Thursday, August 31, 2006

Eternal Rest ...

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Good News/Bad News

Both from today's Louisville Courier-Journal....
First, from the "It's Funny ... As Long As It's Not Me" Department:
NBC is developing "Real Wedding Crashers" based on the hit movie by using hidden cameras and uninvited guests, says industry trade publication TV Week.
But, from the "Can I Get An Amen" Department:
The following statement was signed by over 100 Muslims attending the Sunday, Aug. 27, afternoon picnic in Cherokee Park here in Louisville. We would appreciate your assistance in publishing this message to the community, from the undersigned Muslims who reside in Louisville and Southern Indiana:
I am a Muslim, and maybe I am your neighbor. I do not advocate or support terrorism, or attacks against innocent people, under any name, or in any cause.

Islam teaches me that if you kill one innocent person, it is as if you have killed all of humanity.

My heroes are Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, not people who incite hatred and violence.

I believe in the Islamic values of tolerance, compassion and peace. I believe in the American values of equality and justice for all. I abhor violence, and pray for peace.

In the name of God, the compassionate, the merciful, please join me in my prayer for peace.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The More Things Change....?

Funny what entering religious life can do to you ..... of course, ten years ago I was fresh outta college and getting ready for a music therapy internship and not even close to seriously looking at the nun-thing. I mean, it was there, but in terms of looking at it ....
seen at Sister Susan's Spot
You've Changed 64% in 10 Years

Compared to who you were ten years ago, you've changed a great deal. In fact, you're probably in a completely different phase of your life - and very happy about it!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

As seen on a bumper sticker ....

courtesy of National Catholic Reporter
God wants spiritual fruits not religious nuts.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Year Two, Day Three

After all that on my Blogiversary post, I find myself rather stumped with regards to what these bloggish roots are that I'm attempting to revisit here.

Thinking about it tonight, though .... I wonder if it's perhaps the fact that the novelty's worn off. After all, even though I am still a relatively new member, I've actually been doing this for a while ... and even longer if you count all the years of running & hiding that I did while attempting to get used to the idea. So perhaps it's that, for me, it's not any different. On some levels, the monastery has been my world; thus, in my mind, perhaps monastic ways are the world's ways.

Or perhaps this is just some big cop-out attempt .....

Seriously, though, I'm not sure where exactly I'm trying to go. And I think, for some extent, what would seem strange to someone else or worthy of question-asking or wondering is by now to me perfectly normal and understandable.

So ..... while my brain is spinning with how best to avoid grading tests, does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions? I got loads of warm fuzzies & smiles out of the comments .... is there anything in particular you folks are wondering and/or wanting to hear about? Otherwise, I might be forced to revert back to the creation of crap masterpieces like this.

And, while you're at it, send some big ol' warm-fuzzy-socks-kinda-thoughts to Omis Jason (a week late!) and Susan, who are both beginning the full-force move-into-the-big-house adjustment into the real-world-religious-life, also known as the novitiate, and commonly lovingly referred to as "Lockdown". Here's where it gets really real. And, for us here at my place, the real-nun-move-in happens with Entrance to Postulancy .... and we've got two folks doing that very thing Sunday right before Morning Prayer (though they'll be moving in tomorrow). Guess it's just the start of a new year on all fronts!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Quote o' the Day

One of the secretaries sends out a "Thought for the Day" every morning. I really liked the one for today:
If you never had any distractions, you don't know how to pray.
~ Thomas Merton

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

One Year ..... So What?

Part of our formation class on Saturday involved a discussion of the address that our prioress gave at the beginning of July Community Days. As all of us "new kids" shared something that struck us as we read the talk, I was taken by the comment made by one of my semi-adopted classmates. She was referencing the centerpiece of Chapter Four of the Rule, where Benedict tells us that Your way of acting should be different from the world's way; the love of Christ must come before all else. Her thought was... how different is our way?? She was particularly stumped as she attempted to explain nunness to an inquisitive first grader. Yeah, sure, we live together, work together, pray together, and all that, but still... I could do that "out there" too. I'm a nun, a Benedictine. So what?

