Monday, November 16, 2009

The Feast of St. Gertrude

Happy Feast Day Sisters!

O God of love and gentleness,
O heart that abounds with loving kindness,
O heart that overflows with charity,
O heart that radiates pleasantness,
O heart full of compassion,
We thank you for your heart full of love for us.
Invite us into your heart that we may be totally transformed into love.
Adapted by Sister Ruth Fox, OSB,
from Exercises of St. Gertrude, VII

The feast of St. Gertrude is a celebration not only of our Benedictine Mystic, but also a celebration of our federation of Benedictine Monasteries throughout the United States. The Church reflects Gertrude's deep connection with Christ in the readings they use within today's liturgy. Both Paul's letter to the Ephesians (3:14-19) and John's Gospel (15: 1-8) remind us to live in Christ as he lives in us.

Paul says "that you, rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones...the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge...". Gertrude's writings centered on this great love that God has for us beyond our faults or failings. I'm reading "Book I" of her Herald of Divine Love right now, and her biographer spends much time showing how Gertrude's humble work on her faults made Christ love her all the more. I hope so...since all I have to show is the effort and not always much success in changing faults. I remember when studying the Rule's chapters on humility as a novice, one of the retired sisters who took the class with me pointed out that we would probably reach the top of the ladder about ten minutes before we died. Hmmm...if she was still working out issues, I have a long way to go and count on both Gertrude and that sister being right!

John's Gospel of the vine and the branches also reminds us to stay rooted in Christ. But beyond that, I am reminded to stay rooted in Community. I try to celebrate and commemorate the feasts that are celebrated at home to refresh that connection. Jesus' parable of the vine tells that the branches don't produce fruit unless they remain on the vine...I hope that my rootedness in the vine of Christ and Community helps me not only complete my time here at University but also in transitioning back to the Monastery this May. So far, I am keeping green and growing in my life here with the Franciscans and course work. I'm adding some volunteering to keep turning the earth over a bit and freshen the dirt. After too much time in libraries and windowless classrooms, I need some change of location...middle school language arts classrooms should do me some good.

Prayer of Saint Gertrude to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
O Sacred Heart of Jesus, fountain of eternal life,
Your Heart is a glowing furnace of Love.
You are my refuge and my sanctuary.
O my adorable and loving Savior,
Consume my heart with the burning fire with which Yours is aflamed.
Pour down on my soul those graces which flow from Your love.
Let my heart be united with Yours.
Let my will be conformed to Yours in all things.
May Your Will be the rule of all my desires and actions. Amen.


No comments: