Ringing in the New Year - Monastery Style
How grateful I am to have a monastic vocation! Not that it is an EASY vocation - no way! No one's life on earth is easy.
Nor is our life full of pious thoughts and spiritual highs...no, often our day is busy and we struggle to maintain recollection and to live the virtues...can you imagine living with 13 other women 24/7 and never having a judgmental thought or a cross word? No, our life is no utopia. We are daughters of Adam and Eve.
BUT our life IS consecrated...consecrated to God for His glory and the salvation of souls. As we ring in this New Year...or rather "pray in" this New Year I am filled with gratitude for the monastic life and it's power - hidden in weakness. God chooses the week, those who account for nothing! So that His power and Love may show forth. It is a tremendous blessing to live with 13 other consecrated women, being of one heart and mind...a blessing of which I am not worthy and am so grateful.
We just chanted our Solemn Office of Night Prayer. The monastery is stilled in silence. The silence of Nuns being with the Beloved in prayer, stillness, waiting and expectation.
At 11:20 p.m. our bell with toll to call us to pray in the New Year. At midnight the bell will toll again and with that the chantress will take up the "O Lord open my lips..." and the choir will respond, "and my mouth will proclaim your praise." Then we will proceed with the solemn sung Office of Readings.
We greet the New Year with prayer and praise, thanksgiving, supplication and reparation. Reparation for our sins and the sins of the world. Thanksgiving for the graces of 2011 and the graces to come in 2012. Supplication for blessings upon our monastic community and the gift of new members, for our little town of Whitesville, our diocese of Owensboro KY, our relatives, benefactors, friends, nation and world... especially begging God to intervene in our national elections in November 2012.
We are spiritual mothers, co-redeemers...not because of anything we have done or merited. But because God has called us. And when God calls he gives the grace to fulfill the call. Pray we respond most generously to His grace! As we pray in this New Year we will be praying for you and all your needs and intentions.
Blessed Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God! We leave you with this prayer from the pen of our Holy Founder:
I am praying the Sovereign Divine Infant and the divine Immaculate Mother to have you reborn to a new life of holy love. This Divine Birth will take place in the interior temple of your soul if you continue, as I hope, to be faithful to God, a lover of virtue, with a continual exercise of humility of heart, patience, silence, meekness, most fervent charity, and, above all, remaining solitary in the holy desert of your soul, taking your rest on the bosom of God in a sacred silence of faith and holy love.
May 2012 be overflowing with a deep knowledge and acceptance of God's merciful love for you personally. Blessed New Year!
Special thanks to Mark Schoppe (Sr. Rose Marie's father) for the monastery night photo