God in the Balance; Loving Dark and Light

Regardless of our religion -- whether we are Catholics or Evangelicals or Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist -- the spiritual life challenges us to find balance. One of the reasons I was attracted to the Rule of Saint Benedict was because in ora et labora there is a prescription for balance. In the recitation of the Divine Office, we not only sanctify our time but we also set a pace for the whole day of prayer; work; prayer; work until -- if we are good Benedictines (and I am not one) it all flows … [Read more...]

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They’re running out of white veils, at Summit!

When my husband and I had a chance to attend a First Profession at the Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary, in Summit, we saw that the professing nun, Sister Mary Magdalene was radiant with joy, but one impression that remained with me for a long time after was her small but constant smile of delight.Image mine - ESTo me it seemed eloquent of the intimacy of this moment of espousal to Christ. The declaration of vows is public, and yet it is all interior, as well. As I wrote, … [Read more...]

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Benedict’s hope lies in the reach of a monk’s prayers…UPDATES

(Subiaco Cave, where St. Benedict of Nursia lived)My piece at First Things this week looks at the point and the lesson behind Pope Benedict's embrace of monasticism over his remaining time on the papal throne:The failure is heard in the shrieks of pain, ignorance, and hatred directed at the Church throughout the chambers of mainstream and social media; it is seen in the faithful priests and laypeople who read one awful headline after another and continue on, but with increasingly … [Read more...]

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Order Monastery Candy, Cremes and Wreaths Soon!

I know, I know, I keep saying I'm going to create my annual "Christmas Gift Ideas" post but Sandy has slowed me down a little. I promise to have that for you this weekend (and I have some great stuff to recommend!) but a heads up here, for those of you planning to buy from Monastics -- most of them take their orders now and then ship near Christmas so they can pray their way through Advent without a lot of noise, so its best to order these things in nearly November:The chocolate-covered … [Read more...]

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Heaven-Stormers Unafraid of Storm Sandy!

As a side note, I love that for monastics, the take on big storms is so very different. A few years ago, the Passionist nuns were blacked out for weeks thanks to an ice storm yet they maintained good humor. Last year the Dominincan Nuns in Summit New Jersey were left without heat and shivering together. This year, having just discovered that another big storm is headed their way, they display typical aplomb:". . .by unanimous consensus we decided that if the power does go out we’re eating t … [Read more...]

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General Hospital Actor and the Monks of Mt. Athos – UPDATED

I have had more than one email asking me to follow up yesterdays "Nun News Roundup" with a similar post for the men. I am working on it, I promise, but for today, let's content ourselves with this very interesting piece by Tony Rossi:It’s not that unusual for an actor to thank God when winning an award. It was a first, however, when Jonathan Jackson thanked “the monks of Mount Athos for ceaselessly praying for the life of the world” while accepting his fifth Daytime Emmy for his role as Luck … [Read more...]

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“A House of Prayer; a Temple of Intercession”

Would to God that . . . all men could know how very easy it would be for them to arrive at a high degree of sanctity. They would only have to fulfill the simple duties of Christianity and of their state of life; to embrace with submission the crosses belonging to that state, and to submit with faith and love to the designs of Providence in all those things that have to be done or suffered. . . This is the spirituality of all ages and of every state." --Father Jean Pierre de Caussade, … [Read more...]

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A Hermitage in Your Future?

My husband thinks this will be me, one day:The hermitage isn't what you'd expect: a small home in a quiet neighborhood of Essex, Maryland, that was originally built as a one-room fishing shack 100 years ago. But then, the hermit who lives there isn't what you'd expect, either. Mary Zimmerer, now Sr. Maria Veronica of the Holy Face, is a bubbly widow who discerned a call to the contemplative life after her husband passed away five years ago. Having made a public profession of vows last … [Read more...]

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Gorgeous Chant

I once read a comment by Lady Abbess Benedict Duss, OSB to the effect that the chant in Latin was the most effective and most complete and transcendent prayer of praise outside of the mass. I don't doubt it. … [Read more...]

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Nun Humor on Fasting, More – UPDATED

By a Benedictine with a sense of humor.Benedictines -- at least the "old school" ones -- are bound by their vow of poverty to waste nothing, even unto making a little pile of their breadcrumbs and such from each meal and consuming it. So, for them every crumb does count...especially in Lent, when the fasting is (again, for "old school" Benedictines and more traditionally-minded monastics) fairly regimented.In his Holy Rule, Benedict writes:The life of a monk ought to be a continuous Lent. … [Read more...]

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