Archive for the 'Advent' Category
Sponsa Christi December 18th, 2009
As the long-awaited day draws near it is beginning to look like Christmas in the monastery. Of course, no Christmas lights are turned on until Christmas Eve!
The novitiate finally finished this afghan Just in time for Mother Catherine Marie to give away for Christmas. Here they are pictured with our Sr. Ann Miriam who resides at Carmel Home. Sister may have been the one who began these granny squares which were found in a box a couple years ago when we did some cleaning out. The novitiate just finished them off. Sr. Ann Miriam did many works of art in her younger years - even dying her own yarn various colors!
The Third Sunday of Advent brought us the Whitesville Hoe-downers for an hour of Christmas songs with a few Gospel hymns. Our own Sr. Rose Marie got in on the act with a couple songs including “Ashoken Farewell“.
Here June Evans and the “Hoe-downers” follow Sr. Rose Marie’s lead violin
Dwayne Roby gets in on the act.
We so appreciate his serving at Mass on Sundays too!
And don’t miss Joe Payne at his left -
faithfully attends daily Mass in our monastery chapel.
This past Tuesday before Mass our chaplain announced a message of great joy – we have a Bishop-elect! His name is Rev. William Medley (Bishop-elect Medley now!) and he is from the Louisville archdiocese – yes! a Kentuckian!
O Come, O Come Emmanuel! Six days more until we kneel at the Crib of Redeeming Love!
* Photo of Bishop-elect Medley found on our diocesan website.
Sponsa Christi December 7th, 2009
Ahhh…Advent in a monastery…with its spirit of recollection, vigilance in prayer, quiet anticipation and Lectio Divina…it is an awesome liturgical season to experience within the cloister.
Earlier this year a relative of one of the Sisters gave us 7 small statues of the various prophets of the Old Testament. These were brought from Brazil. Sr. Mary Veronica and Sr. Rose Marie had a great idea of using them during the Advent Season as we delve into the prophetical books during the Advent liturgy and their prophecies concerning the future Messiah. And it makes for a wonderful Advent meditation as Sr. Rose Marie adds a new flame-quote daily until Christmas.
Our sanctuary this Advent
Sr. Mary Therese made some lovely and inspiring panels for our altar for use during the Advent Season. They do add to the expectant joy of the coming of our Messiah!
In keeping with the Ceremonial of Bishops we have moderate decorations in Chapel during this liturgical season.
…the decorating of the altar with flowers should be done in a moderate manner, as is consonant with the character of the season, without anticipating the full joy of Christmas.
-Ceremonial of Bishops, #236
Each evening at the end of Night Prayer we chant the Alma Redemptoris Mater before this Advent icon of ”The Virgin of the Sign“.
Speaking of our Lady – may you have a most grace-filled Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary! For us it is a Holy Day of Obligation and therefore we are free from unnecessary work duties (necessary ones being cooking, dishes, etc.) for extra prayer in the morning – we will have exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at 10:30 a.m. beginning our midmorning prayer (the Divine Office) followed by a special Prayer of Consecration of our Nation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and then time for private prayer before Angelus and midday prayer at 12 noon. Then we will have a longer time in the afternoon for recreation and free time. Probably try to write some Christmas cards and some Sisters may visit our Sr. who is still in the hospital. Please keep her in your prayers!
Sponsa Christi December 22nd, 2008
Holy Advent: Longing for the Feast of Christmas 2008!
Heartfelt greetings from St. Joseph’s Monastery to each one of you as we prepare for this most joyous and special feast. May He be born anew in our hearts, in our nation and world.
The fervor of our love for God depends on us keeping the lamps of our hearts burning brightly. Therefore in the monastery we have tried to keep an extra prayerful spirit during Advent. Perhaps you too have tried to implement this in your own busy lives. If not, it’s not too late to do so! I pray you will find a little extra time to be in our Lord’s presence receiving his love and loving him in return.
Advent in a monastery is very special time. The Advent Liturgy is so rich, full of readings anticipating the coming of Christ. This Advent spirit is maintained throughout our monastery. There is a special silence and attitude of expectancy that one can feel in the air as Christmas draws near. In our refectory we light many candles for our evening collation (a light supper)…helping us to keep in mind that Christ, our True Light will soon arrive!
