Monastery Bells

Monastery Bells

Friday, July 3, 2015

Highest Dignity

I mean that as long as the heir is not of age, he is no different from a slave, although he is the owner of everything,

but he is under the supervision of guardians and administrators until the date set by his father.

In the same way we also, when we were not of age, were enslaved to the elemental powers of the world.

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,

to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption

As proof that you are children, God sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out,  "Abba, Father!"

So, you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.

Galatians 4:1-6

Made from Woman, Jesus really became a man in the womb of a woman.  His eternal generation--His Divinity--His pre-existence as the Word, was mysteriously begotten, not made, by the Father, was "made" of the Virgin Mary.  Made of woman, who was given the highest dignity, into a true man. 

My Lectio Divina perhaps today is a bit skewed by watching the show, Harry Potter.  I have watched episodes 1-3 now.  The books have been out for a long time, and I bought them for my children when they were younger, before folks called them Satanic.  I thought it was time to watch them.  I find them delightful, good verses evil, and good always conquers.  Evil is not given to prosper.  

Harry Potter, whose parents had died, was given under the guardianship of some not so nice folk, who made his life Hell, and gave no love or affection.  It reminded me severely of my own childhood, where there was no affection no love, only painful memories, "enslaved to the elemental powers of the world."  

Harry Potter was made into a slave, to serve the family, and given the lowest dignity.  

In the third Harry Potter movie, Harry was to fight the dementors, and His teacher was teaching him how to use his wand to ward off the evil creatures. Here is the conversation:

Harry: Professor, why do the dementors affect me so? More than anyone else, I mean? 
Professor Lupin: Listen, dementors are among the foulest creatures to walk this earth. They feed on every good feeling, every happy memory until a person is left with nothing but his worst experiences. The dementors affect you more than others because there are true horrors in your past, horrors your classmates can scarcely imagine. You are not weak, Harry. You have nothing to be ashamed of. 
Harry: I'm scared, Professor. 
Professor Lupin: Well, I'd consider you a fool if you weren't. 

The way the Professor taught Harry to ward off the demeanors was to think of a good memory in his mind, think of the time when he was the happiest.  A tough task for one who had very few happy memories.  

I thought of the evil demons who constantly try to fill our minds with nothing but our bad experiences, stealing our hope, and our reasons to continue to live.  That would be a good description of Hell, consumed with all our worst memories, to play over and over again through all eternity.  The only way to overcome those bad memories, was to think of the good memories.  I am beginning to think the writer of the Harry Potter stories is brilliant.  

I thought of one of my happiest moments just recently, when going to Mass with my five-year-old grandchild, standing, well, I have a tendency to rock back and forth, and have been severely mocked by my fellow church folk because of that--I sit in the back.  My little grand-child, reached up, took hold of my hand and rocked with me.  That child is a little saint!  Now that is an awesome memory.  I could fight off thousands of demeanors with that most lovely memory!

"But, when the fullness of time had come..."  God came into the world, as a man, to save us from our slavery--He, God adopted us as His own.  We are no longer slaves, but heirs.  And when our fullness of time will come, after having to suffer under the guardianship of worldly administrators, we will finally come into our inheritance, full heirs of the Kingdom of God--with the highest dignity

As proof we are His children, our hearts cry out, "Abba Father!"

Friday, June 26, 2015

What Did They Win?

Gay marriage is legal in all of the United States says the highest court of law.  So, what did they win?

Were not gay folk able to love each other before gay marriage, take walks on the beach, hold hands, live together, create a life together, adopt children?  If they wanted it legal, what prevented them from filing a paper with the court to make their union binding for a lifetime--nothing.  And what about the wedding--what most folk in todays world think is the most important--A PARTY!  Were they not free to have the biggest party, to celebrate their love, that they could afford and invite who ever they chose?  And buy the tallest cake--courts mandated that bakers MUST bake their cakes--to the exclusion of other's religious freedoms.  So, what did they win?

Are they even capable of living a sacrament under God?  When a man and women marry, they do so under the eyes of God--they bring God into the union.  That's what marriage is, and has been almost since the beginning of time!   

