October 21, 2013

The Nagging Widow: A Model for Prayer

M. Rebecca creatively interprets the first reading and the Gospel for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary time.  It boils down to this: what we pray for we must desire passionately and that we must pray.  The nagging woman in the Gospel was passionately seeking justice and truth and she persisted in her prayer.      

                                                                                                                                                                                   M. Rebecca    
                                                                                                                                                                                  October 20, 2013
 Ex 17:8-13; Lk 18:1-8
            Today’s first reading gives a wonderful image of intercessory prayer.  At first glance we can rejoice with how we can support each other in and through our prayers.  But as we look closer we realize that (Hey!) Moses’ prayer is that his enemies be slaughtered and “mowed down”!   We need to be cautious in how we interpret this model that Exodus presents, especially in today’s world with so much violence and terrorism associated with religious beliefs…or more accurately ‘misbeliefs”.  (Unfortunately, even our own Christian heritage has had its periods of violence.)   If taken literally, Moses’ model of prayer is dangerous.  So let us take a further look. 

October 7, 2013

Setting Fire to the Human Heart

The reading for the 27th Sunday in Ordinary time speak of Faith.  Our faith in Jesus will set our hearts on fire if we allow it.

 Habakkuk 1: 2-3; 2:24                                                                                               Sr. Carol Dvorak
2 Timothy 1: 6-8; 13-14
Luke 17: 5-10

Looking at all three readings for today’s Eucharist, it’s pretty evident that the theme is faith!  As I read and pondered these readings, two things jumped out at me.  One was the Gospel’s mustard seed parable.  Did you ever think of Jesus as represented by a mustard seed?  St. Ambrose wrote a beautiful passage asking if “we would know Christ the seed and Christ the sown? 

The Rich Man and Lazurus

Being rich isn't what got the rich man in trouble after all Abraham was fabulously rich.  Abraham was known for his care of others and his rich hospitality.  The rich man didn't share, didn't even notice a man in real need.

Amos 6:1a, 4-7; Ps 146:7, 8-9.9-10; Timothy 6:11-16, Luke 16:19-31                         Sr. Christine Reinhart

            In the gospel of the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, Luke describes the extremes of the two men. The rich man is very richly dressed in purple, fine linen and feasting every day magnificently, while the poor man is covered with sores, desperately hungry and lying at the rich man’s door. Only the dogs which were considered unclean gave him relief.

October 2, 2013

Shocking Parables

M. Rebecca uses this challenging parable to highlight where real treasure in our lives are found.  We are not compelled to live in the ways of the world but called to be ambitious about heavenly things.
                                                                                                                                                                                              M. Rebecca
Lk 16:1-13
            I remember as a child hearing the story of Robin Hood and even at that age I wondered why he would be considered a hero for anyone.  He stole from the rich to give to the poor.   Without the vocabulary in those early years, what I was feeling and questioning was “Does the end justify the means?”   Is doing something wrong for a good purpose make it right?  It seems Jesus is saying yes – it is okay to use dishonest wealthy to your advantage…and even commends the steward for his prudence.
            Parables are meant to shock or puzzle us in order to make us think differently and deeply.  

September 17, 2013

A Talk about Sons and Fathers

M. Rebecca compares the relationship between the father and the prodigal son with the relationship with King David and his son Absalom  to show how forgiveness must include repentance, consolation and celebration in order to open up a window to new life.  Forgiveness must allow us freedom to live again…for both parties...to be able to celebrate life together. This involves a dying to self which leads to freedom in Christ.
                                                                                                                                                                                             M. Rebecca

Luke 15 with 2 Samuel 13-19

Today’s gospel of the Prodigal son reminds me of the tumultuous relationship between David and his son, Absalom that is described in 2Samuel Chapters13-19. I noticed a parallel of the prodigal son and his father with Absalom and his father, David. The Old Testament of story forgiveness and reconciliation didn’t work and I think the NT parable can help us understand why. The prodigal son goes to a foreign land and does some pretty destructive things. Absalom goes to a foreign land because he has done some pretty destructive things. (Like premeditated murder!) Absalom is eventually pardon and returns home BUT David says, “Let him return to his own house, but do not let him see my face”. (How different this is from the prodigal son’s father!) It is assumed David did this in order to give Absalom time to repent. But rather than repentance it created resentments – Absalom is frustrated to not have access to the royal palace or perhaps even a fattened calf to share with friends. Because he does not recognize his own need for mercy and forgiveness, much like the elder son in Luke’s gospel, he is led not to repent but to resent!

September 1, 2013

A Talk for the Start of 'Candy Season'

This Chapter Talk was given on September 1, 2013.  Traditionally we start what we call "Candy Season" on Labor Day each year. Candy Season for us involves longer work hours and lots more candy production as we gear up for candy sales for Thanksgiving and Christmas. As for many people September hails a new beginning, a new school year, a new job etc. Whatever the new task perhaps M. Rebecca's words to the sisters at Mississippi Abbey on "Candy Season" will be applicable in your own life.            
                                                                                                                                                                                             M. Rebecca
As we learned at our brunch with Archbishop Jackels last Sunday, we are moving into…football season! …but something we are more aware of is that we are also moving into candy season. Like football, we too need a ‘team spirit’ during our candy season. But unlike football, we have no opponents and so we do not need a plan of defense (God forbid!) and especially not an offensive strategy! Rather we enter this season, as today’s gospel theme points out, with a desire for humility. What kind of football team would be any good if their quarterback was gentle or the receiver acquiesced to the other’s will. Yet what would our candy crews be like if we weren’t!!

August 20, 2013

A Talk for Sister Annas Simple Profession

The following Chapter talk was given by M. Rebecca for Sr Anna’s simple profession/St Bernard’s Feast Day, August 20, 2013

Anna, what do you ask?... Sr. Anna’s response “the mercy of God and of the order” Community response: Thanks be to God.
                                                                                                                                                                                               M. Rebecca
A few days ago, on the Assumption, we sought the advice of a few saints for Mary’s clothing. So it would seem fitting today that we would look to St Bernard for some advice on your simple profession. St Bernard called the monastery ‘a School of Love’. He felt the main object of monastic life was to restore our true nature which was created in the image and likeness of God. In other words, we are created for love and for self-surrender.

August 15, 2013

A Talk for the Feast of the Assumption

The following Chapter talk was given by M. Rebecca on August 15, the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  At Chapter Mary Hastie, postulant, received the habit and became Sr. Mary Therese.    

"Mary, What do you ask?"… "May the Lord help you"                                                                                    M. Rebecca

St Bernard explains to us in his first sermon for the Assumption, why we should rejoice this day…it is because today Mary is received at the entrance of heaven by Him who was received by her at His entrance into the world. Both receptions are full of joy: that of her son being received by His mother; and now today, His mother, being received by her son…and that joy is joined with all the angels and saints in heaven and on earth.