Winter is Waning

by Blue Heron

Winter is waning, and we see it in longer days, dew rather than frost on car windshields in the morning, and birds beginning to sing morning melodies. I sighed this morning as I walked out the front door and saw the lawn under cedar tress carpeted in crocuses. More a promise of Spring, because I am sure we will have another cough of winter before it decides to retire.

It is not the cold of winter that I find hard; but the lack of light. Winter has such a limited vocabulary; gray and grayer. I feel a little like the groundhog awakened from his winter nap, squinting in the sunlight. Part of me has been underground for a long time. Spring ushers in a renewal of energy. The sap in me is flowing stronger. I start planning projects for the yard, and even enjoying the morning alarm announcing a new day. I am not so sophisticated. It is foolish for me to thinking myself above other living creatures who are at the mercy o the seasons. We are all together cradled in a rhythm of season that touches our moods and longings.

It is in deep December, near the shortest of days, that we celebrate his birth. Often he comes at my lowest point bringing hope, with promises of a time when things will be better. The darkness of a winter season makes us realize the value of light.

Croci

Fiery Disk

By Sr. Fidelis

We’ve had two beautiful days at the Community of Jesus on Cape Cod….not a cloud in the sky, and the sun a true disk, arching through its course.

St. Gregory’s hymn for Wednesday Vespers speaks eloquently of the 4th day of Creation and describes such a day. In our digital world, it is a good reminder that God’s creation is what determines time and the length of days. The natural world and the spiritual world are so closely linked.

Most holy God of heaven, you who paint the shining center of the sky with the brightness of fire, enriching it with beautiful light,

You, who establishing on the fourth day the fiery disk of the sun, set up the orbit of the moon, and the wandering courses of the stars,

So that, to the nights or to the days you could give a line of separation, and to the beginnings of months, a most familiar sign:

Illumine the hearts of men; banish the sordid things of their soul; release the chain of guilt; make void the mass of their crimes.

Grant this, O most loving Father, and you, the only One equal to the Father, with the Spirit, the Paraclete, who reigns through every age. Amen.

The Community of Jesus

 

All That Sparkles

By Sr. Nun Other

Greetings from snow-entrenched Cape Cod! I spoke to someone yesterday who still loves snow, in spite of our current situation. Me? I’m ready to move on. Weather-enforced “quiet moments” in front of the fire no longer charm. Gazing at drifts and snow engraved foot prints does not delight me. I’m a house-bound fire cracker waiting for a match. But I’m aware I need to accept what God offers, in whatever form it comes. I have edges in need of smoothing and a will in need of taming. Isaiah 40:4 tells us that, “Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain.” If snow is the agent, so be it.

The Community of Jesus

Creation Longings

By Melodious Monk

Imagine, All the trees of the forest singing for Joy. From the great Sequoia’s of the Redwood forest to the scrub pines along the Cape Cod highways, imagine what all tree’s singing might sound like?  Will they be beautiful? Will they make audible words?

Imagine, The earth being opened and budding forth the Savior, all creation being in attendance.

Imagine, All of our longings, deepest desires and emptiness–reconciled, vanished.

Imagine, That today, Blessed are all the poor in spirit, for Light is shed upon the righteous and Joy on the upright in heart.

Imagine,  The possibilities for hope this year. For today, Hodie Christus Natus Est!

The Community of Jesus

 

 

 

Surprised by Joy

By Melodious Monk

I haven’t wanted to get out of bed all week. I wasn’t sure if it was tiredness, the gloomy weather, or all of the above! I couldn’t muster enough will-power to make this feeling go away. I asked for help from friends, tried exercising, praying, eating differently, but even the parts of the week I look forward to and expect to uplift me, didn’t help. Sunday  a group of young kids from Boston came to sing in our Church.  As I came through the back door of our Church in the afternoon, I heard their sound, and stopped.  I had forgotten these suburban area kids had traveled down to the Cape to spend a day at our facilities. I ran to the back door to peek in on their rehearsal.  Youthfulness, joy and honesty rang around the room. I stopped and listened long enough to see and hear the joy it was for these kids to sing. It made me smile, and remember that sometimes we must just keep putting one foot in front of another, not knowing when God might use a moment to re-awaken us inside.

The Community of Jesus

 

Come Wind and Weather!