Why did we need to change the meaning of marriage from one man and one woman, binding themselves together in order to raise a family?  To include two men, or two women.  Why did they need that?  What were they lacking?  

No one denied them their love, no one denied them being together to love the way they wanted to love.  We did however, deny them the sacrament.  Because, in the eyes of God--Marriage is for one man and one woman.  So, what did they win?  Is God Himself going to join with them in a union, just because it's called marriage--I think NOT!  They can call it whatever they want--there still is NO sacrament.  They won nothing. 

Under the test, a whole lot of Christians denied the truth given to us by our Lord, said they KNEW better than God, and agreed with evil.  And for what?  What did the Christians gain, or lose, for God, or man?  What happened to FEAR OF THE LORD!? 

"And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, "Through the number of the Israelites were like the sand of the sea, only a remnant will be saved;

for decisively and quickly will the Lord execute sentence upon the earth."  ---Romans 9:27

Friday, June 12, 2015

Creation Set Free

"For creation awaits with eager expectation the revelation of the children of God:  for creation was made subject to futility, not of its own accord

But because of the one who subjected it, in hope that creation itself would be set free from slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God."  Romans 8:19-21

Oh, the stink was horrible!  Driving to church along the mountain road.  An animal, no doubt hit by a car, dead in the middle of the road.  This was the second day, the dead body lay in decay.  "Why don't the people who live close by call animal services and have it dragged away?"  


One day, creation will be "set free" from the slavery of corruption.  A dog will no longer die and lay in decay, a rose bush will no longer need to be trimmed--the dead branches and dead flowers will not be swept away.  No longer will created things fall into futility.  

Last evening, home alone, I heard footsteps upstairs--no one was home.  I began to fear--was someone in the home???  I called out, to let them know I was here, couldn't be, the dogs would have heard them already and been barking--they were quiet.  Nope, just my imagination.  But there was the fear, and what exactly did I fear?

Pain, suffering, death!  My life changing?  Why could I not be like my hero's--the "unshakeable" saints, like St. Anthony of Egypt.  He was visited by demons and with great boldness said, "If you are able, and have received power against me, delay not to attack; but if you are unable, why trouble me in vain?  For faith in our Lord is a seal and a wall of safety to us."

Instead, I am more like a delicate flower in the wind, whose petals are blown away by the slightest breeze.  Changeable with the circumstances.  

And I am going to die, it is the fate of every human being.  My body will change and deteriorate and fall into death.   No matter how many granola bars I consume, or how many laps I run at the gym.  My skin will sag, and my hair grow thin, I will age, and then I will die.   Any beauty that I might have once had will fade away, and why???  Original Sin, a human choice, brought the world the rage of violence, traumas, abandonment by those we love and loneliness, cut off like the rose that once bloomed, and now lays dead, its life futile now, rots away as if it were nothing.  

My little grandson, who is five, said to me one day, "if we die, we will just go to Heaven."  If we die, we will just go to Heaven...hmmm...I suppose it's time for Grandma to teach him about Purgatory and Hell.  

But, he believes we will go to Heaven--to be with the One Who is Unchangeable   And this is the realization of the greatest of Saints, Saint Gertrude the Great; "a Pax vobiscum is breathed into the soul in every revelation and in every action of that greatest of Saints.  Her strength is the calm, beautiful strength of peace; for perfect peace alone can exist where the soul is stayed upon the Unchangeable, and thus can no longer be shaken by the transitory blasts which disturb the less perfect." 

Original sin has left man to contend with the inclination to allow himself to be overwhelmed by disordered passions of the flesh.  We, in our own power, live according to the flesh.  But, even in our weaknesses, and changeability we have the overwhelming desires to live a supernatural life, and hide ourselves away from the things of the flesh that bring death and decay.  We want God!  

My priest has the most delightful saying, "Stay in a State of Grace."   That's the way to Heaven.  But, no, there is MORE.  And it's not in doing pious practices like feeding the poor, serving on Parish Councils, or praying many devotional prayers.  It's what I taught third graders on my first day of teaching Catechism classes--the most important way to Heaven is given as a free gift--it's the source of the Supernatural life, the eternal life that never falls into futility, and that gift is "Sanctifying Grace."  

