Embracing Our Dark Sides during Lent

As Lent began I shared my reflection on a ‘Character of the  Crucifixation’, Peter.  This past week I read two more reflections from the book about Judas and the High Priests. Judas’ story reflects some of the spiritual struggle of following Jesus, just as Peter’s life depicted. However, Judas and the High Priest figures also bring out the political shadow of the passion of Jesus. There are great lessons here. Continue Reading

The Water that Quenches Our Thirst, Brings Us to Eternal Life

By Sr. Catherine Cleary, OSB

“A woman of Samaria came to draw water: Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” John 4: 50-42

Water is the focus of today’s readings (reminding us of the baptismal character of Lent and of the many catechumens  preparing for baptism on the Vigil of Easter.) 
It appears that this woman in the Gospel knows what she wants. She wants water; it is noon, she is drawing water into a container, when a man asks her for some water.  We are put on alert that this woman is alone and seems a little sarcastic when her first words are, “How is it you a Jew ask me a Samaritan for water?” Continue Reading

The Feast of St. Benedict

Today as we celebrate the Feast of St. Benedict and remember his death, I had to return to my Rome experience of last May and June.  That 6 weeks in Rome and traveling to all of St. Benedict’s sites makes everything come alive for me today.  The reading at the Vigil was of Benedict’s death and the image of his monk brothers holding him up.  In the garden courtyard at Monte Cassino is a bold statue depicting that scene.  Nothing speaks more to me of Benedict’s teachings on community and the common life than that statue. Continue Reading

Seeing the Essential Oneness of God's World

By Sr. Phyllis McMurray, OSB

A story is told in the Life of Benedict attributed to Gregory the Great about Benedict’s own spiritual transformation.  It is said that Benedict, close to the time of his death, went to a tower cell late at night to pray, when the rest of his community was thought to be at rest. As he gazed out into the darkness, he saw an amazing light break through the black of the night.  Afterwards, Gregory recounts, it was as though “the whole world, contracted as it were together, was represented to his eyes in one ray of light.” Continue Reading

Upon the Mountaintop … and After

2nd Sunday of Lent – Matthew 7:1-9  – The Transfiguration of Jesus

By Sr. Ruth Ksycki

In a commentary on this gospel, Barbara Reid, a professor at Catholic Theological Union,  writes:  “On the mountaintop Jesus is able to see with God’s own vision the way forward in faithfulness.”  In speaking of Dr. Martin Luther King she says:  “God’s transformative love radiates through a face determined to love no matter what the other’s response.” Continue Reading

Our Own Transformation

Second Sunday of Lent: Gospel of Matthew 17: 1-9

By Sr. Catherine Cleary, OSB

Matthew’s gospels for the first two Sundays in Lent clearly show readers that Jesus was the fulfillment of the prophecies of Israel.  Last week, Jesus’ fasting in the desert reminded us of Moses’ sojourn in the desert.  Today’s gospel highlights Jesus as the new Moses as he appears on a high mountain with Moses and Elijah, his face shining as Moses’ did when he saw God.  (Ex 34:29) Continue Reading

Looking Forward with Joy and Spiritual Longing on the 1st Sunday of Lent

By Sr. Catherine Cleary, OSB

After suggesting we deny ourselves some food drink, sleep, needless talking and idle jesting, St. Benedict said we are nevertheless to look forward to holy Easter with joy and spiritual longing. Thomas Merton said, nearly 1,500 years later, the purpose of Lent is not so much to do penance to satisfy for our sinfulness as a preparation to rejoice in God’s love.   Continue Reading