One year ago today, I began this blog. Somehow, I had discovered Susan Rose, and I was really intrigued by this idea of Musings of a Discerning Woman. A big part of my own vocational journey involved a struggle of ''normalcy" (you can stop laughing now!), and I realized what a gift Susan was giving the world of discerners as she shared her story.... and how much something like that would have helped me "back in the day".

Inspired by her openness, I decided to step up and contribute my own perspective on this seemingly odd and freakish journey that is called religious life. True, I'm a little bit removed from the initial discernment process, but I can give the heads-up of what's coming down the road from someone who's been there.

At least, that was how I saw it originally. Reality is .... I haven't said much about the journey at all, or even how I ended up here.

It's something that's been more and more on my mind, especially as I see various bloggy buddies reach various milestones along their way (deepest apologies if I missed anyone!). Religious life is so counter-cultural, and seemingly so rare, and yet to have this community that has formed of all these semi-normal people my age making this choice .... it's kinda cool.

But even cooler than that is the fact of how they use their blogs to spread the word about what this life is and isn't.

Not so cool is the fact that I haven't.

And then the question of this weekend .... how is my way different from the world's way?

Or maybe .... how is my blog different from the world's blog?

I came here to dispel the nun-myths that I myself still hold, but I end up not saying much about them at all. Sure, I talk about deaths and community meetings, and occasionally quote the Rule and/or Scripture, but so what? Lots of other people do that, too.

So .... what is it?

What makes my way different?

Is it different?

This is also especially on my mind as I begin another year with a whole new group of students. What is it that I am portraying to them? And as I get geared up to run this Teen Page blog ... what is it that I will be offering to these youth?

I think some of it is that "nun-denial" that Natty referenced. But I'm beginning my fifth year here. It's time to step up and claim that, despite the fact that I'm a big ol' chicken and constantly nervous about presenting myself as something that I'm not or making myself seem better than I am. I'm so apprehensive about the nun-pedestal that I won't even let myself claim it enough to shatter it.

So I'm rethinking, revisiting, refocusing. My first post spoke of "Blogging my Benedictine experience" .... I think it's time to return to the roots.

Friday, August 18, 2006

And it begins once more .....

.... the back-and-forth travels of your favorite nun-blogger. And, for the record, I'm not just talking about the wandering that I do from classroom to classroom (though that's much better this year --- I'm mostly in two rooms side-by-side). But I'm back at the monastery for our first formation class of the year. So I don't have much time to write right now, but I didn't want you all to think that I didn't survive these first few days, cuz really, they've actually gone rather well. Exhausting, definitely, but cool. And now's when I get to see if my kids from last year actually liked me --- do they still talk to me even after they don't have to anymore? Tune in next week ..... :-)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Quotes of Randomness

As swiped from LAMLand ....

Go here, to the random quotes generator, and look through random quotes until you find five that you think:
a) reflect who you are
b) reflect what you believe.

Whatever God's dream about man may be, it seems certain it cannot come true unless man cooperates.
Stella Terrill Mann

He who lives without folly isn't so wise as he thinks.
Francois de La Rochefoucauld (1613 - 1680)

The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover will be yourself.
Alan Alda (1936 - )

Some have been thought brave because they were afraid to run away.
Thomas Fuller (1608 - 1661)

Genuine goodness is threatening to those at the opposite end of the moral spectrum.
Charles Spencer

The highest courage is to dare to appear to be what one is.
John Lancaster Spalding

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I just have one question ......

Is it June yet?
Did I say that out loud?

Modern Church

As forwarded from a teacherly colleague:
The elderly priest, speaking to the younger priest, said, "It was a good idea to replace the first four pews with plush bucket theater seats. It worked like a charm. The front of the church always fills first now."

The young priest nodded, and the old priest continued, "And you told me adding a little more beat to the music would bring young people back to church, so I supported you when you brought in that rock'n'roll gospel choir. Now our services are consistently packed to the balcony."

"Thank you, Father," answered the young priest. "I am pleased that you are open to the new ideas of youth."

"All of these ideas have been well and good," said the elderly priest, "But I'm afraid you've gone too far with the drive-thru confessional."

"But, Father," protested the young priest, "my confessions and the donations have nearly doubled since I began that!"

