Passionist Christmas

    Thought you might enjoy hearing a bit of what has been happening around here. We are still battling a bad virus that comes and goes and comes back again -  not fun :{  but good and powerful to unite with the redeeming Passion of Christ! As Caryll Houselander would say..."Jesus wants to suffer this in me."   I don't know if I have shared with you yet that when it rains here and if the wind is at just the right angle it pours in our chapel - yes, that's right. Well, the inevitable happened on the evening of December 23rd as torrents of rain continued to fall outside. The well soaked chapel roof could no longer keep the water from seeping through into the chapel nave. All along the overhead beams of the central skylight, steady torrents fell inside the chapel which was already decorated for our celebration of Christmas!

We considered getting out the umbrellas...

    Altar, chairs, Christmas crib, etc. were covered with plastic protection, while from the sanctuary to the back of chapel, we had an array of every size and shape of containers and buckets laid atop all-weather rugs. As the rain dropped into the containers, the reverb of the chapel amplified the drips to a noisy pitch. That noise plus the roaring winds outside, made a loud den, so one of the Sisters stuffed what looked like a hundred bright green towels into the containers in order to muffle the loud noise from the constant dripping.

    Another Sister started bargaining with the Poor Souls in Purgatory to please ask Our Lord to stop the rain, while yet another Sister said that if the rain kept up, we should put red bows on the green towels and just proceed on….Alas, I did not get a picture of this fun...but maybe next time! Whoever said convent life is dull does not know what they are talking about.

    Our Lord had mercy, and the rain stopped so that we could have Christmas Eve Midnight Mass, and by Christmas morning, the sun came out gloriously, reminding us of one of the Great O Antiphons of the Church before Christmas: "O Radiant Dawn…." Even the weather this year helped us see the power in that prayer of the Church. The rest of the day was very peaceful, as we had our Morning Mass, followed by a wonderful Christmas meal prepared by "Sr. Mary Delicious" and her many helpers, and then gathered in community recreation to share our joy with one another.

    At recreation on Christmas evening, our postulants led us in an inspiring game. This year we had a number of our plaster of Paris "Infants on the Cross" that were somewhat defective and could not be sold. The formation Sisters hid the little Infants and gave us clues as to where each Infant could be found. We were all sent forth throughout the monastery, to look for our Infant—following of course the excellent clues given us. There was a prayer intention for children wrapped around each Infant.

    The purpose of the game was to increase our awareness of the crying need to pray for infants and children who are suffering. And also, to help us realize that Christ can be found in the most surprising places. Mother Catherine Marie found hers among the clean rags in the laundry. The prayer intention on her Infant was for children on whom a curse or spell had been cast—a horrifying thought but as we know today, very real. All of us found this "Passionist Game" inspired us to deeper prayer for the children of the world.

    I hope you enjoyed another little peek at our Passionist Christmas. As we begin a new year, God is offering His People the grace of deeper faith, trust and hope in His all-powerful care. #314 of the Catholic Catechism offers us consoling guidance: "We firmly believe that God is master of the world and of its history. But the way of His providence are often unknown to us. Only at the end, when our partial knowledge ceases, when we see God face to face, will we fully know the ways by which even through the dramas of evil and sin, God has guided His creation to that definitive ’Sabbath rest’ for which He created heaven and earth."  May we too look beyond the suffering and hardships of life to the eternal joy in God that is awaiting us. Peace be yours now and always.  And remember, in all your trials, "Jesus wants to suffer this in me."  Meaning, you are not alone in your suffering, you are to be another Christ, you are another Christ if you are in the state of grace.

    Also, thanks to all who ordered from our Gift Shop, especially the "Infants resting on the Cross". We sold several hundred in November and December!