Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Radical, Biblical "Amen" to Earth Day

When I grew up as a child "recycle, renew and re-imagine" were not a part of my vocabulary. Playing outdoors with no sunscreen, riding a bike without a helmet and throwing bottles, glass, and paper into one trash bin was the norm. For me and my generation to go green and sustain the earth is a new concept of radical living. Let’s admit it's not easy being green, at least not as easy as some suggest. 

For almost 40 years, advocates of Earth Day have called on people to celebrate environmental progress and to protect our planet. To this goal, Christians can say a hearty "Amen, but... ."

"Amen," because we have good intentions and a desire to preserve, protect and sustain our earthly home.  Our intentions even have a biblical call to exercise responsible stewardship of God's good creation. But good intentions aren't enough and we need to think globally.  Without wisdom and sound judgment, they can lead to harmful, unintended consequences—harmful not just to the environment, but to those living in poverty in our world, whom we are also called to care for and protect. 
The concept of stewardship involves taking care of something that belongs to somebody else. For Christians, stewardship of the environment recognizes that "the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof" (Psalm 24:1). Creation belongs to the Creator. The Christian tradition affirms that humans have been given the privilege and task of tending and cultivating it for good.   

Trish Dick, OSB

Teach your children
What we have taught our children,
And the earth is our mother.
Whatever befalls the earth
Befalls the sons and daughters of the earth.
If men spit upon the ground,
They spit upon themselves.

This we know
The earth does not belong to us,
We belong to the earth.
This we know
All things are connected
Like the blood which unites one family.
All things are connected.

Whatever befalls the earth
Befalls the sons and daughters of the earth.
We did not weave the web of life,
We are merely a strand in it.
Whatever we do to the web,
We do to ourselves.



Tuesday, April 14, 2015


“We are born with God pulsing through our veins!”  S. Joan Chittister writes  (Monastic Way, 1/2015).  What a splendid image and feel for the life that surrounds us these Easter days and which somehow is pulsing within us, too.  Having followed the cross as best we could for the 40 days of Lent makes us run to that emptied Cross now, luminous in white and yellow banners, Easter lilies and hydrangea.  We want to go on those Easter egg hunts, along with our children—or at least color the eggs that will attract our attention so that we might search the more for what they mean: life and love and joy, taste and sound and nourishment. We want to gather it all in, and be gathered in-- the young and the old, the lame and the runners, the white and the colored, the heavy-laden and those of teeming spirit, the saints and the sinners! We want to gather, even though we may not do so any of the other Sabbath days of the year. There’s something about Easter!  May it go on and on and on!  God is again pulsing through our veins, in the meadows’ flowing rivulets, in the sap rising in the maples, in the sun hanging above us later and later each day. All seems to call us to stand on high, to notice, to join the dance of our oft-sung Alleluia choruses: HE LIVES, YOU LIVE, WE LIVE,  HALLELUJAH!

Renee Domeier, OSB

Photo by Thomasette Scheeler, OSB: Easter candle and font in Scared Heart Chapel

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Joy and Mystery: The Easter Message

We welcome Prioress Michaela Hedican this week  as a guest blogger to share her Easter message to our friends.

What is it that makes Easter so joyful? The obvious answer is the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ. But Christ's rising from the dead should not only be seen as an historical event; it is as alive and meaningful in our lives today as when it happened over 2,000 years ago. The Risen Savior lives within each of us -- when we show compassion to someone who is lonely or sick, say a kind word, feed someone who is hungry or refrain from making hasty judgments about the behavior of others.

Christ is here with us, too, in the Eucharist. Isn't it significant that the Paschal Triduum (the period from Holy Thursday to Easter Day) begins with the Last Supper and the institution of the Eucharist? The great blessing of the Eucharist is that, through it, Christ continues to give Himself to us. This gift is not only to us as individuals when we receive communion; as Teilhard de Chardin said in his Hymn of the Universe, "the entire realm of matter is slowly but irresistibly affected" by the blessing of the risen Christ's continued presence through the Eucharist. What a great and wonderful mystery to ponder and give thanks for this Easter!

Michaela Hedican, OSB

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Silent Breakfast

Breakfasts in the monastery during Lent are eaten in silence. It’s just an ordinary breakfast. 

But everything about the silent space feels uncluttered and gentling… 

The heart beats a bit more slowly.
The breath emerges in elongated patterns.
The mind’s eye becomes playfully attentive.
The food births gratefulness.

Every aspect of this meal feels connected to gratefulness…

          A silent “Thank you” spontaneously rises for all who faithfully bring this nurturing food to tables

                   Farmers, farm-workers and gardeners, as well as truckers and grocery-workers
                   Dining room staff and sisters, who rise early to prepare a sunrise delight
                   Our lavish God who looks on all work and calls it good

          A litany of “Thank you” cascades for…
                   Soil, sun and rain, strengthening our favorite cereal grains
                    Chickens, sharing their rich egg protein to fortify us
                   Coffee beans, releasing their delightful aroma and waking up every cell
                   Each taste, color, smell and texture, alerting and enlivening us

Today, everything somehow seems beautiful…

          Maybe that’s what John O’Donohoue meant when he defined real beauty as,
          “That, in the presence of which, we feel more alive.”

Mary Rachel Kuebelbeck, OSB