Why Pray? To Tend your Divine Relationship

queen annes lace

When St. Paul counsels us to “pray constantly,” or the Catholic Catechism calls prayer a “vital necessity,” even a good Christian might be forgiven for asking, “Why?”

Why is it necessary at all, if we believe that God knows our thoughts, loves us thoroughly and gives us all that we need?

That is, the sun will still rise, beauty will still overspread the land, suffering will still occur.

So why pray?

The poet Mary Oliver says, How to keep warm/is always a problem,/isn’t it?/Of course, there’s love./And there’s prayer.

And keeping warm – keeping our intentional relationship with God warm and alive, that is – may be the real point. Continue Reading

The Psalms: A Dialogue with God

bible with psalm

A bunch of poems are sandwiched between Job and Proverbs in the Old Testament. Scholars believe they were written both during King David’s time and decades later, by indeterminate authors.

They are the Psalms, and have been prayed for 2500 years.

What are they, exactly? Just a collection of complicated verses from long ago? Or sentiments that express every single human emotion, as fresh today as when they were written? Continue Reading

A True Friend: “Treasure Beyond Price”

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By Sister Charlotte Sonneville, OSB

A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; you who finds one finds a treasure. A faithful friend is beyond price, no sum can balance her worth. (Sirach 6: 16-17)

Recently, I found myself thinking about a Benedictine Sister who became a “sturdy shelter” for me as a schoolgirl in Moline and, later, a Sister myself. Continue Reading

The Monastic Heart

queen annes lace and lake

By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

What distinguishes monastic religious life from apostolic religious life includes some straightforward lifestyle differences. Monastics pray, live, and often work together. Apostolic Sisters usually do not, at least not as a whole group.

More difficult to articulate is something often referred to as the “monastic heart,” a state of being that embraces silence and a listening stance. Whether you are married, single or a Benedictine Sister, having a monastic heart helps engage you in right relationship with all creation.

When I was living and teaching in Chicago years ago, the constant noise and congestion of the place got old fast. I couldn’t wait to get home to Dubuque, Iowa, to hear … nothing. I couldn’t wait to rest my senses. Continue Reading