A Time to Plant and A Time to Grow

Redwing blackbird sings near Benedictine Sisters' pond at St. Mary Monastery, Rock Island, Ill.

Every day I take my morning cup of coffee and stand by the garden I tend.  I admire the creation of color, the foliage, and even how the weeds blossom.  I reflect on the places I have been planted in my life. I consider the weeds I continually have to pull to promote growth and beauty.

Discernment is a growing season. It is good to reflect on the places you have been planted, the colors of your personality, the gifts that have emerged, the experiences that have tilled your soil and uprooted your life, and the weeds you have pulled.

It is good to reflect on what promotes your growth.

Discernment is a gracefilled movement – reflecting on your life and embracing a future life where your garden can thrive. Smell the flowers, enjoy the color and be energized by the power of God. Then think of how your next garden may need to be planted in order to continue this gift of God’s presence.

Life in Community

A key Benedictine value is Community Living. We become who we are through our relationships with others. As Benedictine Sisters, we promise stability, which is crucial to community life. It means “to cultivate rootedness and a shared sense of mission.” Benedict said, “Stand firm in your promises.” He also said, “Your way of acting should be different from the world’s way; the love of Christ must come before all else. … Never give a hollow greeting of peace or turn away when someone needs your love.”

Peace I Leave You

Benedictine Sisters' St. Mary Monastery, Rock Island, Illinois

For over 20 year Be Not Afraid has been a popular song in funeral liturgies and at retreats. It expresses our human longing to be at peace even in the midst of extraordinary tension and uncomfortable experiences.

We use a similar Taize chant at the Monastery with the simple phrase, “Peace I leave you, Peace I give you, Be not afraid.” I find it a wonderful prayer and very engaging chant. In fact, we used it in today’s liturgy. Continue Reading

Worthiness for Christ

The Thomas Merton prayer is a great discernment prayer (posted by Stefanie in a comment to “Creating Space for God” on Sept. 4). It reminds us that today is the day to care about. Today is the day we are worthy of Christ’s love. Today is the day we must trust the Lord to lead our way. The prayer also reminds us that we can have doubts along the way. Continue Reading

Showing gratitude

This comes from Brother David Standl Rast, OSB:

Gestures that help you show gratitude:
1. Say one word today that gives a fearful person courage.
2. Calmly hold someone’s hand today and spread calm.
3. Look a stranger in the eyes today and realize that there are no strangers.
4. Give someone an unexpected smile today and so contribute your share to peace on earth

Real Religion

“Paul Tillich once defined real religion as what we attain when, in our religious quest, we attune ourselves to a reality and a consciousness that is beyond our own, as opposed to touching what is highest inside of ourselves or highest within the collective ideals of humanity. In real religion we meet God, not ourselves.” – Fr. Ron Rolheiser