And there is only ONE means to attain Sanctifying Grace, that is in doing the Will of God.  Every thought you think, every move you make, every breath you take, needs to be according to what God is asking you in the moment--in "listening" to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit.  Mother Angelica of EWTN tells us: "Do the Will of God in the present moment."  And that is the only way for Creation to be set free.  

Well, THAT was my Letico Divina for today :)  Thank you God, for your Word. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Peonies and Puppies


Nothing makes me more happy than hiking with the dogs!  Perfect temperatures, and cool streams.

Coming home from our hike--My peonies are blooming!  God was good to me this year--He let them bloom after Memorial day.  If they bloom on Memorial day, Jim cuts them all down, and brings them to his parent's grave!  They only bloom once per year, for such a short time--they are one of my favorites.  This year, Jim bought mums for the grave, the peonies are MINE!!!  Thank you Jesus :)  Love them!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Miracle at Saint James The Just

This morning eating a left-over waffle, from when a friend came over for breakfast this past Sunday--I also found two small sausages, happy for the feast, I prayed a prayer of thanks to God for this food.  But, I also had to pray a prayer of thanks for letting my husband live.  Lord, did I truly ever thank you for that blessing?  

On Father's Day, my husband was shot, at church during Mass.  I saw the would-be killer enter the church, sternly holding my daughter's hand, as if he were forcing her along.  "What was going on?" I thought, and "where is my grandson?"  I mouthed the words to her, "Where's Philip."  She simply shook her head and looked down.  It became evident what they were doing there, when he walked up behind my husband, lifted up his shirt, pulled out a large silver gun from the waistband of his pants, and proceeded to shoot my husband, execution style, in the back of the head.  

I looked at him--eye to eye--as he hesitated--he seemed confused as he moved the gun and pointed it at my chest.  I knew that I would be shot next, and SCREAMED, then instinctively ducked, there was no other escape, I was between people and the church pew.  In my mind, hunched over, I thought--"did he shoot me?"  I could not feel any pain, "did I hear another shot?"  "What was happening?" 

Not hearing any more shots, I stood up to find my husband standing.  I just witnessed him being shot in the back of the head, and he was standing?  They say in trauma's everything happens in slow motion--it was true--and my mind was in shock, attempting to make sense of what was happening.  I seemed to be standing there for such a long time trying to process that my husband was not dead yet, but would be dead in moments.  My initial thought was, "Tara, it will be okay, he will die, but he is in a State of Grace, he came to earth to do what God wanted of him, he will go to Heaven, maybe with time in Purgatory--but he will go to heaven."  I felt myself, wanting to "let go."  "Tara, STAY here," I commanded myself, "you are in charge--you have to take charge!" 

"Jim, you've been shot, you need to sit down," I said to him.  Later Jim said he knew he was shot, and did not know what to do, but felt himself making a mess, and did not want to make the bloody mess on the pew.  As he sat down, I told him to lay down.  He started chocking on his blood in his mouth.  "Roll to your side!"  Blood and teeth poured out of his mouth all over the floor.  Then, I saw the entry wound--not in the back of his head.  Just below his ear--"He has a chance!" "He is coherent, answering my questions!"  The exit wound--was through his mouth.  

I wondered at what to do next:  "Call 9-1-1, CALL 9-1-1," I kept shouting, until a friend of mine walked over and said, we did Tara, we called them!  "Okay, help is on the way!"  Women surrounded Jim, and they all began to pray, "Hail Mary, Full of Grace, Pray for us..."  I felt hope.  

Father Erik came over to Jim, visibly shaken from having his friend shot in church.  He said, "I can't remember the words," and made the sign of our Lord as he gave Jim an Apostolic pardon."  I was going into shock and I could hardly focus.  

The paramedics and police came so quickly!  Jim helped them when they wanted him to get on the stretcher.  One of the police officers, told me I could ride in the ambulance, and told me to go wash my hands that were covered in blood.  "No, it's his blood!"  I said, holding my hands up to look at them.   She looked at me very strangely, and my rational self said, "Tara, go wash your hands, he is not going to die."  "Okay,"  So, she walked me into the rest room, and I washed the blood off my hands.

