Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Many (okay, about four) of you have asked if I'll continue to blog once I enter the cloister. At one point, I did briefly entertain ideas about writing out posts, sending them with my letters, and having friends put them onto the blog for me. But the closer I get to entering the enclosure, and the more I meditate on what it means to be enclosed, the less comfortable I am with such a plan. Enclosure isn't just about what you do or where you reside - it's about who you are. Enclosed nuns are utterly God's in a profound and radical way. This is what I believe God wants for me, and I can't do it halfway. On this feast of St. Clare, I pray for her intercession; I ask for her to obtain for me the grace to be fully and wholly His - since this is the only way to be fully and wholly me. I ask for your prayers as well and promise mine in return. For a glimpse of what my life will be like after this Saturday, I invite you to visit my community's website: www.poor-clares.org. If you have prayer requests, please send them to me at the following address:

Sara Galey c/o Monastery of the Poor Clares
5500 Holly Fork Road
Barhamsville, VA 23011

I may not be able to respond in writing very often, but I will always respond in prayer.

Peace be with you!

Monday, July 27, 2009

"Our Kids Dress Themselves"

I found this short (1:38) video while browsing this blog that I found from Conversion Diary's "7 Quick Takes Friday." Foster care/adoption is such a brave and beautiful act of giving - it always touches my heart to meet or hear about people who have opened their homes, lives and their very selves to children in need.

Cloistered nuns tend to have one or two causes that are especially important to them. They spend extra time in prayer for these things that God has placed in their hearts. As a Franciscan, I'll be dedicated to the conversion of sinners and the poor, but I think I'm also called to pray for children seeking love and stability through adoption or foster care.

Vocations directors for dioceses and religious orders often remark that a key point in many young people's discernment is someone posing a simple question to them: "Do you think you might be called to religious life/priesthood?" So I guess that's what I'm doing with this video - posing a question and hopefully planting a seed in someone's heart.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

On this feast of St. Mary Magdalene, l pray that her intercession will obtain for me this fidelity of love.

When Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and did not find the Lord’s body, she thought it had been taken away and so informed the disciples. After they came and saw the tomb, they too believed what Mary had told them. The text then says: The disciples went back home, and it adds: but Mary wept and remained standing outside the tomb.
We should reflect on Mary’s attitude and the great love she felt for Christ; for though the disciples had left the tomb, she remained. She was still seeking the one she had not found, and while she sought she wept; burning with the fire of love, she longed for him who she thought had been taken away. And so it happened that the woman who stayed behind to seek Christ was the only one to see him. For perseverance is essential to any good deed, as the voice of truth tells us: Whoever perseveres to the end will be saved.
At first she sought but did not find, but when she persevered it happened that she found what she was looking for. When our desires are not satisfied, they grow stronger, and becoming stronger they take hold of their object. Holy desires likewise grow with anticipation, and if they do not grow they are not really desires. Anyone who succeeds in attaining the truth has burned with such a great love. As David says: My soul has thirsted for the living God; when shall I come and appear before the face of God? And so also in the Song of Songs the Church says: I was wounded by love; and again: My soul is melted with love.
Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek? She is asked why she is sorrowing so that her desire might be strengthened; for when she mentions whom she is seeking, her love is kindled all the more ardently.
Jesus says to her: Mary. Jesus is not recognised when he calls her “woman”; so he calls her by name, as though he were saying: Recognise me as I recognise you; for I do not know you as I know others; I know you as yourself. And so Mary, once addressed by name, recognises who is speaking. She immediately calls him rabboni, that is to say, teacher, because the one whom she sought outwardly was the one who inwardly taught her to keep on searching.

- St. Gregory the Great, Pope

Holy St. Mary Magdalene, first to encounter our resurrected Lord, pray for us! Obtain for us the fidelity of love that anchored you at the foot of the cross and outside the empty tomb - the fidelity of love that opened your soul to the glory of the resurrection. Amen.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Immaculate Heart of Mary will triumph!