"Yes," replied the elderly priest, "And I appreciate that. But the flashing neon sign, 'Toot 'n Tell or Go to Hell' cannot stay on the church roof."

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Slightly Panicked

Before I do my petty little wimpering .... please check out the RevGalBlogPals request for prayers from 1-5 CDT today on behalf of Cheesehead. Posts from the 10th forward tell of a beloved leader in her parish who was brutally murdered by her (victim's, not Cheesehead's) son; Cheesehead has to officiate the funeral this afternoon.

Amazing network, this RevGal group.

And, while you're at it ..... ellipsis and her friend Barb could still use some prayers as well, as could my mom and her best friend Barbara. And all the latest cancer and heart stuff that's winding its way through my community. And then there's the minor detail of people killing people all over the world.


Click here to see how I'm beginning to really feel about all this .....

Hmmmm ..... I saw the Cheeshead bit after I typed my petty whine that follows. Seems kinda pathetic, stupid, and insignificant now. But I'll leave it, if for nothing else than to explain my sporadic absences. But the above post kinda puts the rest of this crapioca into perspective.....

Realization this morning ..... school starts tomorrow! I mean, I knew it started tomorrow, but there's a difference between knowing something and realizing it. That means I have to have the syllabus not only written but also polished and run off .... student info sheets polished and run off .... plans for tomorrow .... room situations figured out (especially since one of my floating rooms can only seat 24 and I have 22, 26, and 29 in that room!) .... classroom procedures ready to go .... first night homework ready to assign ..... organization system set up .... and today we have a Commissioning Mass and big lunch at school .... and then I go back to Saint Meinrad for Vespers and Supper to celebrate the Solemn Profession of two of my brother monks .... and then to my monastery for yet another wake (and an update from the prioress this morning has more folks in the hospital -- grrrr!) .... and therefore probably not getting back to the house until 10:30-ish tonight ..... and I still need to get/make a card for the monks ..... and I really need to get the as-yet-unnamed Teen Page worked out ..... and ..... and .... and .....


Sunday, August 13, 2006

This speaks for itself

Today's second reading comes from Paul's letter to the Ephesians, 4:30-5:2:
Brothers and sisters:
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God,
with which you were sealed for the day of redemption.
All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling
must be removed from you, along with all malice.
And be kind to one another, compassionate,
forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.

So be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love,
as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us
as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma.
I got nuttin' else to say.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Update ...

.... to this post. Apparently I overreacted. So, our deepest sympathy is extended to the poor sophomores who are gonna get one or the other of us, and the department chair who is stuck with the both of us. In other words, she seems to be as much of an instigator as I am! (I'll have to tell her my initial reaction -- I think she'll appreciate it!)

Practicalities of Prayer

Sr.MaryHasta has provided us today with her Ten Practical Tips for Prayer, wherein she addresses such issues as praying for people to die, praying for a pony, antacids and gastroenterologists, and grocery store PA systems. Curious? Then check it out.
1. Never ask God “Why?” because the answer is, inevitably, “Because I AM said so.”Likewise, don’t pray for patience, ‘cause God will make you learn it the hard way, and if you’re stubborn like me, you wind up with physical scars. Ow.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

How nice ....

After that last post of "Play nice"ness .... I discover that someone arrived at my site via the search phrase "People who deserve to die horribly." Granted, it took them to my post about Moussaoui and how I didn't think it would be right for us to kill him, but still ..... And then there are still people arriving here via the description of the Redneck Hunter game -- I wonder if the Reluctant NunTM is really want they're expecting to find ....

But .... off to Day 2 of faculty inservice. And I'm already behind .....

By the way .... Happy (day after the) Feast of Dominic to all my Dominican buddies out there -- you know who you are!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

What is it that we communicate via our blogs?

DeaconDanWright posted today about the fact that, while there is a strong Catholic presence on the web these days, much of it belongs to individuals and their blogs .... some of which may not be the most effective means of presenting what exactly it is that we're all about. It's nothing new — there was a nice rash of "Let's play nice" back at the end of May. However, it's a message that bears repeating over and over again.