As I left the building, Father Erik said that the Mass would continue--they would all stay and PRAY for Jim, and they did.  My heroic priest, who so shaken himself--knew how important--at this moment in time--it was to pray.  He took care of God's people.  When I think of that today, I am moved to tears at the thought of all the good folks, in their own fear and shock--praying for my Jim.  

At the hospital, they immediately  paralyzed Jim with medication, and intubated him, so that the swelling in his mouth did not occlude  his airway.  They took pictures, called in a neurologist--OH, NO!  is all I could think--what sort of brain damage--no.  The neurologist walked in, "Tara he said, I am going home, as I am not needed here."  "What?" " There is absolutely no involvement with his brain or brain stem--there is nothing for me to do here."  My heart leapt for joy--Sweet, sweet words!   "I am turning over the work to the oral surgeon."  

The oral surgeon said, that the biggest threat was that Jim's tongue was blown into a thousand pieces--that will be the problem he said. If he could not put the highly vascular tongue back together again, Jim could end up bleeding to death.  At, this point, I had gone into an odd state of numb.  Folks were talking to me, asking me questions, I was answering them--and listening, but I was somewhere else.  As if I had crawled up into a "safe" spot in my being, watching myself, and I am not sure that I am still not up there. 

Today, almost two years later.  Jim has a bunch of implants in his mouth--he has teeth again!  On the x-ray, you can still see fragments of metal dispersed throughout his gums, and the rest of the bullet, a big chunk was removed during one of the implant placements.  Jim talks with a bit of a lisp, as his tongue is quite a bit larger than it was, with all the scar tissue.  But he is healthy.

The miracle at Saint James was this:  At the moment of the shooting, at the very exact moment the gun was fired--Jim turned his head.  "Why did you turn your head?" just then?--the question he was often asked.  "I don't know," was his answer.   If he would not have turned his head, at that exact moment--he would have been murdered.  And because he turned his head--it confused the killer, Jim did not drop as the killer expected, so the killer hesitated before he shot myself, another life saved by the mere act of turning the head.  

The bullet missed brain parts, the trajectory straight along side the ear canal--causing a bit of swelling--but no damage to the ear, no hearing loss.  Teeth, bone and gums, blown away,  slowly, over time, replaceable.    

it was a miracle!

I firmly believe in miracles.  I hear stories of them everyday.  Folk travel to far off lands at great expense to visit places where saints have had miracles occur--they want to stand or sit in the very spot where the miracles occur.  HA!  All I have to do is go to Saint James and sit on the back pew.  And of course the greatest miracle of all is in every Catholic Church, bread and wine are transformed into the true body and blood of Christ. 

So, now, two years later, the picture on this post was taken two years ago, only one month before our attempted assassination, in this church,  who would have guessed or known our fate.  God, and His Angels.  Who would have know two years later, after the shooting,  I would sit here in my kitchen and eat my waffles, all nicely crisped in the toaster, melted butter and syrup, I marvel at the miracle--God gave to me!  My life, my husband's life.  Why?  

Why does God give the miracle of life to anyone?  Because it is His Will.  It was someone else's will that Jim and I die that day--satan wants nothing more for us, than to be dead, lying in a pool of blood.  

My friend, Joyce, who recently died of cancer, left her large very sad family behind.  And, I wonder?  Lord?  Why not take me, sitting here all plumpishly fat eating waffles--I have nothing to offer the world, while this lovely saint, who is so needed by her family--why was it Your Will to allow her to die?     

I am sure on the Cross, not too many folk could understand any good in the death of our Lord.    But it is in tragedy God most shows His love.  Mentally, I am not sure that I would have been able to care for a half-brain dead husband, or worse to have him die.  God knows how weak I am, like the Princess and the Pea, and instead He gave me all I could handle, and even still lets me have some waffles.  Thank you Lord, Have I forgotten to say Thank You Lord!?  Thank you, for Your Will for me.  

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Our Lady of Fatima, Pray For Us, Forever!

