Monday, August 31, 2009

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Good Shepherd icon

This icon of the Good Shepherd was written by one of the Brethren. It was a gift to our Provincial Superior in honor of the building of our House of Studies. The icon shows the Good Shepherd holding the House in His hands.

"The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack. In green pastures you let me graze; to safe waters you lead me; you restore my strength. You guide me along the right path for the sake of your name. Even when I walk through a dark valley, I fear no harm for you are at my side; your rod and staff give me courage. You set a table before me as my enemies watch; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Only goodness and love will pursue me all the days of my life; I will dwell in the house of the LORD for years to come."
Psalm 23

Friday, August 28, 2009

Skywatch Friday

"His dynasty will continue forever, his throne, like the sun before me. Like the moon it will stand eternal, forever firm like the sky!"
Psalm 89:37-38

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


We have several communication centers (bulletin boards) and several refrigerators (as well as a walk-in) in the monastery. But, the two refrigerators in our kitchen probably look pretty much like any refrigerator in a single family household. It has family pictures, magnets and reminders.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Lord's Day

"The Lord's Day — as Sunday was called from Apostolic times — has always been accorded special attention in the history of the Church because of its close connection with the very core of the Christian mystery. In fact, in the weekly reckoning of time Sunday recalls the day of Christ's Resurrection. It is Easter which returns week by week, celebrating Christ's victory over sin and death, the fulfilment in him of the first creation and the dawn of "the new creation" (cf. 2 Cor 5:17). It is the day which recalls in grateful adoration the world's first day and looks forward in active hope to "the last day", when Christ will come in glory (cf. Acts 1:11; 1 Th 4:13-17) and all things will be made new (cf. Rev 21:5)."
Dies Domini
The Lord's Day
Pope John Paul II

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Naked ladies

WHAT? Naked ladies in a men's monastery? Yes, we see these naked ladies every year. Naked ladies are also known as Amaryllis and Belladonna Lily. They are beautiful flowers.

Our internet connection has been down the last few days...hence, the lack of posts. But, we're up and running again. Unless I get shut down for searching "naked ladies" on the internet.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Garden statues

A recent post of "Our Lady's Garden" raised a couple of questions. Texasnascarcowgirl asked for a closeup picture of the statue and Dina and J. Evan Kreider asked about the smaller statue.

This is St. Michael the Archangel, the field commander of the army of God and patron saint of warriors. He is often portrayed as crushing the head of Satan - the force of evil.

Prayer to St. Michael
Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host -by the Divine Power of God -cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits, who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.
The larger statue is the "Immaculate Conception" to whom the garden is dedicated and named. The Immaculate Conception is a name given to Mary, the mother of Jesus, in deference to her own conception in the womb of her mother, St. Anne, without the stain of orignal sin. This was a special gift to Mary in preparation for her carrying of the Savior of the world.

Prayer to the Immaculate Conception
O God, who by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, did prepare a worthy dwelling place for Your Son, we beseech You that, as by the foreseen death of this, Your Son, You did preserve Her from all stain, so too You would permit us, purified through Her intercession, to come unto You. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end.

Monday, August 17, 2009

As the deer yearns for running streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, the living God. When can I go and see the face of God?
Psalm 42:2-3

This time of year, our resident deer are constantly in search of something green to eat. They even venture closer to the monastery than they usually do. We're hoping that they don't figure out how to jump over the fence of our new garden.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Our Lady's Garden

"I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now."
Phillipians 1:3-5

Our monastery has a big contingent of friends and benafactors who enjoy helping out around the monastery. This particular project, Our Lady's Garden, was a total volunteer effort (from idea to completed garden).

There are many ways of being a "partner in the gospel". Even getting one's hands dirty to bring glory to God by creating a new "prayer spot".

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Wild turkeys

I have long waited to get a picture of our resident turkeys (this is about half the family). I was able to sneak up on them from above. But, as soon as they heard the camera they flew over the side of hill. Yes, flying turkeys are an amazing sight.