According to monastic custom we wait until the week before Christmas before putting up our decorations. This job is usually delegated to the novitiate (yes, Sharon and Shannon have done a tasteful and beautiful job decorating this year!) It takes a special gift of organization to be able to wait as long as possible before putting up the decorations but not waiting too long so that it does not become stressful! Once I was in the front entrance hanging garlands when the UPS man came to the door. He said to me, “Its a little late isn’t it?” I could hardly believe it - it was only December 21 or 22 – not even Christmas yet! And I did tell him just this; He must have thought us nuns were really loony!
Decorations are not merely beautiful ways of celebrating this season. There is a much more profound meaning to them. They give witness that by the Incarnation of the Son of God, all of ordinary human life has been changed! The simplest things—corridors, windows, lamps, tables, etc. have been “touched by grace” and can speak to us of God’s presence and love. Decorations also are like lighted lamps of love and longing all over the monastery. Thus, as decorations go up, our monastery is lit up with celebrating the love of Christ our Bridegroom. It is very exciting!
A young woman wrote recently asking how we spend our Christmas. Well, we are currently making a novena which will end on December 23rd. December 24th is a work morning but we have a festive meal at noon, since it is still Advent we continue to abstain from meat, have a collation (small meal) in the evening and no snacking between meals. In the afternoon we turn on the Christmas lights and play Christmas music for the first time. We open some presents in the afternoon of Christmas. These would be gifts either given by family and friends of the Community or that our Mother Superior (St. Nicholas!) has bought for the community. These would include items such as notebooks and pens or a DVD with a wholesome theme.
While the Sisters are doing supper dishes ”St. Nick” and her helper visit each Sisters cell and leave some presents there. These might include a book, art supplies or a prayer candle, etc. We again gather together for a bit of recreation and then have Night Prayer. We then retire for a couple hours. Our Christmas Carols will begin at 11:30 and we are all excited to hear the pieces our postulants have been practicing for months, then the awesome majesty of Christmas midnight Mass at midnight! We are also blessed to have the Christmas day Mass at 10 a.m. Of course, on Christmas day the fasting is over and the feasting begins – in more ways than one!
Now I don’t want to share all our Christmas secrets for I want those of you who are discerning Passionist life to come visit and find out for yourself what Christmas is like in a monastery!
To all of you our dearest family and friends…
Have a very Merry Christmas!
Sponsa Christi December 14th, 2008
I hope all of you have had a blessed Gaudete Sunday! The Liturgy was so full of joy and the Holy Spirit and of course, it always lifts our souls to have pink in the sanctuary! It is truly a joyful color.
After starting this blog last May we were inundated with blog spam – I am sure you are familiar with this nuisance. In November I was so bombarded with it and was just hitting the delete button as quick as I could that I accidentally deleted some “real” comments from you our friends! I am sorry that that happened. But that won’t be happening any longer thanks to a plug-in called WP-SpamFreewhich we activated a week ago. God bless the designers of this great anti-spam plugin! I don’t know what to do with all the time I have on my hands now that I am not sifting through spam. (Not really, but you know what I mean.) In one week it has blocked 699 spam comments!
I thought you would appreciate the following meditation on Advent which Msgr. Powers gave to us for a homily during the first week of Advent. May it aid you in finding your “mountain” – your time and place to prepare with ever greater intensity for the coming of “Love-Divine” And may God reward you Msgr.! We deeply appreciate your spirituality and your fatherly friendship!
On this mountain:
In this monastery God will provide…
Your presence here is the call of vocation,
a call from the Heavenly Father through the
Holy Spirit to follow Jesus
A call into the mystery of the Crucified Christ…
A call to holiness…. to live for God alone
On this mountain… in this monastery
Away from the world…
In enclosure…. in solitude…. in silence… in recollection
you can be for God alone…
On this mountain… in this monastery
You will have God’s will in your Rule
where there is obedience in the total gift of the will
There is the opportunity to completely empty yourself
in imitation of Jesus in radical poverty…
Where the goal is absolute love of God
in total gift and total surrender in the vow of Chastity…
On this mountain … in this monastery
you are given the opportunity
and the grace and the environment
to live for God alone…
It will be the mountain of Calvary,
the living of the Paschal mystery…
seeking Christ in his suffering…
knowing union with Christ in the Cross…
At the foot of the Cross with the Sorrowful Virgin Mother…
Loving the Suffering Christ
to the depth of an espousal love…
to be the spouse of Jesus the Crucified…
On this mountain
your prayer will be continual
The prayer of the Eucharist…
The prayer of the Church…
The prayer of the Crucified Christ…
Your prayer will be personal…
Attentive to the Spirit…adoring God in your heart
Your prayer will be Eucharistic…
Before the Blessed Sacrament in worship…in adoration…in praise…
in petition for the church…in atonement for sins
Your prayer will be that of the Spirit:
vocal or deeply silent…
words…or total silence…
peaceful or in conflict…
contemplative…or even infused…
On this mountain
in this monastery…
God will provide…
the way to sainthood in your devotion to the Passion…
the way of holiness in your vocation…
the way of love in service to one another in community…
the way of self fulfillment in total giving
the way of the Spirit in the Charism of Paul of the Cross.
