Purifying Our Spirit

 

Catherine of Cleves distributing almsWhat the Christian should be doing at all times should be done now with greater care and devotion, so that the Lenten fast enjoined by the apostles may be fulfilled, not simply by abstinence from food but above all by the renunciation of sin

-Pope St. Leo the Great

The saints said it best, and today’s second reading from the Office of Readings fits in perfectly with what we talked about yesterday on A Good Habit.  Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are what the Church asks us to do during Lent.  Actually, we are called to do  this always, but we intensify our practice during Lent as we work to detach from sin in our lives.  Being God-centered (prayer), and other-oriented (almsgiving), as well as mortifying our appetites (fasting) helps us to detach from our vices, addictions and sinful habits and attach to our Loving Redeemer.

But you don’t have to take our word for it, you can listen to what Pope St. Leo the Great had to say about it:

Dear friends, at every moment the earth is full of the mercy of God, and nature itself is a lesson for all the faithful in the worship of God. The heavens, the sea and all that is Continue reading

Gifts from The Father

Obilman_Adoration_of_the_Magi
And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.  They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother.  They prostrated themselves and did him homage.  Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Today the Magi bow before the Christ Child, offering their gifts to The Gift of God the Father:  Jesus.  For us, this Christmas has been filled with gifts from the Father.  The most unexpected surprise was the invitation from Mother Dolores Marie to spend Christmas with our sisters in Alabama!  It was a wonderful way to welcome Our Savior, back at our old home.  It had been several years since our last trip to Our Lady of the Angels, so it was a grace-filled time seeing Mother Angelica and catching up with all our sisters, as well as meeting the newer members of the community.  We had hoped for a cold Christmas, but we didn’t get one.  We did, however, get lots of rain. Thankfully, all was fine at the monastery, and our prayers were with the many people who suffered from flooding and tornadoes on Christmas day.

Since being in San Antonio on foundation we have been keeping our monastic Christmas traditions, but it was so beautiful to see them in their proper setting in the choir chapel.  Here Rev. Mother Dolores Marie reads the Gospel of the Nativity at the Office of Readings, flanked by novices bearing candles.IMG_6953

On the altar is an old statue of the Infant Jesus, with a relic of the Crib of Our Lord.  Before beginning the Office of Readings each of us venerates the relic and then Rev. Mother blesses the community with it.  This is one of the sweetest traditions at the monastery.IMG_7020

Another great gift which our Lord gave us was walking through the Holy Door as part of the Year of Mercy inaugurated by Pope Francis.  Bishop Baker gave the huge bronze doors, which welcome visitors to the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, the special designation of being Holy Doors, which means that you can gain the plenary indulgence as part of the Year of Mercy when you pass through them. But he also designated the chapel doors on the cloister side as well, so we were able to gain our first Jubilee Year indulgence at the monastery. [Click here to learn more about the meaning of the Holy Door, and how to gain a plenary indulgence as part of the Jubilee Year of Mercy.]

IMG_7028-2On that day, the Holy Door will become a Door of Mercy through which anyone who enters will experience the love of God who consoles, pardons, and instills hope.

– Pope Francis

As most of us prepare to go back to the monotony of our daily routine after the Christmas holidays, let’s not forget that the Father is full of surprises, and He likes to catch us unawares with a gift – sometimes large, sometimes small – that reminds us of His infinite Love for us.  To reunite His lost children with Himself, He gave us His Son.  Today we thank Him, too, for the surprise gift of a family reunion He gave us for Christmas.

Need We Say More – Fourth Sunday of Advent

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On this Fourth Sunday of Advent, we bring you the final installment of our Need We Say More series, the second reading from today’s Office of Readings:  an excerpt from a commentary of St. Luke’s Gospel by St. Bede.

Bede, who died in the eighth century, was a historian and Doctor of the Church. One of the most learned men of his time, he wrote many commentaries on scripture, though he is most famous for the Ecclesiastical History of the English People.

At age seven his family gave him into the care of a nearby monastery, governed by the abbot St. Benedict Biscop.  He himself says, “From that time I have spent the whole of my life within that monastery, devoting all my pains to the study of the Scriptures, and amid the observance of monastic discipline and the daily charge of singing in the Church, it has been ever my delight to learn or teach or write.”

His life is an example of the incredible contribution to learning, culture, and the preservation of history to which the monks of his time devoted their lives.

Please click on the image below to listen to a short reading from a commentary on St. Luke’s Gospel by St. Bede, courtesy of Sr. Grace Marie.

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O Radix Jesse (Dec 19)

The O Antiphon for Dec 19 sung by the Cantarte Regensburg.

O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum, super quem continebunt reges os suum, quem Gentes deprecabuntur: veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare.

O Root of Jesse, Who dost stand for an ensign of the people, before Whom kings shall keep silence, and unto Whom the Gentiles shall make their supplication: come to deliver us, and tarry not.

A meditation on the antiphon by Fr. Roger Landry

O Radix Jesse: “O Flower of Jesse’s stem, you have been raised up as a sign for all peoples; kings stand silent in your presence; the nations bow down in worship before you. Come, let nothing keep you from coming to our aid.” Isaiah had prophesied, “But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom.” (11:1), and On that day, the root of Jesse, set up as a signal for the nations, the Gentiles shall seek out, for his dwelling shall be glorious.” (11:10). Remember also that Jesse was the father of King David, and Micah had prophesied that the Messiah would be of the house and lineage of David and be born in David’s city, Bethlehem (Micah 5:1).

Isaiah prophesied a restoration of David’s throne — a new branch budding out of the old root. Christ is the root of Jesse in a two-fold sense: he is the descendant of David, who was the youngest son of Jesse, and he inherited the royal throne. The angel foretold to Mary, “The Lord God will give him the throne of David his father. He will rule over the house of Jacob forever and his reign will be without end” (Luke 1:32-33). Our hearts more and more urgently cry out for God’s reign to extend over all humanity: “Come, save us, and do not delay”.

Isaiah 52:13, 15; 53:2: “See, my servant shall prosper…So shall he startle many nations, because of him kings shall stand speechless. …He grew up like a sapling before him, like a shoot”.

Isaiah 11:10 On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious.

Rom. 15:12 and again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse shall come, the one who rises to rule the Gentiles; in him the Gentiles shall hope.”

Rev. 5:5 Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”

The above meditation was originally posted here.

O Adonai (Dec 18)

The O Antiphon for Dec 18 sung by the Cantarte Regensburg.

O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel, qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti, et ei in Sina legem dedisti: veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.

O Adonai, and Leader of the house of Israel, Who didst appear to Moses in the flame of the burning bush, and didst give unto him the Law on Sinai: come and with an outstretched arm redeem us.

 

O Sapientia (Dec 17)

 

Sorry, we’re a day late on this one….

The O Antiphon for December 17th sung by the Cantarte Regensburg.

O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti, attingens a fine usque ad finem, fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia: veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.

O Wisdom, Who didst come out of the mouth of the Most High, reaching from end to end and ordering all things mightily and sweetly: come and teach us the way of prudence.

Need We Say More – Third Sunday of Advent

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On this third Sunday of Advent, we continue our Need We Say More series, bringing you the second reading from today’s Office of Readings:  an excerpt from a fourth century sermon given by St. Augustine of Hippo.  He probably holds the title of most frequent contributor to the Office, as it seems we are always reading something from his sermons or his Biblical commentary.

Please click on the image below to listen to a short reading from a sermon by St. Augustine, courtesy of Sr. Grace Marie.

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Originally posted December 15, 2013