Friday, August 14, 2009


Just another beautiful California sunset.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Pipe Organ

This is my usual view of the chapel.

"In the Latin Church the pipe organ is to be held in high esteem, for it is the traditional musical instrument which adds a wonderful splendor to the Church's ceremonies and powerfully lifts up man's mind to God and to higher things."

Sacrosanctum Concilium 120
Document of Vatican Council II

Monday, August 10, 2009

Doing dishes

"The Lord walks among the pots and pans."
OHM, St. Teresa of Jesus (aka Teresa of Avila)

Eating three meals together means a lot of dishes, especially without a dishwasher. So, we do it the old fashioned way - by hand. Fortunately, as the saying goes, "many hands makes light work". So, we get the job done quickly so we can move on to "recreation" (the time we spend together to relax and have some fun). I'll post on "recreation" at a later date.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Holy water font

At each door of the monastic Church there is a holy water font where we dip our fingers and then make the sign of the cross over ourselves. Holy water is clean, fresh water which has been blessed by a priest or bishop especially for use at baptism of new members. However, all Catholics use it as a reminder of their own baptism where they were admitted into the Christian Church.

The plaque over the font says "Ave Maria". This is latin for "Hail Mary" which is the first line of the Hail Mary prayer. This is a reminder of the greeting which St. Elizabeth proclaimed when she greeted her cousin and recognized that Mary was carrying the Messiah in her womb.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Skywatch Friday

It's been said that we must eat well, sleep well, and reacreate well in order to serve God well.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Interior Castle window

Directly across from the "Living Flame of Love" window is the "Interior Castle" window. This window is an artist rendition of St. Teresa of Avila's spiritual classic the "Interior Castle". St. Teresa of Avila, whom we consider our Holy Mother, reformed the Carmelite Order in the 16th century. The Interior Castle was one of several written works, which are considered spiritual classics in mystical theology, by this Doctor of the Church.

In the Interior Castle, St. Teresa guides souls to spiritual perfection in describing much of what she has experienced. St. Teresa envisioned the soul like a "castle made of a single which there are many rooms, just as in heaven there are many mansions". She describes the 7 rooms that a soul must pass to experience suffering, strife and purgation in order to reach the inner chamber where perfect union with God exists.

In the window you will notice seven rings of which each pertains to the first through seventh mansions. The center of the mansions shows a triangle, which represents the Most Holy Trinity in the inner chamber.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Living Flame window reflection #2

The late afternoon and evening light in the monastic Church can change during the different seasons of the year and even different times of the day. Because of the way the sun pours in from different angles, we often get movable light shows.

As I was leaving after Vespers last night, I noticed that the same reflection that was on the marble floor just 5 hours earlier (see yesterday's post) was now now hitting the organ pipe chamber; as the sun was lower the reflection was higher!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Living Flame of Love

My friends at Greensboro Daily Photo requested a photo of the stained glass window that was seen from the outside in an earlier post. This window is an artist rendition of St. John of the Cross' classic spiritual poem "The Living Flame of Love".

In the Living Flame of Love St. John of the Cross is putting into words the state of the soul that has reached the state of transformation which is the highest state attainable on earth, it is equivalent to what he frequently calls the spiritual marriage.

The Living Flame of Love
St. John of the Cross, Discalced Carmelite
Stanzas the Soul Recites in Intimate Union With God

O living flame of love
That tenderly wounds my soul
In its deepest center! Since
now you are not oppressive,
Now consummate! if it be your will
Tear through the veil of this sweet encounter!

O sweet cautery,
O delightful wound!
O gentle hand! O delicate touch
That tastes of eternal life
And pays every debt!
In killing you changed death to life.

O lamps of fire!
in whose splendors
The deep caverns of feeling,
Once obscure and blind,
Now give forth, so rarely, so exquisitely,
Both warmth and light to their Beloved.

How gently and lovingly
You wake in my heart,
Where in secret you dwell alone;
And in your sweet breathing,
Filled with good and glory,
How tenderly You swell my heart with love.

The relflection of the Living Flame window on the marble floor