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What a living icon of love and compassion I saw in the Infirmary today. An old sister with Alzheimer’s, looking up into the face of a gentle, young sister. The smile on the older sister was radiant, beatific and she held on to the hand of the younger sister's hand with so much love and strength. One face, old with bright shining eyes full of longing and love, the other face young, full of love and tears as she experienced the beauty of the older sister. As I looked at the younger sister we both experienced the pain of love and diminishment. What will mine be like, Jesus.
June seems to be the month of great solemnities and also little Cistercian saints—Gerard, Lutgard and Joseph Cassant. I could not help but see their littleness against the backdrop of the June solemnities—Ascension, Pentecost, Trinity, Corpus Christi and the Sacred Heart—although this year the Sacred Heart has slipped into July! These little ones were born to become Cistercian saints, through these very mysteries and the graces flowing from them, and mingling with their littleness to make them great in their own small way.
Jesus, among your many gifts there are two which touch my heart, my life deeply and transform the ordinariness of my human existence into a life offered and embraced with love and gratitude. The Eucharist and the your Indwelling! These blessings came to my mind as I was pondering on the mystery of Corpus Christi, which we celebrate this month. Your gift of your very self, given in love, overwhelms my intellect but not my heart. My heart knows without doubt the truth of your words "This is my body, my blood....
Vigils readings not stirring my heart these days. How I long for some readings from Rahner or Merton again. Dry period here, Jesus! They are so "incarnational" and life giving to me. Poor me!! You know all things; you know that I love you but sometimes that love leads me to pretty dry places. I like to be watered by the beauty and encouragement I find in these writers. Merton, for me is an icon of a real monk—full of contradictions, full of life, full of love and kindness, mischievous and ready for fun at the drop of a hat.
Planning celebrations for Abbess' feast day. The sisters are so willing and even longing to share their "talents" for the joy of the community. I love that line at the end of RB, "...and may he bring us together to life everlasting". Sounds good to me. We have walked the monastic journey together so why not go to Him together. Who was it who saw us all just sitting outside the gates of heaven waiting for us all to go together! Hope we don't have to wait too long! To me it is the little things we do together which make community life so enriching.
Jesus, I have been deeply touched by an event today. A first in history—a Pope speaking directly to a crew at the space station! I have just finished reading the account of Pope Benedict's phone call to the space shuttle crew and the crew of the space station. There was warmth and simplicity which one sometimes misses in Benedict but somehow you know it is there.
May 21st is a very, special day in our lives as Cistercians. The anniversary of our seven monks who were kidnapped and assassinated in Algeria. Jesus, they are never far from my mind and heart since we have seen the movie 'Of Gods and Men' which tells the story of their life at Our Lady of Atlas, Tibhirine, their struggle to come to a decision as to stay in Tibhirine or leave due to the many assassinations which were occurring and coming closer to their own monastery.