The Gospel for today comes from Matthew 15, and includes Jesus telling the crowds: "It is not what enters one's mouth that defiles that person; but what comes out of the mouth is what defiles one." One of the sisters I live with had commented during a discussion last year that she has a different understanding of the commandment to not take the Lord's name in vain. In her mind, it has nothing to do with saying "God" at inopportune times; rather, it occurs more when we presume to speak for God with regards to who God likes or doesn't like. Dan references this with regards to some of the less-than-community-mindness, pointing out: "I’ve heard it said that the eyes are the windows of the soul, but it seems more to me that the mouth is a better indicator." (Funny .... isn't that what some folks are saying about Mel Gibson?)

But ... I'll let his words speak for himself.
Before we can explore what it means to say that God is love, I have to tell you what love isn’t. Unfortunately, it isn’t what you find on many religion blogs and websites. We have to be discerning in the matter because there's a lot that can mislead us. I find myself constantly frustrated, but I hear in my spirit, "The Lord has given you the good sense to recognize him." We can't let it get us down when we visit a website claiming orthodoxy and instead find hate. Jesus warned us about these folks. Just yesterday I looked in on one blog, one of the really popular ones, and found them trashing a parish half-way across the county, so I looked at the parish's web site. I found nothing objectionable, just a socially progressive urban parish attempting to tackle the tougher questions of life. All I could think was, "God bless this parish. They're looking for the God who is love."
Check out the full thing, though. He's got a great take on the difference between "mercy in admonishing the sinner" and just-plain-rudeness. Which, from reading the post that inspired his post (which is intentionally left unlinked) .... rudeness is by far the theme. I just don't get it. Do they really think that mockery and ridicule is the way to win someone over? Whatever happened to "one holy catholic apostolic Church" that we recite each week in the Creed? The word catholic with a lower-case "c" to mean universal, the word one to imply unity?

I remember one of the Benedictine Life Weekends when I was just visiting this community. Someone was talking about the whole thing of how if someone's bugging you, you should pray for them. However, praying that they go away doesn't count, nor does avoiding them so you don't have to pray for them. And yet it seems that many folks out there are merely biding their time until liberal Catholics "stop stealing oxygen from those who use it for reason" and finish out their "death throes".

Oh, no, we can't engage in any reasonable civilized dialogue. We'll just "find (ourselves) suffering from an unreasonable desire to open a can of whoop-ass" on the people we don't like, those suffering from "the cardinal virtue of heretics such as yourself: stupidity".

Well. I'm curious. If that's what they say about their fellow Catholics, I'd hate to see what they say about those they don't like!

Something else has struck me throughout my blog-wandering career. It seems to me that it's often the "ultra-conservatives" that mock the "liberals" with excessive ridicule, while the "liberals" reply with a plea for civility. Have I just not come across the mocking liberals, or is this actually a legitmate trend?

And, for the record ..... this is by no means applicable to all bloggers, not even all the Catholic bloggers. But, when I do come across blogs that are mocking and ridiculing other Catholics generically, it tends to be going in the conservative ==> liberal direction. But, there are many many bloggers out there on both sides of the traditionalism spectrum that can speak with civility and respect.

And for that .... I thank them. And as for those who have more-frequent-than-necessary lapses of civility .... well, I guess I'm supposed to pray for them.
go to main page

Friday, August 04, 2006

Technical Question about Palm Blogging

You may remember my mentioning of a little blogging task that has been assigned to me by our vocation director. I've got my nice little Palmy that I'm hoping will help me with composing posts "on the road" (or in the classroom!), thereby making a higher likelihood of regularity. My question is .... does anyone have any opinions on mobile blogging? This blog is on Blogger (obviously!), and the new monastery one is gonna be on MovableType. Wi-fi may or may not be available (depending on if I go to Starbucks, library, etc. or not), so it might just be composing the posts and then posting later. If worst comes to worse, I can always just do it in Word with DocumentsToGo and then copy/paste it over later. But, if there are decent programs out there .... I'd much prefer to make use of them.

So ..... anyone got any words of wisdom for me?