Sunday we had a “Nor’easter.” Actually, it started Saturday with rain and high winds, and a sudden drop in temperature. I was outside Saturday evening greeting for the choir concert. The cloudy, rainy sky made things seem even darker than they were, and I wondered if people would come out on such a night. At around 7:00 they started to arrive — and they kept arriving straight through until 7:30! There were old people and young people, people with walkers, and a trio of laughing women holding their hoods tight against the wind. There was a blind woman and a deaf man and the proud family of one of the violin players. They hopped on the back of waiting golf carts and clung to the sides, laughing their way up the path to the church. I walked back and forth, offering my arm to people leaning against the wind. Everyone was smiling. One man even commented on how beautiful everything was. And I had to pause. I had started the evening almost apologetically, as if the bad weather was somehow my fault. It was a beautiful sight. The windows of the church and surrounding buildings lit the night with a warm light, almost like a beacon. And inside the church, while the choir, soloist and orchestra filled the space with the breathtaking music of Gerald Finzi, the beauty shone in the faces of the people listening. I forgot about the storm. There, gathered with strangers who somehow felt like friends, I found exactly why one would come out on such a night.

noreaster

Unburdening — Like The Rising Mist

By Renaissance Girl

I’ve always been intrigued by the verse in Genesis that says, “but there went up a mist from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground.” It puts this beautiful image in my mind of the Garden of Eden, colors alive with newness, in full bloom, and a fine mist hovering over it all catching the light. (I wonder if God gave a sneak preview of his rainbow).

I was up before the sun this morning — working on a project until it was time to take my dog out. I went a slightly different route than normal and arrived at the harbor around 6:30. The sun had just barely left the horizon, and was splashing the water with streaks of pink and gold. I stopped and my dog sat quietly. I turned my head to look towards the end of the harbor and there it was. Rising up from the water was a fine layer of mist, gently moving with the currents of air and rising to follow the sun. And, somehow, I felt some of my anxieties of the day lifting with it.

The Community of Jesus

Now You See Me, Now You Don’t

By Sr. Nun Other

As a child, Pennsylvania born, I enjoyed warm afternoons under the shade trees in our yard. My sister and I would picnic on peanut butter sandwiches and watch the sky dance between branches. As an adult on Cape Cod, I gravitated toward sunny beaches and beautiful sunsets without regret; however, circumstances recently led me to a lawn chair beneath a cluster of oak trees. It was a fascinating experience, both the present reality and the memories it evoked. Two squirrels shared the space, swinging from tree limbs, juggling acorns, and chattering to one another. Perhaps they sensed my presence; one chunky fellow suddenly fastened himself head-down on a tree trunk. Flattened against the bark, a natural camouflage, he was all but invisible.

I sometimes do a human version of this disappearing act. I flatten myself against an inward wall, facial expression neutral, unreadable and unreachable, emotion and reactions restrained. While the squirrel was protecting himself from possible predators, I protect myself from the reality of who I am unfiltered. In so doing, I block my need for Jesus and His desire to transform my life.

The Community of Jesus

Pentecost

By Renaissance Girl

I stood behind the camera this past Sunday morning – Pentecost. The day could not have been more beautiful, the best of Cape Cod. The church was decked in red, columns wrapped, darts of fabric from place to place, red banners the length of the facade. And we were decked in red, our scapulars pulling out the color of geraniums in the flower boxes. The sun glinted off the processional cross and curls of incense floated up out of the gently swinging thurible, adding a sense of mystery to the brightness.

The words of the Pentecost story echoed off the stone in the atrium and the tower bells rang out and mingled with the rush of the fountain as the narration announced the arrival of tongues of fire!

Behind the lens, I could zoom in and witness the sunlight glistening on drops of water as the fountain burst up – or the intent expression of the thurifer leading the procession, or the looks of expectancy as the doors swung open to enter the church.

The Church – born that day – and thriving still – many members of one body. Our celebration is just a sliver of what that day must have been like – when God let loose his Spirit on earth – a living memory. As Pope Francis said on this feast day, “It is the Holy Spirit that leads us down this road, the road of the living memory of the Church….and the more generous our response, the more Jesus’ words become life in us, become attitudes, choices, deeds, witness. In substance, the Holy Spirit reminds us of the commandment of love and calls us to live it.”

pentecosta

 

Special Beer Batter: Recipes From A Monastery Kitchen

By Gourmet Nun

When it is a Sister’s big birthday at the Convent we try to make it as special as we can.  Last week for her 60th birthday the Sister celebrating it chose for a theme “Spring on Cape Cod.”

Decorations included a variety of spring flowers and plants, forsythia and pussy willow and beautiful sea shells.

The menu was “Fish and Chips” served in divided little baskets. The atmosphere was purposefully casual with lots of fun and merry making. The food owed its success to this simple yet “Special Beer Batter” used for frying. 

Special Beer Batter
1 cup flour
1 can beer
1 egg
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon mustard
2 cups crushed potato chips

Pour beer into flour ’til thin.  Add 1 beaten egg, Worcestershire sauce and mustard. Dip fish or chicken in the batter and then roll in potato chip crumbs. Fry at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 3-4 minutes. 

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