In this monastery God will provide
rich food in the gift of his Divine Will…
On this mountain … in this monastery
it is said to You:
Behold our God….to whom you looked to save us.
Here is the Lord for whom you look…
The hand of the Lord rests on this mountain.
Msgr. Bernard Powers
Sponsa Christi December 10th, 2008
Happy Advent to all of you! Advent is always an adventure for our new members who are used to Christmas decorations going up shortly after Thanksgiving Day (or even before!). Here in the monastery we are grateful that we are protected from the immense commercialism of this time of the year. Instead, we try to spend more time in prayer and Scripture reading, thinking of our Lady and how she prepared for the Light of the World about to be born.
Speaking of our new members, please continue to keep our two postulants in your prayers. They are responding generously to the intense formation program they entered last July. Recently they shared their vocation stories with the members of the Owensboro Serra Club who had their November meeting here at the monastery.
Currently, they are joyfully anticipating Christmas Eve Midnight Mass where they will help to welcome the Divine Infant by offering him their musical talent through their arrangements of organ and violin. If you live nearby we invite you to join us on that Holy Night as we worship and give thanks to the Eternal Father for the gift of Christ his Son. The Carols begin at 11:30 p.m.
The long twilight of November and December mornings, when it almost seems to us as if the day will never come, harmonizes closely with the soul’s longing for its Savior. The long delayed sunrise, followed at length by a new day, is a symbol of Advent, which, imitating the gloomy darkness of the years before Christ, is the beginning of the Church year. Accordingly, expectation, awakening, and fresh life are the characteristics of Advent. We cry with St. Paul: ‘Night is fading, day breaking’; let us awaken to strong and devout life, and hasten to Christ.
- Bishop Ottokar Prohaszka
Sponsa Christi December 4th, 2008
We had a beautiful Thanksgiving Day of praying, feasting, sharing and hiking. It also was a day to say goodbye…to meat! Until the Nativity of the Lord.
First Vespers of the First Sunday of Advent brought us our lovely tradition of a candlelight procession into the darkened chapel to the hymn of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” culminating in the blessing of the Advent wreathe. We chanted the antiphon “Marana tha! Come O Christ the Lord!” in between the prayers of blessing prayed by Mother Catherine Marie.
Yesterday we had a spiritually refreshing Lectio Divina afternoon led by our faithful Msgr. Powers. This year he has been leading us through a reflection on Vita Consecrata. As he spoke to us of paragraph #36 “Fidelity to our Charism” he mentioned the need for detachment saying that “stuff (meaning our attachments) have peanut butter on them. They stick to us”. This got some chuckles as we are seeing a lot of peanut butter these days.
May each one of you have a very holy Advent…a time of joyful self-denial in order to make space for the Lord, a time of “keeping watch”, a time to love the Lord and long for His coming. I leave you with Msgr.’s closing prayer after we spent time pondering/discussing Jeremiah 29: 11, 13 during the 2nd half of our Lectio Divina session.
Plans for Advent
Loving Spirit of God,
You say to me
You know the plans for me
during this Advent.
plans for my welfare,
not for woe…
plans for a future full of hope.
I come, Most Holy Spirit,
wanting to know these plans,
wanting to enter into them
and desiring to respond to them
ready to accept your will,
ready to listen to your word and obey.
ready to do your will in this Advent.
Loving Holy Spirit,
You say your plan for me this Advent
is to seek for You,
to search for You
and to search with my whole heart…
to seek until I find,
find the Incarnate Word of God.
it is not so much that God is Hidden,
rather it is that You are coming,
You are a God
coming out of mystery of the Trinity
into my life, into my nature,
coming into my world
Your plan for me in this Advent
is to seek, to search,
to search until I find.
Gracious Loving Spirit,
take me to the Sacred Scriptures
and hold me there till I find You.
Take me to the Blessed Sacrament
and keep me there
till I find You in the Eucharist.
Take me into silence
and keep me there
till I find You
in the interior of my heart.
Your plan for me
is that You let me find You,
the loving God…
give the grace to search
till I kneel at Bethlehem
Msgr. Bernard Powers