Today we specially contemplate the Immaculate Heart of Mary - it's one of my favorite remembrances. At Morning Prayer, I renewed my consecration to Christ through Mary's Immaculate Heart. I also placed the people I pray for under the mantle of her intercession.

The question "Can I love if I am broken?" is asked by our deeply troubled world in so many ways. We look at Mary's pierced and bleeding heart and answer with an enthusiastic "Yes!" When Christ gave her to us to be our own mother, she didn't say "Now wait a minute, I need some time to heal before I can take something like this on. I have to work through this pain - there's no way I could be of any use to someone else until I've gotten past all this." She lived the "yes" she had been living from the first moment of her existence and trusted God to not only show her how, knowing that He is the how.

In our suffering, we learn to love with the Love of God - not the superficial affection and lust the world offers as a cheap substitute. We're hesitant to love the way God loves. Who wants to be broken, vulnerable, raw, exposed? We try to fix ourselves and promise that once we get our own lives in order we'll be ready to take care of other people. It's an absolute lie - the oldest lie ever told - that we can fix ourselves, that we don't have to entrust ourselves to God, that we can be our own gods. We cannot heal ourselves - we will never get there - and in trying to do so, we cut ourselves off from the source of the very healing that we seek. Our attempts focus our energy and attention on ourselves and close us off from others. But God's presence, His Love, is mediated through those other people! We need to come together in our brokenness and let the love of God flow through us into others and through others into us. This is the same love that poured out of Christ as he hung on the cross - the Unbroken giving Himself to the broken, to be broken so that we can be healed. Dearest friends, I consecrated myself and all of you to this Love this morning because in entrusting ourselves to God, we are empowered to truly love!

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

In 4 more days I'll have 2 months to go!

As my entrance into religious life gets closer and closer, there are more and more questions posed to me everyday. Some are easy to answer ("Yes, I'm really not going to have sex ever again.") Some are harder. I ask myself the hard questions around this time of nights when I'm getting ready for bed. I like to fall asleep with them. People think this is odd - aren't the burning questions supposed to keep you up at night? I like to go to bed with these questions because in asking them, I'm drawn deeper into the Mystery. I learn about God, and I learn about myself. It's in the asking, the seeking, the desire that we come together. In this coming together, every question is answered - not with a forecast of things to come, but with the knowledge that I am His. I wonder about how this belonging will take shape, how I'll live it out over the next 60 or 70 years. All that really matters though, is that we know we are Loved and that someday, when the time is right, we will have been made able to stand in His unveiled presence and stare into His face with nothing but Love in our hearts. Good night everyone!

"The blink of an eye in itself is nothing, but the eye that blinks - that is something. A span of life in itself is nothing, but the man that lives that span - he is something."
- Chaim Potok The Chosen

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

67 days until I enter religious life! I'm so excited and happy!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have Mercy on Us!

The month of June is specially dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and so I offer this prayer:

The Raccolta
O Divine Heart of Jesus, grant, I beseech You, eternal rest to the souls in purgatory, final grace to all who are to die today, true repentance to sinners, the light of faith to those who do not know You, Your blessing to me and to all who are mine.
To You, O most loving Heart of Jesus, do I commend all these souls, and for them I offer all Your merits, together with the merits of the most Blessed Mother and of all the saints and angels, and also together with all the Sacrifices of the Mass, the Holy Communions, the prayers and good works that are made today throughout the entire Christian world. Amen.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Come Holy Spirit!

When the Lord told his disciples to go and teach all nations and baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, he conferred on them the power of giving men new life in God.
- St. Irenaeus

This is what we have received. What is our response?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Asceticism is not necessarily a denigration of the body, though it has often been misapplied for that purpose. Rather, it is a way of surrendering to reduced circumstances in a manner that enhances the whole person. It is a radical way of knowing exactly who, what and where you are.
- Kathleen Norris

When I first read this quote in Dakota, I thought to myself, "But we don't surrender to circumstances, we surrender to God." But then I realized than surrendering to God means accepting the way in which He is with us - circumstances, reality. If God's presence is mediated through our circumstances, then we must be meant to respond in the same way. God comes to us in reality and we respond by embracing our circumstances and living them with love, always mindful of His Presence.

P.S. I'm only 23 pages into Dakota, but I already feel confident recommending it highly.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Less than 3 months to go until I enter the monastery!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Prayer request

I ask for your prayers for my friend Adrienne's baby girl. She's been diagnosed with a rare and very serious heart defect. As soon as she's born, she'll be taken into surgery - the first of many operations to come. Please pray for Adrienne, her husband Tomas and their baby. St. John of God, pray for us!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Happy Anniversary Pope Benedict XVI!

Four years ago today, a Mormon coworker ran up to me (I was Episcopalian at the time) and exclaimed "Habemus Papam!" I replied, "I don't have a Pope, and you certainly don't have a Pope." In my head, I smugly thought "Stupid Catholics, they've got this old white guy who tells them what to do, and they actually listen! Not me! I love being Episcopalian because I get to decide what's true for me." Over the next year or so, I watched Pope Benedict's papacy unfold, and I ranted over and over again about how uncompromising I thought he was. The Holy Father's stance on issues like women's ordination or homosexuality could send me into an ironic tirade about "just being nice." At the time, I thought that's what Christianity boiled down to - just being nice. And of course, at this point I had only read what the media wrote about the Pope, not anything he'd written himself.

Four years later, I'm grateful and proud to be included in the "we" of "Habemus Papam!" What changed? At some point, I realized that truth is objective - it's not about what's right for me or right for you, it's about what's true. I came to understand that Christianity is about love (not simply being nice) and when you truly love someone, you're willing to call them out on the things they think and say and do that aren't good for them - even if it means that they don't like you anymore, even when the popular culture turns against you, even (and especially) when it means suffering with someone that you love when it would be so much easier and less painful to just let them do whatever they want to do. I started reading what Pope Benedict had to say about controversial issues, and it made sense - rational, logical sense! I had spent so much time trying to justify what I wanted to be true that I'd started to confuse argument with discernment. The idea of starting at Truth and building my life - our life - around it (instead of deciding what I wanted to do and then contorting and reducing Truth to fit it where it was convenient) was revolutionary to me. I'd never thought this way before, and I'd certainly never lived this way.

I wanted to though. When I thought about what had brought me to Christianity in the first place, I realized that this is the only rational way to live. I had had a sense that there was more to life and more to me than what I could comprehend. That sense led me to seek this "More." Although I didn't realize it at the time, that seeking was mostly in inner process of opening myself to a Presence that was right in front of me (actually, at the deepest part of me) the whole time. When I encountered this Presence I knew right away that This is what I had been longing for, This is why nothing else had ever satisfied me. So why did I almost immediately start twisting my new faith into something that fit into my old life? Original sin? Selfishness? The need to control my life even if that means forcefully reducing it to something tiny enough to hold when it should be bigger than I can grasp and that's part of what makes it so beautiful? Probably a combination of those things and many others. My anger at Pope Benedict was one of the major factors that shook me out of that closed, distorted complacency. It opened me to the idea that maybe there was more to God than what I thought I understood. The Pope is uncompromising on matters of Truth because Truth cannot be compromised - any attempt to do so ends badly for everyone involved. If God is Truth and God is Love, then Love and Truth are one and the same. Reducing Truth means reducing Love - why did I ever think that was a good idea? What I came to to understand and am now trying to put into practice is that it's me that has to conform to Truth and that in doing so I become my true self - the person God created me to be, sharing His divine life of love.

Holy Father, thank you for your witness! Thank you for loving us (like any good parent) enough to not diminish the Truth that we are called to know! Alles Gute zum Jubilaum!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Divine Mercy Novena - Day Four!

"Today bring to Me those who do not believe in God and those who do not know Me,

I was thinking also of them during My bitter Passion, and their future zeal comforted My Heart. Immerse them in the ocean of My mercy."

Most compassionate Jesus, You are the Light of the whole world. Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who do not believe in God and of those who as yet do not know You. Let the rays of Your grace enlighten them that they, too, together with us, may extol Your wonderful mercy; and do not let them escape from the abode which is Your Most Compassionate Heart.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls of those who do not believe in You, and of those who as yet do not know You, but who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Draw them to the light of the Gospel. These souls do not know what great happiness it is to love You. Grant that they, too, may extol the generosity of Your mercy for endless ages. Amen.

*Our Lord's original words here were "the pagans." Since the pontificate of Pope John XXIII, the Church has seen fit to replace this term with clearer and more appropriate terminology.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Tell us Mary...

To the Paschal Victim, Christians, offer a sacrifice of praise. The Lamb has ransomed His sheep; the innocent Christ has reconciled sinners with the Father. Death and Life confronted each other in a prodigious battle; the Prince of Life who died, now lives and reigns.
"Tell us, Mary, what did you see upon the way?"
"I saw the sepulchre of the living Christ; I saw the glory of the Risen One. I saw the angels, His witnesses, the shroud and the garments. Christ, my hope, is risen; He will go before His own into Galilee."
We know that Christ is truly risen from the dead; O Victorious King, have mercy on us.
- The Easter Sequence

Saturday, April 11, 2009

From an ancient homily for Holy Saturday:

Something strange is happening – there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.
He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: “My Lord be with you all.” Christ answered him: “And with your spirit.” He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”
I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated. For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.
See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.
I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.
Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.

Divine Mercy novena days two and three

Friday, April 10, 2009

If we wish to understand the power of Christ’s blood, we should go back to the ancient account of its prefiguration in Egypt. “Sacrifice a lamb without blemish,” commanded Moses, “and sprinkle its blood on your doors.” If we were to ask him what he meant, and how the blood of an irrational beast could possibly save men endowed with reason, his answer would be that the saving power lies not in the blood itself, but in the fact that it is a sign of the Lord’s blood. In those days, when the destroying angel saw the blood on the doors he did not dare to enter, so how much less will the devil approach now when he sees, not that figurative blood on the doors, but the true blood on the lips of believers, the doors of the temple of Christ.
If you desire further proof of the power of this blood, remember where it came from, how it ran down from the cross, flowing from the Master’s side. The gospel records that when Christ was dead, but still hung on the cross, a soldier came and pierced his side with a lance and immediately there poured out water and blood. Now the water was a symbol of baptism and the blood, of the holy Eucharist. The soldier pierced the Lord’s side, he breached the wall of the sacred temple, and I have found the treasure and made it my own. So also with the lamb: the Jews sacrificed the victim and I have been saved by it.
“There flowed from his side water and blood.” Beloved, do not pass over this mystery without thought; it has yet another hidden meaning, which I will explain to you. I said that water and blood symbolized baptism and the holy Eucharist. From these two sacraments the Church is born: from baptism, “the cleansing water that gives rebirth and renewal through the Holy Spirit,” and from the holy Eucharist. Since the symbols of baptism and the Eucharist flowed from his side, it was from his side that Christ fashioned the Church, as he had fashioned Eve from the side of Adam Moses gives a hint of this when he tells the story of the first man and makes him exclaim: “Bone from my bones and flesh from my flesh!” As God then took a rib from Adam’s side to fashion a woman, so Christ has given us blood and water from his side to fashion the Church. God took the rib when Adam was in a deep sleep, and in the same way Christ gave us the blood and the water after his own death.
Do you understand, then, how Christ has united his bride to himself and what food he gives us all to eat? By one and the same food we are both brought into being and nourished. As a woman nourishes her child with her own blood and milk, so does Christ unceasingly nourish with his own blood those to whom he himself has given life.
- Saint John Chrysostom
We're praying a Divine Mercy novena. It starts today. Pray with us!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Should I be in bed?

Yes! But I'm going to write a quick note in response to a comment left on my last post because I've been thinking this very thing. Rachel says "I don't understand why I keep forgetting." I don't understand either. I'm always encountering situations that show me just how little I really know. Reflecting on these situations, I always think "didn't I know better?" But in each of these episodes I do learn something - even if it's something small or something that seems small at the time. And I'm drawn just a little deeper into the Mystery that is our God. And I'm reminded that I NEED Jesus Christ; I cannot perfect myself. Our victory is in Him so maybe when we forget, it's Him that we're forgetting. When we remember Christ - seek His presence which, through Faith, we know is a constant reality - we remember all we need to know. Everything comes together in Him. (Side note: everything comes together in Him, and I'm going to be His spouse! I'm floored by this! Absolutely floored! And very, very grateful.)

What I love about Faith is the exact this that used to frustrate me about it when I was an atheist: every answer leads to another question! It wasn't until I encountered God and came to know Him that I understood why this is so: it's because the answer to all our questions is a Who, not a what. Things can be known thoroughly and absolutely. People can't. Can you ever fully know another person? I don't think so. You can know them better and better and better, but never completely. God is a divine, infinite, eternal Person so it would be ever more impossible to know Him completely. At first this may seem sad, but it's actually beautiful because it means that we get to spend the rest of eternity being drawn deeper and deeper into communion with Love Himself! There's always more!

And now I really must go because it's 10:30 and I have to be up at 5:00 and I haven't even prayed evening prayer yet!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Holy Week is here! The time of our redemption is at hand!

I've been thinking about Palm/Passion Sunday. I like that way of writing it because it satisfies the new school and the old school, and because it encompasses the two main events that we encounter on this day - the triumphal entry and the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Without fail, I always find myself meditating on the fickleness of people. Some years I've thought of this subject in a smug, superior sort of way, "How could the Children of Israel welcome Christ and hail Him as their King and then scream for His crucifixion a few days later?" Other years, I reflect on my own life and see how I do the same thing - professing my love for Christ at daily Mass and then bitching out one of my coworkers a few hours later. I'd like to jump in here and tell myself that it's not really the same thing, but the Bible reminds us over and over again that loving God and loving other people are inseparable.

This year, I asked myself "why?" Why do I say that I love God above all things and then fail to live that out in my life outside of Mass? Here's what I've got so far. I don't understand the meaning of love. Almost every time I tell God I love Him, it's a warm fuzzy feeling that I'm talking about. This is not love. It's consolation - nothing more or less. Consolations remind us that we are loved - they are not love in and of themselves. If I never felt another consolation, if for the rest of my life I felt nothing while I prayed, felt nothing at Mass, felt nothing after receiving Christ in the Eucharist, does that mean that God doesn't love me? No! I should be reminded of His love every time I look at a crucifix. True love is an act of will. True love intentionally places another's good before my own, even when it's difficult, even if it means a total emptying of myself.

This is why we cannot love without God. This is how the death of Christ gives life to us. In a broken world, love and suffering can't be separated. Pouring ourselves out for others often feels like pouring water into a broken jar - pointless and never ending. We need God, who is Love Himself, inside of our souls. We love because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19) We need to remain in the source of love and we need Him to remain in us. In the person of Jesus Christ, true Love and eternal Life entered this world as one of us, fully embraced suffering and death, and rose to show Himself victorious. United to Him in baptism, confirmed by Him in our identity as children of God and members of His Body, continuously nourished by Him in the Eucharist, healed by Him in reconciliation, we are victorious too!

The Jewish people wanted a Messiah and King to come in and set everything right, and they had a certain idea of what that would look like. We also have many ideas about what God should be doing to set things right in the world - no more war, poverty, abortion, pollution, whatever. What we all fail to see is that none of these things will be fixed until we are fixed, and that is what Christ's life, death and resurrection is accomplishing - to the degree that each of us allows in our own hearts and lives. I think, for the rest of Holy Week, when I feel a consolation, I'll offer it back to God and ask for the grace to love as He loves.

P.S. Back in January, Suzanne of Come to See wrote this post. It moved me deeply and I've been wanting to link to it ever since. Now is the time - it's a beautiful reflection for Holy Week.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I must direct you to the comments on my last two post because the are exceptional. Here's what I got out of them (a little of my own stuff and maybe some C.S. Lewis thrown in too):

Have you ever noticed that, often, questions of "how?" can be answered by asking "why?"? It's very true with the question "How can I stay engaged in the present while looking forward to the future?" If I asked "Why should I stay engaged in the present?" the answer would be "Because Christ is there. The present is where Eternity meets time. (that's the C.S. Lewis)" So I can answer my original question by looking for Christ in every situation, asking Him to reveal Himself to me, asking His mother to help me see Him, being led by friends/witnesses who show Him to me. I think asking "why?" gets to the core issues - isn't "why?" what we're really asking with our whole lives? Any other question focuses on what we do - "why?" focuses on who we are.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Sigh. I'm trying not to live the next few months as an endless countdown. I know I need to live in the present. I know I need to keep engaging my life now, not starting August 15. It's really hard sometimes though, especially when the "now" is unpleasant. Any advice? Sometimes I don't even know where to start.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


I've realized that until now I mistakenly regarded Faith, Hope and Trust as steps, or phases of a process.  Now I think of the transition/transformation as more of a deepening understanding.  How could I move beyond Faith?  Silly!  This relationship is not only the source of my life, it's what sustains it.  Plants grow up out of soil, but they remain rooted in it.  They are continually  nourished by it.  And their ability to grow up is dependent on how deeply they are rooted.  If faith were merely an agreement with a fact, it would be static, shallow and abstract.  Faith is an organic relationship, the ability to know God - life Himself.  When we know God and understand that our Source is good, we have certainty about the goodness of our future - this is called Hope.  How am I doing?

Friday, March 13, 2009

A quick update

My trip to the convent was wonderful - literally full of wonder. Wonder at God's love for us and this beautiful grace He's given me in my vocation. As long as all goes according to plan I'll enter religious life on the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Aug. 15). That's only five months away! I've always been a little annoyed by girls who get engaged and then go around squealing and gushing and hugging everybody. Now I get it. I hold it in pretty well, but there's definitely a part of me who wants to run up to everyone I've ever met and squeal "I'm going to be a nun!" and then hug them and jump up and down.

The details of my visit aren't too interesting because most of the important stuff happened in my heart and I have a hard time putting those things into words. You know how Mary "pondered these things in her heart"? That's what I'm doing. There are a few highlights I can mention though:
-I got to meet a few of the other Sisters. Until this visit I'd only met the Mother Superior and the two Portresses. This time I got to spend some time with the Mother Vicoress and a few of the other nuns. It was nice to get to know them and very encouraging to see how truly happy they are. It really is possible to live this way!
-Mother Clare asked if I thought I could learn to play the organ... in five months... unless Saint Cecilia wants to pray up a miracle for me I don't think it's going to happen, but I'm still committed to learning as much as I can in the time I have.
-I had the first part of my psychological testing evaluated, and I'm not crazy!

I haven't been posting since I got back because I've just been too busy. That's probably not going to change anytime soon so I won't be blogging much until after Easter. Speaking of Easter, please remember to pray for our soon to be brothers and sister who are preparing to receive the Easter sacraments! God bless you in this holy season of Lent.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I'm off to the convent! Just for a visit though. Please pray for me. I'll pray for you. Oh, and since I won't be back until after Ash Wednesday, I'm going to declare my Lent intentions now:

1.) No eating out. Save the money I would have spent and donate it to Catholic Relief Services and the Good Samaritan Program at my parish.

2.) No gossiping or bitching - that's right, I said bitching, because when I'm really cranky, the word "complaining" doesn't adequately describe what comes out of my mouth. Instead, I'm going to find something positive and encouraging to say. If that's not an option, I'm going to keep quiet and pray. Dear friends, please hold me to this one!

3.) Morning and Evening prayer everyday - this happens pretty often, but it needs to be the focus of my routine, not something I just fit in.

I'll probably add a few more thing once I've had a little more time for prayer and reflection on the subject.

24 hours from now, my alarm will be going off for Matins!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

more prayers

1.) Rebecca asks your prayers for her father Cliff as he continues treatment for prostate cancer. She also asks you to pray that her family will come to know God.

2.) My dear friend Barbara is training to do her first triathlon! She's faced some difficult challenges over the last year or so, and I think finishing this event successfully would mean a lot to her.

3.) Your prayers for my continuing discernment are such a blessing to me - sometimes they almost feel like a physical embrace. I'd especially appreciate your prayers next week, when I'll be visiting my convent again - I hope to return as an aspirant!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Prayer requests

The world needs prayer - organized, specific, intentional prayer that seeks the will of God to be fulfilled in those we pray for. I ask your prayers for these intentions that are especially close to my heart at this time. If you have any prayer requests, please leave them in the comments and I'll update the post as I am able. Some have mentioned difficulties posting comments on my blog. Since I don't know how to fix that, please email me at eternalthermos@gmail.com if you can't post in the comment section. This post comes from my desire to be joined to others in prayer. Wherever two or three are gathered in my name....

1.) My best friend Meghann's husband Raul was sent back to Mexico a few months ago. They're having problems with his green card application. This left Meghann to care for and support their one year old daughter on her own. Meghann was recently laid off and hasn't been able to find a new job.

2.) My friend Holly's father Al suffered two heart attacks a few days ago. He seems to be doing well, but we still don't know if he'll have to undergo open heart surgery. More information here on Scott's blog (Holly is his wife).

3.) Suzanne's mom is battling cancer again. More information on her blog here.

4.) Annie is in need of a new job as well.

5.) Jennifer of Conversion Diary is getting ready to be induced in about two weeks. This baby will make four children under five years old! Jennifer has difficult pregnancies to to a clotting disorder. Read more in this post from August where she announces baby number four.

6.) My mother is a respiratory therapist. She often works in the ER taking care of trauma patients. Recently a man was brought in who had tried to end his life by shooting himself in the head. He didn't die, but his face is almost completely gone.

7.) Michelle and her husband are seeking a deeper relationship with God.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

poor in spirit

Suzanne has been posting some amazing pieces on her blog Come to See. As I continue to ask what it means to be poor in spirit, I keep coming back to this blog. There's an openness and a sense of awed gratitude in these posts that answers the questions I've been asking with an experience, not just a definition. I'm very thankful.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Up at one in the morning

Any thoughts on what it means to be poor in spirit? I think I have a good idea of what it's not. But defining what something isn't is not the same as understanding what something is.

My mom's partner is a therapist. When one of her clients tells her a quality they'd like to posess, Deb asks "What would that look like?" I guess that's what I've been asking myself. What would it be like to be poor in spirit? How would I live that everyday?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Nun stuff

If you have five minutes, please watch this short video about the life of some encolsed nuns in New Jersey. I'll be visiting my monastery again at the end of February. After that, it should only be about six months until I enter! I'm so excited and so very grateful for this vocation.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I helped a friend procure an abortion, and I regret it.

Several years ago I helped a friend procure an abortion. I drove her to the clinic and "protected" her from the women who tried to talk to her as we walked into the building. Even then, as a pro-choice atheist, I regretted that decision. I had bought into the theory of "reproductive freedom" but when it came time to practice what I thought I believed, I knew I had gotten something wrong. I told myself that it wasn't really a baby - just a clump of cells - but I couldn't make myself forget that that "clump of cells" had a heart beat, that at one point in our development I and all my friends were "clumps of cells". The world reduces people to what they can do, so an embryo that is still forming has no value because it can't contribute anything. The message of Christ is that we are more than our sins, accomplishments, choices, etc. Are lives are worth infinitely more than any quantifiable measurement of their contribution. Who we are is created for Eternity. All we will become is present in who we are right now, just as all I am today was present 27 years ago in a "clump of cells". Today is the anniversary of the supreme court's Roe v. Wade decision. Here is a link to a short video featuring the former Jane Roe; she regrets her the role she played in legalizing abortion. Please pray for an end to abortion, and an end to the reasons people seek abortions.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Someday I'll start posting again, but I just don't have the time right now. Peace be with you!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

What I would have said at School of Community tonight if my car hadn't broken down and I had been able to go.

A lot has been going on for the past few weeks that's left me feeling trapped and overwhelmed. I was thinking and praying about the situation while I stood in my mechanic's waiting room, and at one point I said to God "I just want to be free!" Then I realized that I had fallen back into confusing freedom with getting my own way and that if freedom really means the ability to become who I was created to be then my circumstances are not really an issue. This realization awakened the hope that I'd stopped looking for when I got too busy feeling sorry for myself. My hope is this: that God is not working around my circumstances, He's working in them. None of this is really new to me, but apparently I need to keep repeating these lessons in order to actually learn them. Giussani said something about that in one of the Is It Possible To Live This Way? books, but I can't find the actual quote.

Monday, January 5, 2009

From St. Augustine

What human being could know all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden in Christ and concealed under the poverty of his humanity? For being rich, he became poor for our sake so that by his poverty we might become rich. When he assumed our mortality and overcame death he manifested himself in poverty: his poverty was not a sign of riches lost but a promise of riches to come later. How great is the abundance of the delights that he conceals from those who fear him but prepares for those that hope in him! Until what is being prepared arrives, we can understand only in part. To make us worthy of this perfect gift, he, equal to the Father in the form of God, became like us in the form of a servant, and he re-forms us to be like God. The only Son of God, having become the son of Man, makes many sons of men the sons of God. Taking on the form of a servant, he takes those who were born and brought up as servants and gives them the freedom of seeing the face of God. For we are the children of God, and what we shall become has not yet appeared. We know that, when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. What, then, are those treasures of wisdom and knowledge? What are those divine riches unless they are what is sufficient for us? What is that multitude of delights unless it is what fills us? Show us the Father and it is sufficient enough for us. In one of the psalms one of us — either with us or on our behalf — said to him, I shall be filled when your glory appears. But he and the Father are one, and whoever sees him sees the Father also, so the Lord of hosts, he is the King of Glory. He will bring us back, he will show us his face and we shall be saved; we shall be filled, and he will be sufficient for us. Until this comes to pass, until he gives us the sight of what will completely satisfy us, until we drink our fill of him, the fountain of life — while we wander about, apart from him but strong in faith, while we hunger and thirst for justice, longing with a desire too deep for words for the beautiful vision of God, let us fervently and devotedly celebrate the anniversary of his birth in the form of a servant. We cannot yet contemplate the fact that he was begotten by the Father before the dawn, so let us hold on to the fact that he was born of the Virgin in the night. We do not yet understand how his name endures before the sun, so let us acknowledge his tabernacle placed in the sun. Since we do not, as yet, gaze upon the Only Son inseparably united with His Father, let us remember the Bridegroom coming out of his bride-chamber. Since we are not yet ready for the banquet of our Father, let us acknowledge the manger of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Sunday, January 4, 2009