Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Six Friars and Friar Ray Frias Visit the Monastery

Six of the Friars to visit us from Germany were: from left to right:
Friars Christophorus OFM Cap., Bernard OP, Tomas, OFM Cap.Ulrich, OP Toma, OP and student Korbinian,  The one in friar habit is Friar Ray Frias, OFM Cap.

The initials after the names means OFM Cap Order of Friars Minors, a Franciscan Branch, and OP means Order of Preachers , a Dominican Branch..

The Friars from Germany teach in University in Germany and are doing research on Secularization of society
and its effect on Religious life and of the Church.

Friar Ray brought them to our monastery so that they would understand where the contemplative life fit into this scheme of things.  The Sisters found the exchange very stimulating.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Clare and the Contemplative Life

Part From the Cloud of Unknowing
There are two kinds of Christian living. One is a life of activity.  The other is the contemplative life.  These two lives are united.  It is impossible to live the one without having some of the other.

The active life begins and ends right here.  The contemplative life begins here and continues into eternity.

For Clare she began her contemplative life on Palm Sunday 1212, 800 years ago, and it is still going on for Clare in eternity.

 The Poor Clares throughout the world continue this heritage by living a contemplative life , intent on only one thing,  that which will be continued in eternity.  

The active part of the Poor Clare life is interceding for all people through our life of prayer.

We pray daily for you and for the whole world.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Garden is a thing of Beauty

From a Rabbi :Steven Rubenstein.

A Reflection on Meditation of The Bible and of Gardening.

We have much to grow on in the coming year as we examine both the Torah and ourselves. I ask you to join me in a year of exploration, by sowing seeds that are a part of who we are and by reaping the fruits of our labors.
Anyone who has ever planted a vegetable garden or a flower bed knows that it takes work. Some of us have more luck than others. Perhaps it’s because of more knowledge about how to prepare the ground before planting the seeds. Perhaps it’s a matter of being more attentive to watering than those of us who trust that God will provide the proper amount of rain at the right time. Sometimes we have to take matters into our own hands if we are to fulfill our roles as God’s partner in this endeavor.

What is true about the gardens at our homes can be related to the seeds of faith that we plant in our hearts and souls. I recently read an aggadah (legend) related to what happened on Mount Sinai when we waited for Moses to return with a message from the Divine Spirit of Creation. During those three days of anticipation, the entire mountain burst forth with flowers and grass. Although it was spring­time, let us not forget that we were in a relatively barren wilderness. In some Sephardic congregations, the Torah scrolls are adorned with roses in recognition of the sweet and aromatic qualities of this ancient text. In other parts of rabbinic literature, Israel is likened to God’s private and protected orchard.
The three days of waiting are significant. On the Third Day of Creation, God established all grass and fruit-bearing trees. Just as fruit is essential for physical life, the Torah is crucial to spiritual life, as we are reminded each time we return the sacred scrolls to the ark: Eitz chayyim hee—It is a tree of life to all who take hold of it.
When I attended CAJE, a convention for Jewish educa­tors, several summers ago, I met a person who was deeply passionate about environmental issues and how they related to the spiritual nature of Jewish practice. During a hike into the mountains of Boulder, Colorado, he shared with us the following blessing from the weekday morning service that pays tribute to God as Creator:

How wonderful are Your works, Adonai, With wisdom you fashioned them all. The earth abounds in Your creations …

Please join me in another year of exploration into the Torah and the many seeds that God plants into our hearts, our minds, and our souls. It may not be an easy task for any of us to look at ourselves in this way. But let us not lose sight of the wisdom that comes from the Book of Psalms but is a part of our daily practice of giving thanks to God after each meal. We rejoice in the great things that God has done in the same way that streams revive the desert each spring.
May we all find our share of happiness in our lives, growing in our understanding of ourselves, others, the world in which we live, and in God.

Pope Francis visits Sister in Umbria