Thursday, June 28, 2012

Some Thoughts on Contemplative Life in the Monastery


800th Anniversary of the Beginning of the Poor Clare Life
More Thoughts on Contemplation  from Breakthrough
Meister Eckhart's Creation
by Matthew Fox

Creation centered spirituality, the most Jewish, the most biblical ,the
most contemplative and Franciscan has been lost in the West, so says Fox.
Meister Eckhart quotes:
  • Every creature is a word of God

  • When I preach, I try to speak of letting go and that we should become unwed from ourselves.

  • Everything which is past, everything which is present, and everything which is future God creates in the soul, in the innermost soul.

  • Life is blessing and blessing is life
Creatures are an echo of the Divine.
  • Announce the Word, pronounce the Word, produce it, give birth to the Word.

Someone gave us a book by Dianne Aprile, Making A Heart For God: A Week  Inside a Catholic Monastery
Aprile spent sometime with the Monks  at the Trappist Abbey of Gethsemani, Kentucky and some of the quotes below are from her book, which we found so true to our own Poor Clare Contemplative Life.
"In the night of our own technological barbarism, monks must be as trees which exist silently in the dark and by their vital presence purify the air."  Bother Patrick Hart OCSO
"In the process of striving for union with God through solitude, silence, and Christian faith, the Catholic monk(or nun) reaches out to the world in all its diversity and extends an embrace of peace." Dianne Aprile
To us, living in the world of turmoil this is the essence of our life especially as Franciscans , "to extend an embrace of peace." As Francis said in a prayer attributed to him, "Lord, make me an instrument of your peace."
Even as we do that we will ruffle feathers but we will not be rebels in the sense of any aggressive attack.  We will be like the mighty oaks holding  our vigil in prayer.
Aprile quotes Thich Nhan Hanh who advocates a half smile as our greeting to the world upon awaking up the morning."
"A smile", he wrote confirms that you are in complete mindfulness."
If one is smiling one can not be hostile to others or to creation, especially to dogs, says me.
Like all Contemplative communities the monks and nuns of today respect and appreciate, the power of silence, solitude and simplicity and work and pray together for the world.

Further thoughts:

When you enter a contemplative (cloister) Community it is like entering into the wilderness of the desert.

One movie that speaks to this might be Hidalgo, the true story of Frank Hopkins. Hopkins lived around the time of Buffalo Bill and worked for him.

The story is, in a nutshell: Hopkins runs a race in the Arabian Desert with his wild mustang.  What Hopkins learns in the desert is to accept himself for who he is, half white and half Indian. 
In the end Hopkins uses  the money that he won to buy all the wild mustangs from the government who's intention was  to slaughter them.  The most touching part of the movie was when Hopkins  lets the wild mustangs out of the corral to run free and his own horse
makes a neighing sound and Hopkins turns, takes off the saddle of
his horse and lets the horse run with the other wild mustangs. It is a complete surrender for Hopkins in which he  lets himself and the horse be who they  truly are.

This is what the desert teaches us but first comes the surrender of everything nothing less their ourselves, and in the process we will find union with God.
And what is union with God:  Love God with all your heart and all your soul and your neighbor as yourself.  Easy? NO.
" Remove the bogus: reveal the authentic", as Brother Luke Armour of Gethsemene says.

Nothing is expected of the monk or nun except, "to be." That sounds easy until you try to do it.  Amen.
Posted bySister Florence Vales OSC

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Corpus Christi Sunday June 10th

    This mosaic is found in the Church of the Loaves and Fishes at Tabgha in the Holy Land. It reminds us  of Jesus' feeding five thousand with just a few loaves and fishes.   The story found in the Gospels is a shadow of the future institution of the Eucharist.
    The Eucharist is the center of all Christian life. for in the Eucharist Jesus Christ gives Himself to us, and we lay hold of Him.  The Eucharist is not merely a symbol and ceremony:  It is truly the sacrament in which, most of all we receive the body of Jesus Christ, true God and true Man. Our Faith tells us that this is our reality.

    St. Thomas Aquinas' Hymn is posted below: 
    It is one of the most profound explanations of the Sacrament of the Eucharist in a small kernel.

    The Sequence
    Zion, praise your Savior. Praise your Savior. Praise your leader and shepherd in hymns and canticles. Praise him as much as you can, for he is beyond all praising and you will never be able to praise him as he merits.

    But today a theme worthy of particular praise is put before us -- the living and life-giving bread that, without any doubt, was given to the Twelve at table during the holy supper.

    Therefore let our praise be full and resounding and our soul's rejoicing full of delight and beauty, for this is the festival day to commemorate the first institution of this table.

    At this table of the new King, the new law's new Pasch puts an end to the old Pasch. The new displaces the old, the reality the shadow and light the darkness. Christ wanted what he did at the supper to be repeated in his memory.

    And so we, in accordance with his holy directions, consecrate bread and wine to be salvation's Victim. Christ's followers know by faith that bread is changed into his flesh and wine into his blood.

    Man cannot understand this, cannot perceive it; but a lively faith affirms that the change, which is outside the natural course of things, takes place. Under the different species, which are now signs only and not their own reality, there lie hid wonderful realities. His body is our food, his blood our drink.

    And yet Christ remains entire under each species. The communicant receives the complete Christ -- uncut, unbroken and undivided. Whether one receive or a thousand, the one receives as much as the thousand. Nor is Christ diminished by being received.

    The good and the wicked alike receive him, but with the unlike destiny of life or death. To the wicked it is death, but life to the good. See how different is the result, though each receives the same.

    Last of all, if the sacrament is broken, have no doubt. Remember there is as much in a fragment as in an unbroken host. There is no division of the reality, but only a breaking of the sign; nor does the breaking diminish the condition or size of the One hidden under the sign.

    Behold, the bread of angels is become the pilgrim's food; truly it is bread for the sons, and is not to be cast to dogs. It was prefigured in type when Isaac was brought as an offering, when a lamb was appointed for the Pasch and when manna was given to the Jews of old.

    Jesus, good shepherd and true bread, have mercy on us; feed us and guard us. Grant that we find happiness in the land of the living. You know all things, can do all things, and feed us here on earth. Make us your guests in heaven, co-heirs with you and companions of heaven's citizens. Amen. Alleluia. 
    Posted by Sister Florence Vales OSC

Monday, June 4, 2012

Eileen Flanagan Gives us a Workshop on St. Clare

This year is the 800th Anniversary of Clare's becoming the first Franciscan Woman 1212-2012.
Eileen presented to us the Tradition of the Order of San Damiano as Idol and Clare was the model.
An idol claims to be the embodiment of that which it represents but it directs us to itself rather than beyond itself.  

Tradition of the Poor Sisters of Assisi as Icon.
An Icon  is an authentic image that is what it represents;  it bids us to look at it, but also through it and beyond it, to the living reality of which it is an embodiment. 

Tradition of the Order of St. Clare as Token

A Token points us beyond itself but it is an altogether accidental representation that does  not embody what it represents.

We were all nourished by the talks and find it enriching our study of St. Clare of Assisi and our roots.

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