"Young Religious ought to enter blogs and correct the opinions of the youth, showing them the true Jesus" - Cardinal Camillo Ruini, Vicar for Rome

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Is everything sad going to come untrue?

Tonight at dinner, the Sisters were talking and enjoying each other's company.  We weren't talking about anything of great import.  Nor were we solving the world's problems.  We were just enjoying each other.  And laughing.

Sr. Marie Andre was sharing Winston Churchill's famous quote (which sums up her whole being): "Keep calm and carry on."  Sr. Marie St. Paul broke in with a twist on the saying which she recently saw when reading up on her newest hobby...knitting: "Keep calm and carry yarn."  And the Sisters laughed - myself included (especially as a novice-Crocheter).  And the laughter seemed so beautiful to me.  I wanted to bottle it up!  

I was reminded of an excerpt from Tolkien's The Return of the King (It's particularly appropriate that I quote this as Frodo and Bilbo's birthday is on September 22nd).  Sam awakes after the horrors of Mt. Doom and sees Gandalf, after thinking him dead.  I'll let Tolkien take it from here:
But Sam lay back, and started with open mouth, and for a moment, between bewilderment and great joy, he could not answer. At last has gasped: 'Gandalf! I thought you were dead! But then I thought I was dead myself. Is everything sad going to come untrue? What’s happened to the world?'

'A great shadow has departed,' said Gandalf, and then he laughed and the sound was like music, or water in a parched land; and as he listened the thought came to Sam that he had not heard laughter, the pure sound of merriment, for days upon days without count. It fell upon his ears like the echo of all the joys he had ever known. But he himself burst into tears. Then as sweet rain will pass down a wind of spring and the sun will shine out the clearer, his tears ceased, and his laughter welled up, and laughing he sprang from his bed.

'How do I feel?' he cried. 'Well I don’t know how to say it. I feel, I feel' – he waved his arms in the air – 'I feel like spring after winter, and sun on the leaves; and like trumpets and harps and all the songs I have ever heard!'
I don't know about you, but whenever I read this passage, I can't just read it once.  I want to go back and read it again, letting it soak in.  And again, letting it penetrate any sadness that may be clinging to my heart.  And again, for the pure joy of it all!

As I type this blog, Fergus (one of our westies) is glued to Sr. Esther Marie's lap (not literally, of course) - he is hoping that she will never want to get up.  Sometimes I think if Ferg could talk, he would say: "Just pet me, love me, feed me those yummy treats and never leave me...and I promise to be good!"

Like Ferg, when we experience joy, there is an undeniable yearning to hold on to it, to never want it to end.  More and more, I am convinced that this desire is borne from above - but it is not merely the desire for a passing joy, but for the joys that do not pass...it is a desire for the eternal, a desire for God.  It is the desire for the unending joy of Heaven, when there will be no more tears, or weeping, or separations, or suffering.  Tolkien's dear friend, C.S. Lewis, takes this thought a step further saying: “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” 

At the risk of 'over-quoting', I want to conclude this blog with an excerpt from "Poem of Hope" by Marietta Martin.  When I read these words, my thoughts turn to the 'Grey Havens', to Heaven, to Jesus and the fulfillment of all desire:
One day there will be no more unexpressed words of love,
There will be no more stifled desires,
There will be no more silent presences: all the voices will be heard,
The veil which the music lifts will never more be lowered,
There will be no more inaccessible space, and the spool of time will unwind in the present,
All the sister particles of souls will join together. 
The sunsets will be explained,
Beauty will lose its anguish,
Creation will be the clear word of divinity,
One day, like a beautiful voyage toward the beloved dead.

Our friend, Brittany Allen, snapped this awesome photo in July.  Isn't it stunning!!!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Unique and Unrepeatable

Since moving to Tonopah last year, and now having a Chapel open to the public, each day seems to bring new friends into our life.  Seeing the broad span of visitors that come to see this little 'slice of heaven' makes me realize how each human person is unique, unrepeatable, and infinitely LOVED by our good God.  

Just this morning, I was walking out of the Chapel after making a Holy Hour and a mini-van pulled up.  It was a beautiful family from India, who now live in Surprise, AZ.  The mother of the family was all smiles and greeted me with great excitement.  They finally made it to Our Lady of Solitude...after being lost for 2 hours.  My heavens, I reflected later, don't know if I would have been still smiling!!  I was so happy to be able to bring them into the Chapel where the Lord was waiting for them, ready to greet the weary travelers...and give them many graces I'm sure.

Yesterday, after our mid-day prayer, one of the Sisters saw 2 trucks pull in.  As the Chapel was locked up, I went over to let our visitors in.  They were 4 rough and tumble hunters, who came to see the marvels of the Lord here in this out of the way place.  Even in their camo, the Lord could spot them right away and...again...bestowed on them many graces.  

One of my favorite visitors was a man who drove a truck that towed some construction equipment.  When I went out to sign for it, the man started talking to me about the Lord.  He explained that he was not Catholic, but loved the Word of God.  He went on to share a bit about his experiences of God's Divine Providence, the power of His Word, and the goodness of His Love.  I went back into the house with a renewed sense of wonder!  

Just this week, we were blessed with another visitor: Fr. Sean from Ireland...now living in France.  Father is a newly ordained priest with the Missionaries of the Holy Eucharist.  He was in town doing a mission at St. Joan of Arc in Phoenix and decided to recharge his spiritual battery here in this desert solitude and Eucharistic haven.  We were blessed to receive Father's first blessing and also hear sermons that highlighted the heart of our life as Eucharistic Adorers.

And finally, another visitor came...and she's decided to stay!!  Yes, as you see to the left, the newest Chapel appointment arrived in all her glory.  This beautiful and unique statue of St. Therese was donated to us by Mrs. Vitale.  The Little Flower will now find a home in the back of the Chapel where people can pray and implore the intercession of this powerful saint. 

St. Therese is a favorite saint of many of the nuns.  Her unique and unrepeatable love for the Lord inspires us to seek to love Him in the full totality of our being, with our own unique and unrepeatable love.

And her great devotion to praying for priests is something we try to imitate as well.  So let us pray with her:

 O Holy Father, may the torrents of love flowing from the sacred wounds of Thy Divine Son bring forth priests like unto the beloved disciple John who stood at the foot of the Cross; priests: who as a pledge of Thine own most tender love will lovingly give Thy Divine Son to the souls of men.

May Thy priests be faithful guardians of Thy Church, as John was of Mary, whom he received into his house. Taught by this loving Mother who suffered so much on Calvary, may they display a mother’s care and thoughtfulness towards Thy children. May they teach souls to enter into close union with Thee through Mary who, as the Gate of Heaven, is specially the guardian of the treasures of Thy Divine Heart.

Give us priests who are on fire, and who are true children of Mary, priests who will give Jesus to souls with the same tenderness and care with which Mary carried the Little Child of Bethlehem.

Mother of sorrows and of love, out of compassion for Thy beloved Son, open in our hearts deep wells of love, so that we may console Him and give Him a generation of priests formed in thy school and having all the tender thoughtfulness of thine own spotless love.’