When Jim and I were in Israel, we renewed our Wedding Vows in Cana of Galilee.   Guess who attended our wedding!?  (This, was just before the shooting).  Our Lady of Fatima, PRAY for us, Forever!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Corgi Stella and Cake

 Oh, Fire, hmmmm....but I'm a Corgi, and it's CAKE!!!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Saint Joseph the Worker

Joseph, quiet, got up in the morning, did his work, took care of his family, he did what our Lord asked, and went to bed.

Think of Mary

May, the month of our Blessed Mother Mary!  This was on my beautiful calendar today.  Mary!

O Salutaris Hostia

This morning at Mass, I became lightheaded and dizzy, a reaction to a new medication.  I was having a difficult time staying conscious.  By shear force of will, I made my way down to receive my Lord, and then sat on the front row--for fear I would not make it back to where I was originally sitting.

After Mass, just before Adoration, my mind was in a state just before consciousness, and unconsciousness.   And my beloved priest sang this song.  Sitting directly behind him, on the front row, I was delighted that his voice was the only one I heard, it had such a lovely familiarity to the sound, I felt like a little baby being held in her mother's arms, safe and peaceful.  I think it was the most beautiful song I have ever heard.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Happy Birthday Stella!!!

This is my STELLA!  She is now seven years old.  When I first got her from the breeder, I asked St. Joseph to watch over her--and he has.  Thank you St. Joseph.  Folks talk about their "heart" dog--Stella is my "heart" dog.  She is the very best dog EVER.  Smart, happy, obedient, and good with kids.  She is just awesomeness!  How blessed I am to have had her with me for the last seven years.  Happy Birthday Stella, and may we have many, many more years together!

Oh, and your sister Agnes, says Happy Birthday too!  She loves having a big sister to torment.

Basil Sprouts

Overnight, look what came up, my "Organic" Basil seeds have sprouted.  Yum, I know it's supposed to be one of the healthiest foods on the planet--but I just like Basil because it tastes so good.

Ex-Muslim Mona Walter Left Islam After Reading the Quran

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Mental Balance

If someone wants to have mental balance, equilibrium of the nerves, and wisdom, let him read The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola.
"Demons sometimes harassed St. Ignatius, but he wasn’t afraid of them; in fact, they feared him. During his lifetime, demons who possessed people would sometimes cry out at the mention of his name, saying, “Ignatius is my greatest enemy!” After the saint’s death, his followers found that pictures or relics of him were effective in exorcising the possessed."

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

"The Rose".... Don Williams (Rare Recording).wmv

I say love, it is a flower,
And you, it's only seed.

The Rose

Some say love it is a river
That drowns the tender reed
Some say love it is a razor
That leaves your soul to bleed
Some say love it is a hunger
An endless aching need
I say love it is a flower
And you it's only seed
It's the heart afraid of breaking
That never learns to dance
It's the dream afraid of waking
That never takes the chance
It's the one who won't be taken
Who cannot seem to give
And the soul afraid of dyin'
That never learns to live
When the night has been too lonely
And the road has been too long
And you think that love is only
For the lucky and the strong
Just remember in the winter
Far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed that with the sun's love
In the spring becomes the rose

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Tara's Big Adventure

It has been said, that Heaven will be one big adventure after another--well, I started my Heaven on Earth by taking an adventure away from home to Mount Angel Abbey in Oregon.  

My mission: To become an Oblate of the Benedictine Monastery.  

Where to begin?  The Attraction, to Saint Benedict.  The first Saint I read about after converting the the Catholic Church in 2002.  I remember the word: "LISTEN" and ever since I read the book, thought of what St. Benedict said--to "hear" the word of God, you had to listen!  At Mass, I began to very carefully focus on listening to the word of God.

I did not have much experience with the Bible, and when I read the story of St. Elijah--and how he heard the voice of God, in the cave on the mountain--I was enthralled.  How important it is to LISTEN.  So, it was in listening to my heart, that I knew there was more for me.  Hearing about Benedictine Oblates, they had a Monastery--right here in Ogden--I wanted to JOIN!  But on closer examination, they were a bit too "worldly" for my conservative nature.  So my friend and priest, suggested I join the Carmelites--HA, very convenient since they had a third-order right here in Ogden at my parish.

