Ora et Labora

Ora et Labora – this is the well-known motto of St. Benedict. Prayer and Work.  That’s the foundation of monastic life, not just for Benedictines but for all of us.  Our order, which is dedicated to Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament, is associated with prayer. In fact, many people think praying is the only thing we do.  But religious life requires work as well.  Here are a few snapshots of how we labored today on this feast of St. Benedict.

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Before we knew it, our Friday had turned into yard day.   Over at Our Lady of the Atonement they’re in the midst of clearing away a lot of limestone to make ready for their new high school.  What used to be a driveway and a beautiful area in front of the church now looks like a war zone, as you can see behind Sr. Grace Marie.  Father said the brick pavers weren’t needed anymore, so we couldn’t pass up the opportunity for free stuff. While Sr. Mary Peter fired up the lawn mower,  we, armed with our trusty crowbar, went over to collect the free bricks before it got too hot, .  As for what we’re going to do with all those bricks, well, I think we should save that project for winter…

 

Gifts and fruits and veggies

DSC00868Today I picked the first tomato from our garden!  As our beloved Mother Angelica taught us, before we eat it, we always take the first fruit and place it before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, to thank Him for blessing our garden and making it grow. Continue reading

Monday, multiplied

Christ's Entry into Jerusalem by Hippolyte Flandrin c. 1842The holiest week of the entire year began yesterday with Palm Sunday.  We are drawing ever closer to the consummation of Lent, actually of the whole liturgical year: The Paschal Mystery of Our Lord’s Passion, Death and Resurrection.  (Click here for Pope Francis’ Palm Sunday homily.)  The Palm Sunday Mass here at Our Lady of the Atonement was solemn, beautiful,  and filled with incense and beautiful music.  It was an incredible way to begin  our Holy Week journey to Calvary.

So what happens between now and Holy Thursday? Monday and Tuesday of Holy Week never seem to get much attention.  All the action begins on Sunday, and then we often  don’t hear much again until the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper.  What does Monday of Holy Week look like?  I’ll tell you, because this is where we leave the somber beauty of Holy Week behind and enter the nitty-gritty realities of daily life:  It looks like a typical Monday, MULTIPLIED.  What do we mean by that?

 

The crowning glory of it all, though, of which we, regrettably, do not have a photo, was when I picked our dog, Mia, up so she could pass over the puddles rather than through them, and in her excitement at going on a car ride (clearly this was before she heard anything about vets and rectal thermometers) she squirmed right out of my arms and fell.  Luckily for the dog, her fall was cushioned by an unexpected object.  Unfortunately for Sr. Grace Marie, she was the object.  She had bent down to pick up an envelope before opening the door and Mia fell right on her neck.  Yeah, her neck.  Right where she has those titanium plates. Ouch.

So, if that was Monday of Holy Week I can only imagine what Tuesday and Wednesday will be like.  Actually, I’d rather not think about it…

Come see us at High’s Cafe

High's Cafe and Store, Comfort, TX

We’re going to be at High’s Cafe and Store this Saturday, April 5th, with lots of Nonnavita Soap!  Please come and visit with us, sample some soap, and enjoy a nice lunch.  This event is in conjunction with the Comfort Fruhlingsfest, a German celebration of spring.  Come and enjoy live music, arts and crafts in the Comfort Historic District from 10am to 3pm.  Can’t wait to see you there!

Nonnavita Soap

God’s gift to the Church

As many Americans looked to Punxsutawney Phil today to find out if we must  endure another six weeks of winter (by the way, sorry to everyone who lives up north, but we nuns were praying for that – our habits really make us love cold weather), we religious were looking to Pope Francis, eager to hear his message on this World Day of Consecrated Life.  In his homily today, Pope Francis said the episode depicted in today’s Gospel (for the Feast of the Presentation) “constitutes an icon of the gift of their life made by those who, by a gift of God, assume the traits of Jesus as virgin, poor and obedient.”

Consecrated religious are very much in the mind of Pope Francis, he himself being a Jesuit.  Last November he visited a contemplative monastery and spent time with the nuns.  More recently, the media was abuzz when the Pope called a convent to wish the sisters a Continue reading

The end is nigh!

Video

The end is nigh! That’s right, in just a few hours, the end of 2013 will be upon us, and a new year will begin.

Our community tradition has been to close the year by chanting two of the penitential psalms.  After Mass on December 31st we chant the Miserere (Psalm 50) and the De Profundis (Psalm 129), in reparation for the sins of the past year.  Then after Mass on January 1st, we chant the Te Deum, in thanksgiving to God for the blessings and hope of the new year.

It has also been our tradition to ring in the new year with an 11pm Mass for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.  There is no better way to close out the old year and welcome the new than by offering God the best we can give him, the highest prayer and most perfect form of worship.  For many of us, this was quite a change from the usual way to celebrate New Year’s Eve.  Most memorable of all are the times when the Consecration coincided with the midnight bell chime.  While so many were focused on watching the big ball in Times Square drop, God, who is outside of time, was coming to us silently and humbly under the form of Bread and Wine, even as the old year closed and the new one began.  Either Fr. Joseph was an expert with timing, or God arranged that blessing perfectly.  Whichever it was, we are grateful!

Below are some videos of Psalm 50 and Psalm 129, sung most beautifully by the choir of King’s College.