in a house near Benedict's monastery. During one of their visits as evening drew near Scholastica begged Benedict to spend the entire night conversing of the things of God.  Benedict was horrified that she should suggest that he spend a night away from the monastery.  Upon his refusal Scholastica put her head on the desk and wept.  A severe thunder storm arose with torrential rains making it impossible for Benedict to  return to his monastery.  Thus they spent the night in holy conversation.  

We have picked up on the holy humor of this story and have used some of it in our antiphons for the feast.  In one of our antiphons we sing of Benedict's frustration when he discovers his plight:  "May almighty God forgive you sister, what have you done?"  And the responding antiphon is Scholastica's answer:  "See I have asked a favor of you, and you refused to hear me.  I asked my Lord and He has heard me." 
f you and you ed; I asked our Lord and He has heard."
Last night I was awakened in the midst of a thunderstorm and smiled at the memory of St. Scholastica's storm.  Whether this story is true matters little.  What matters is the deep love that St. Scholastica portrayed in wanting to spend time with God and with her brother.

In our Hymn for this feast we  sing:

Crash of tempest; roll of thunder                                                 Lightening flash from pole to pole,

But the storm of love is stronger
Brighter flashes in the soul.

May each of you experience a storm of love with bright flashes in the soul.  Who will you have holy conversation with this week?

Happy Feast!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

To be a star

Do you ever wake up feeling lost, sort of dejected and forlorn--wondering how you landed in this world? That was my awakening experience about two weeks ago.  In my disgruntled state I poured a cup of coffee, opened the door to the great outdoors and gasped.  When I first beheld this scene I did not see the star.  I saw the tree holding the sunrise and it was like medicine for me.  I forgot my dejection.  I even sat there for a few minutes before getting my camera. Later when I put my photos on my computer, the star became visible and it was like a second dose of medicine.  I remembered a poem from my book, Seasons of Your Heart, and re-read the poem.  Now I offer a selection of  that poem to you because you, too, may have desolate days when being reminded that you have the potential to be a star for someone else in their desolation, just might be helpful for both of you.

I hope a star comes out for you today,
a new one that you've never seen before.
I hope it's bright and bold,
a prophetic star,
piercing your darkness
and helping you to see the things
you really need to see.

I hope it touches you
with fire
and runs along beside you
all  day long.

This star!
Oh, how I hope it comes
in your life!

And when the day is through
I hope this star
keeps shining on in you
For without a doubt
you are
someone who's called 
to be
a star.

-Macrina Wiederkehr
Seasons of Your Heart: prayers and reflections 

Sunday, February 3, 2013


My Word for February is SIMPLICITY

It speaks to me about the grace of slowing down long enough to discern "what's enough".  My altar above depicts my efforts to simplify.  It offers me sacred space that helps me remember to breathe.  It invites me to see beauty in stillness and non-action. I am a person who love rituals, icons, symbols, etc and so it often happens that my sacred space becomes too cluttered. When my personal altar becomes cluttered with too many treasures it becomes difficult to see the one true treasure.

My altar holds the single image of a praying woman.  You will notice she doesn't have a lot of prayer books around her.  No props or paraphernalia .  She is just BEING THERE.  Perhaps later a candle will arrive but it will be small.  Nothing flashy or overpowering!    My intention is to have just one treasure on my altar this month--something that speaks of the simplicity of BEING.  The treasure here is obvious.  It is presence.  It is prayer.  It is attentiveness.  It is silence and simplicity.

My question for this month:  Is there anything I can take out of my life so that I may be able to more truly see who I really am?