And, while you're at it ..... any advice about MovableType that might help me as I get started? Which probably needed to be last week sometime!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Fact versus Faith

A while back I posted about the Intelligent Design/Evolution debate, and was reminded of it today when I read an article in the Louisville Courier-Journal about a Creation Museum that'll be opening up in Northern Kentucky (by Cincinnati) sometime next year. It will have a re-creation of Noah's ark, as well as an explanation of how humans lived alongside dinosaurs.

The closing quote of the article?
John Morris, president of the Institute for Creation Research in San Diego, an organization that promotes creationism, said the museum will affirm the doubts many people have about science, namely the notion that humans evolved from lower forms of life. "Americans just aren't gullible enough to believe that they came from a fish," he said.
Now, to give some different context, the museum founder Ken Ham is quoted earlier as saying:
"If the Bible is the word of God, and its history really is true, that's our presupposition or axiom, and we are starting there."
Ken Ham gives us his bias, and tells us up front from what direction he is approaching this project: Coming from a faith background that says that scripture is true, then this is what we see. John Morris, on the other hand, makes a generalized statement that kind of backfires on him, in my mind.

Here's the thing. In case you missed it, I'm a Christian. True, I'm a Catholic, and some folks might say that this means I'm not a Christian, but I'm not here to argue that point. As such, I believe in God, Jesus, the bible, and all that other stuff. So I'm theoretically coming from the same direction as these guys.

However, there's one tiny little detail that Morris seems to forget as he speaks on behalf of "Americans" .....

It's called faith.

Just to clarify .... the Catholic understanding of scripture is that they contain religious meaning as opposed to historical meaning. In other words, we look at the deeper meaning of the story — what is this story trying to tell us? What message is the author wanting to convey? For example, some stories have Jesus feeding 5,000 people, while others say 4,000, and the number of fish & bread varies. The question I put to my kids is: Does it matter? What if Jesus actually fed 3,742 people? Would your faith be shattered? They thought I was being absurd; of course not. The number is a detail; it doesn't change the basic idea of the story.

While there are all sorts of situations in the New Testament that point to issues with an exactly historical account, my immediate question for those who view the Bible as an engineering logbook starts right in the very beginning. You wanna talk creation? Then what came first — the world or the people?

Back in the spring, when the articles came out that maybe Jesus walked on ice instead of water, I remember being very struck by one of the responses in the article: If you need miracles to prop up your faith, then maybe your faith is weak to begin with. As I pointed out the detail of Peter's failure to walk on the water ice, my kids wondered how the boat got out there in the first place. Was their faith destroyed by the possibility? Of course not. In fact, Jesus often refuses "miracles on demand" because he's not just about performing magic tricks. And let's not forget about the whole "Blessed are those who have not seen" .....

But the thing of it is ..... it's faith. It's about what I believe, what I hold to be my truth, or at least my understanding of it. There's no proof for any of it. That's what this whole "faith" thing is all about. As Paul puts it: "Now hope that is seen is not hope, for who hopes for that which is seen?"

Faith is about mystery. It's about trust. It's about holding in our heart that which we may not logically comprehend in our mind. defines faith as a belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. So, if you've got the evidence, then it's not faith. For me, then, faith rests on neither proving nor disproving the historical accuracy of any given detail.

All of which has gotten me horribly off-track from where I was intending to go .... and it's late .... and I'm really hoping I haven't come across as a horrible heritic or anything like that .... but it's hard to think straight right now and have myself make sense ..... so I'll just get back to Creation-dude ......

I would like to ask Mr. Morris to step back from his faith for a moment, and try to view this whole debate through a lens other than that of his Christian background. Without the benefit of that faith perspective, how does his viewpoint look?

Which takes more "gullibility" — the scientific evidence that supports a logical progression of gradual improvement and perfection, or legends out of some book that can't even get its story straight about what was created when?

I don't remember how it's been asked, but I know my kids have somehow referred to the question of the texts of other faith traditions and are they just "stories" ..... and I point out that it's all in the perspective. They may view the Book of Mormon as "something someone wrote"; yet, as I point out to them, that is how perhaps Judaism may view the New Testament.

One man's sacred text is another man's story?

Mr. Ham points out his perspective .... Coming from this faith background, this is what I am presenting. Mr. Morris ..... loses credibility with his assumptions about everyone else's perspective.

Regardless .... could be an interesting place to visit.
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