Shedding Our Leaves to Grow

Autumn foliage along the Mississippi River, near the Benedictine Sisters St. Mary Monastery, Rock Island, Ill.

Read Nancy’s wonderful discernment prayer comparing her life to autumn in “A Time to Plant,” below. Leaves must fall before new growth can begin, she says, and I agree! In our lives we must shed our old leaves in order to grow.

Discernment is a Paschal Mystery walk, where we pray to let go of what we cling to and learn to embrace what God sets before us. What is it in our lives that God is nudging us to change and to move beyond? These difficult inner movements require a listening heart, a trusting heart and an attentive heart. We must die to our desires and comforts in order for God to break through with God’s desires for us.

The Paschal Mystery – Jesus letting go of human life – went beyond the everyday to embrace God’s plan of resurrection and eternal life. Our discernment journey may ask the same of us – to let go of the familiar, the everyday – in order to embrace God’s plan for us. Not an easy journey but a transformative journey – where we are more deeply responding to God’s new life for us.

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