Saturday, May 26, 2012

"There's No Place Like Home"


This is the first Saturday I have free and clear from school work.  My morning began slow with a cup of coffee, a Sacred Heart chaplet, and some quiet time with Christ.  I could take all the time my heart needed without worry of getting my homework done...

However, this afternoon will be filled with Suzy-homemaker chores and tasks.  After some teacher meetings on Tuesday, I will be going home to the monastery for the summer; so I need to leave my areas of the apartment convent ship shape!  My bedroom will become the 'Guest Sister' bedroom for the summer and little dusting and sorting needs to be done.  I'm glad to do this when I know that I get to be home at the monastery while another sister uses our convent apartment as a get away space.

Home!  I will be home in time for Vespers--Liturgy of the Hours--Divine Office with our sisters.  Our prayer together is the thing I miss most while working away from the monastery during the school year.  Sister Roommate and I follow the same prayer here at our apartment convent, but there is a big difference between two voices alternating and a hundred voices harmonizing. 

Sister Subprioress has me busy about the monastery for the summer: gardening, cleaning guest department, doing dishes, and scrubbing bathrooms; and I am excited to do it.  Charges (in-house work assignments) are a part of our Benedictine life.  Chapter 48 of the Rule of Benedict reminds us to balance daily manual labor and prayer in our daily life:
And if the circumstances of the place or their poverty should require that they themselves do the work of gathering the harvest, let them not be discontented; for then are they truly monastics when they live by the labor of their hands, as did our Fathers and the Apostles. Let all things be done with moderation, however, for the sake of the faint-hearted...Weak or sickly sisters should be assigned a task or craft of such a nature as to keep them from idleness and at the same time not to overburden them or drive them away with excessive toil. Their weakness must be taken into consideration by the Abbess.
My daily charges within the monastery aren't just work; they are a ministry of love for my sisters in community, a way of taking care of each other.  The work of weeding and gathering we do in the garden eventually helps to feed our sisters homegrown produce not just for one day but throughout the winter months as well.  The ministry of cleaning and caring for our guest rooms is an outreach of Benedict's call to receive all guests as Christ.  Even the daily work of doing dishes and scrubbing floors can be lifted above the mundane to the divine when we remember that it is done for the love of our Sisters.

While there will be much to do once I arrive home, I am excited to be there. 
There is no place like home!


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Car Dancin' with God


It has been a crazy couple of weeks and the mad dash to the end of school has begun. I've been very grateful for our morning and evening Liturgy of the Hours with Sister Roommate and Mass with the Monks. My nighttime Lectio and Noon Praise break at school have added some extra peace to my day. All of this prayer has been what keeps me moving forward to going home to the Monastery for the Summer.

The end of the school year has been filled with busyness. The students are already on a mental summer break; especially, the juniors which have been bouncing between classes and AP Tests. Keeping track of students isn't the only diversion; I'm also helping with the planning of our new curriculum this fall. The meetings for the curriculum planning sent me to the Archdiocesan offices, back to my co-teachers, and even the textbook publishers. However, this isn't the only planning! The accreditation committee that I serve with has been madly at work in reading the suggestions, comparing files, and seeking more information. To top it all off, I might recommend to all readers that you don't offer testy teachers more helpful 'suggestions' when they have more than enough on the their plate (oops).

All of this culminated into one tired, crabby sister climbing into her car at the end of this day. My prayerful focus had worn away throughout the day. I flipped on the radio and turned it to LOUD hoping to sing along with some grouchy music. However, there are no coincides and God keeps a watchful eye on His beloved. "Walking on Sunshine" poured out of my speakers! This song always reminds me of those days before I entered community. The anticipation filled with a hope overflowing with Love for Christ and the Community I desire to join...waiting for the letter of acceptance. I broke into song, turned the radio up a few more notches, and car-danced with God all my way home : ) Thanks God!