Time went by, and I loved the Carmelites saints, the study, but there was the nagging in my heart--I was listening.  I was not a Carmelite.  "But, you love St. Elijah," I told myself,  "you are a contemplative--no doubt about that," but the nagging in my heart… And there are no Benedictine orders here since then, the women Benedictines moved out of the area.

Then, searching the internet, I found exactly what I was looking for--Mount Angel Abbey in Oregon--not to far from here.  

And so off on my Adventure!

I have to admit, traveling alone--is a bit scary--but, I could overcome that in order to attain my mission!  After all, was this not the Will of God?--He would be with me the entire time--FEAR NOT!  

The first day:  Driving to the airport early, arriving in Oregon, getting my car to rent, and programing my iPhone with Google Maps--to lead my way.   Ooops, for some reason???  I accidentally put in an alternate route, and ended driving way out of the way through farmers fields--well, I had a full tank of gas, and the countryside was beautiful.  My iPhone battery was depleted, and I had to stop at a gas station to buy a charging device to charge my phone--Google maps takes a good amount of energy.  

Finally, after what seemed like a very long time, I arrived at my destination, Mount Angel Abbey!  

The GIANT pine trees seemed to envelop me as I drove through them--like a gently welcoming caress.  The fresh air smelled full of pine.  

The pathway to the Monastery, God surrounding me with His created beauty.
Then…I arrived…and started to cry.  Pure joy, THE BELLS, were ringing--the bells were ringing!!!  Monastery bells are like the voice of God to the Monk, he is to drop whatever he is doing, and respond--the bells are as the voice of God himself--calling one to prayer!  And my Lord, was calling me.  If I had not accidentally programed my "alternative" route, and not stopped to buy a phone charging adaptor, I would have arrived an hour earlier--the bells would not be ringing at the very moment I arrived… Not able to call my husband, because of being able to speak and cry at the same time, I texted my friend, "The Bells are ringing!"  Then before they were finished called my husband, so he could hear them too.  He was un-impressed, it reminded me of the great joy many years ago, when I called him to express my joy at hearing my child's heart beat for the first time, ever, overwhelmed, I pulled off to the side of the road--at a pay phone, and was crying with joy, and said, "I heard the heartbeat, I heart the heartbeat."  He was like, okay, and you called why?  LOL!  Feeling sort of silly, I wondered, if I had gone to a Monster Truck Road Rally, would he have been very much more impressed, if I told him of the joy of hearing the engines rumble?  
Since dinner would not be until later, instead of going into the Monastery, I went to the town of Mount Angel to search for food.  If my husband knew that I had not eaten breakfast--well--I did have orange juice and courtesy cookies on the plane--he would have scolded me.  I thought of going to this place first, I thought it said "Frank and Stella," but then noticed it was Frank and Stein.  

Right across the street was this restaurant, The Glockenspeil, that had the most excellent German Food EVER!  Started my meal with butternut squash soup--man, I wish I had their recipe! 

After lunch, going back to the Monastery, green, green, green!  

My first view of the Monastery.

The retreat house is behind all those trees. 

Mount Angel Monastery Church, with the BELL TOWER!

Going into the retreat center, a very lovely woman, gave me some information, and I went to the room.  On the door was MY NAME.  Sorta like when your name is on something--it makes it more personal--yes, I felt like I belonged here.  

Later, walking past Lavern's room, the door was open, noticing the warm bright colors, she consented to let me take her picture: 

There was this icon of saint Benedict on the wall.

And this picture of the first Abbey Monks.

The retreat house even had an Adoration Chapel, so you could go and hang with Jesus any time you wanted, day or night, ahhhh…

Early the next morning, Vigils began at 5:30 in the morning.  The bells were ringing as I walked through the dark to the lighted church--Jesus was calling me, and I was listening.

Father Odo, one of the Monks who was our teacher, said, lets begin our adventure!  And I wondered if he had read my mind, as I thought it was most certainly my adventure.  But between conferences, I did have the opportunity to take a walk--even though it was raining lightly.  
Of course, Mount Angel Monastery has a statue of our Guardian Angel:

And the grounds were very neatly maintained.

Saint John Vianney;

Praying Angels.

My Walk.

We went to the church, for three souls, to make their solemn promises to God, to live the rest of their lives as an Oblate.  They all got a Benedict medal, and I wanted it so bad to be me!  

I did not take pictures of the persons--this is a Monastery--and I did not want to disrupt their peace by taking their pictures.  But Father Pius, reluctantly, agreed to let me take his picture.  The candles are from the Oblates, who at least yearly come on pilgrimage to the Monastery, and they renew their solemn promise.  Then, they light a candle--from the Baptismal candle--and place it upon an altar.  I want my light to shine from that altar too!  

Saint Benedict.

Outside the Monastery Church.

The night before I was to leave to go home, I wondered, would I return?  The next day, I would become an "official" novice Oblate, receiving a copy of St. Benedict's Rule to read daily and have a Saint Benedict medal blessed, and begin my year of discernment to becoming a life-long Oblate.  We never know what each moment in life will bring, I could be dead before morning?  We do not know what the Lord's plans are for us from moment to moment.  We just need to, as my beloved priest always says, "stay in a state of grace."  I am "listening" Father!  We could be called to our real home--anytime.  This night, the sky was aflame with Holy Spirit fire!

A few years ago, leaving Rome, looking back at Saint Peter's square, I wondered would I ever return, it was like leaving a beloved family member.  And looking back at Mount Angel, anxious to get home to my two dogs, who were not eating they were so lonely for me, God, will I be back???  I went back to Rome, and my hope, is to come back to Mount Angel next year and make my solemn promise to God, to live as a Benedictine Oblate, of Mount Angel Abbey, for the rest of my life.  Good-bye for now. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Grandma Time

 Philip loves "his" dogs!
 Hiking everyday!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sleep is The Little Brother of Death

Sleep is the little brother of death.  When you fall asleep it's a little death, you have let go of your control fully, or you would not be able to sleep.   Some folk who cannot sleep, perhaps, are in need to keep things under their own control--in sleep--they are unable to control themselves or manipulate others, and therefore, holding on to their anxiety and fears, they cannot sleep.       

Sleep is precious.  And to be healthy, it's important to get enough rest.  So, parents of children, night workers, and Monks who wake in the night to pray, are making a great sacrifice for the needs of others.  Some Monasteries still have the practice of night prayer.  I was curious about which prayers they pray in the night? and was surprised to find out it is the "Office of the Readings."  

After Vatican II, the "night office" became the "The Office of Readings" and the prayers now, can be said at anytime during the day.    I suppose, it was easier for some orders where the monks were getting much older, and it is hard to get up in the middle of the night to pray.  Some monasteries where the monks do much hard physical labor during the day--disturbing the night perhaps, is also too much of a hardship.  Seems as though Vatican II was all about making things easier for folk.  Good thing?  or Bad thing?  

Praying at night, goes all the way back to Apostolic times, the Monks prayed to "sanctify" those hours.  Night is also a time of the demons, in the night, when we have totally abandoned our control, this is the time we need the light of Christ.  Monks who pray in the night, say there is no better time to experience this light than to awake and pray in the dark, beautiful, peaceful, consoling, silent night.   

Philip's Birthday

Philip enjoyed making his name in blackberries on his Birthday tart--mostly the blackberries were being popped into his mouth.

Philip did not want to blow out his candles by himself.  Grandma told him, that he would get his wish, if they were all blown out at the same time.  His wish, was to have Stella as his own dog.  Grandpa assisted Philip with a small fan.  Philip wanted to take "his" dog Stella home with him when he left Grandma's house!  

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Message Without Words

Saint Therese said: 

"When I die, I will send down a shower of roses from the heavens, I will spend my heaven by doing good on earth.”

Long a symbol of love and passion.  Used for hundreds of years to convey messages without words, they also represent confidentiality. In fact, the Latin expression "sub rosa"(literally, "under the rose") means something told in secret, and in ancient Rome, a wild rose was placed on the door to a room where confidential matters were being discussed.