The Right Book at the Right Time: A Divine Encounter

“Because for some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth, what a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you.”—Annie Lamott

I believe the right book comes along at just the right time.

As both bibliophile and believer in a God of surprises, how could I not? Whether at home or away, SolariumI always have a book, or ten, by my bedside. I like to have choices. I have dozens of books on shelves I want to re-read (and do) (and will). I also have dozens of books that I haven’t read yet. So when I go away, I pack 3 or 4 to choose from depending on my mood.  When I’m at St. Benedict Center, sometimes the books don’t even leave my suitcase; instead I let Serendipity choose for me. I go into the solarium, peruse the book titles and wait for one to speak to me. And the right book always presents itself. There is never a wrong choice. Continue reading “The Right Book at the Right Time: A Divine Encounter”

Benedictine Spirituality, Hospitality…and My Favorite Monks

I’m not sure how it really started, that I call the monks of Christ the King PriorymonksMy Favorite Monks”, but I’ve been calling them that for several years now. Once upon a time, I didn’t know ANY monks and now I have “favorite” monks. It was an advertisement in the Lincoln newspaper for a contemplative prayer retreat that brought me to St. Benedict Center (and the Monastery, across the street) in 2002. I am grateful to the monks who have shared their faith and wisdom through contemplative and guided retreats (dozens of them!), the Oblate program, Continue reading “Benedictine Spirituality, Hospitality…and My Favorite Monks”

Altars: A Sacred Space

“Altars can be very powerful…We acknowledge an incarnate God who speaks through symbols and the things of our everyday lives, and responds to our longings. A personal altar is a sacred space where we can re-center and reconnect with the Holy Presence dwelling in our midst–a place to honor the desires of lives with beauty. Altars help give voices to the longings bubbling up within us, long before we can put them into words.” ~The Artist’s Rule, Christine Valters Paintner

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I have to confess that having an altar was not my idea. It was a gift of love from my daughter, Jessica, and my friend, Joyce, when I was going through a difficult time. I came home from school one day to furniture rearranged and an altar created with some of my favorite sacred objects, as well as some new ones Continue reading “Altars: A Sacred Space”

Anticipatory Joy ~ Vorfreude!

Vorfreude, a German word meaning “anticipatory joy”, captures that bursting-with-excitement, overflowing-with-enthusiasm, oh-my-God-I-can-hardly-wait-for-the-awesomeness-to-come state of being. Sometimes there really are no words to explain our feelings. Lucky for us, there are different languages, perspectives, experiences and images that can bring us closer to understanding ourselves and the Divine.
Where does this bubbling-over joy come from?
Is our joy from the anticipation itself? Perhaps. Sometimes.
The Germans have a saying, “Vorfreude ist die schönste Freude!” which means “The greatest joy lies in the anticipation.” How wonderful it is to look forward to something with this kind of joy!
I believe this joy can be sustained for longer than that experience we are looking forward to.
As we stand in the flow of Divine Love, we receive the anticipatory joy to live our life on purpose, with passion and creativity, born for loving God and others.
I love this new word, Vorfreude.

Vorfreude. It’s how I feel about a lot of things right now.
About a Benedictine Pilgrimage to Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic this summer.
About Benedictine spirituality and “ora et labora”, my prayer and work.
About writing and finishing a project started years ago.
About SoulFully You retreats and practicing SoulCollage®.
About contemplative prayer and photography.
About a new school year (only after a joy-filled summer, insert smiley face).
About the new babies coming into our family this year.
About “Jessica becoming”, watching my child grow into a woman.
About my family, my faith, my friends.

Yes, I love this new word, Vorfreude.
More to come. Join me for the JOY!

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