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.
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.”
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
A key Benedictine value is Awareness of God. We seek God in the ordinary events of everyday life. As St. Benedict says in the Rule, “We believe that the divine presence is everywhere.” This means in our household chores, in our jobs, in conversations with one another.
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
“When we speak about the path, we should keep in mind that there is only one path, and everyone who is going is on that one path. It may look as if people were going in different directions; but as long as they are going, they are just on the path.” Brother David Standl Rast, OSB
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
“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
“To be a real contemplative we must every day take others into the narrow confines of our lives – and listen to their call to us to be about something greater than ourselves.” – Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB
Deep, attentive listening is key to Benedictine monastic life, and one of our most important values. St. Benedict said, “Listen with the ear of your heart” in his Rule. We seek to attend keenly and sensitively to the voices of all God’s creation.