Away to Iowa

Our Sisters who are making final vows in September are leaving this Saturday for a week long retreat at Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey in Dubuque.  I’ve posted these photos before, but they’re always such a pleasure to view.

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“The heart can fold upon it”

Sr. Dorcee:

Friday: from the archives

Originally posted on Wonder and Beauty:

To the eye that sees, littlness reveals infitnitely more than vastness.  God is known more truly by a little finite creature through the contemplation of a snowdrop than through the contemplation of the universe.  Very soon the intellect staggers before immensity, it is used up exhausted, only the rare heart responds to it all.  but the inward eye fills with light when it contemplates a little thing, the heart can fold upon it, and so the heart expands and the mind does not wither, but puts out petal upon lovely petal of thought. . . .

From the universe we learn that God is infinite, that we cannot compass him at all.  From such things as insects, flies, little frogs, mice and flowers we learn that to us he is something else.  He is Father, brother, child and friend!

If you ever had a little green tree frog and watched him puffing…

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Laying bricks

Sr. Dorcee:

Friday: from the archives

Originally posted on Witnesses to Hope:

We run two small homes for older adults who are no longer capable of living alone and who have limited support and no resources.  We are only able to house 6-7 residents at one time.  There are many more elderly who could use our help.  We also do foster care for children in need.  We have cared for 26 children since we began this endeavor in 1992.  But there are millions of children around the world who are in great need.

“People say, ‘What is the sense of our small effort?’  They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time.'” (Servant of God Dorothy Day)

“The whole work is only a drop in the ocean.  But if we don’t put the drop in, the ocean would be one drop less.” (Bl Teresa of Calcutta)

So we just lay our bricks, take…

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The top half of the picture

Sr. Dorcee:

Friday: from the archives

Originally posted on Witnesses to Hope:

A story we can all learn from from the then Cardinal Ratzinger:

The British doctor Sheila Cassidy (who in 1978 entered the Benedictine order) was imprisoned and tortured in Chile in 1975 for having given medical treatment to a revolutionary.  Shortly after being tortured she was transferred to another cell, where she found a tattered  Bible.  She opened it, and the first thing she saw was a picture of a man prostrate under lightning, thunder and hail. Immediately she identified herself with this man, saw herself in him.  Then she looked further and saw in the upper part of the picture a mighty hand, the hand of God, and the text from the eighth chapter of the Letter to the Romans, a text that comes straight from the center of Resurrection-faith: “Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ” (8:39).  And whereas at first it was the bottom half…

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Scattered by God

Sr. Dorcee:

Friday: from the archives.

Originally posted on Wonder and Beauty:

“Cresting a long hill we stopped a moment while Fry blew and stooped and clipped at the snow as though for browse.  I let go of Davy to sit straight.  I can’t describe what we saw.  Here was the whole dizzying sky bowled up over us.  We were inside the sky.  It didn’t make the stars any closer, only clearer.  They burned yellow and white, and some of them changed to blue or a cold green or orange–Sweede should’ve been there, she’d have had the words.  She’d have known that orange to be volcanic or forgestruck or a pinprick between our blackened world and one the color of sunsets.  I thought of God making it all, picking up handfuls of whatever material, iron and other stuff, rolling it in His fingers like nubby wheat.  The picture I had was of God taking these rough pellets by the handful and casting…

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Where the pressure lies

Sr. Dorcee:

Friday: from the archives. It’s always good to remember this quote.

Originally posted on Witnesses to Hope:

I am reading a new biography of J. Hudson Taylor, It is not Death to Die.  Taylor was a missionary to China in the early 20th century.  In my estimation, he was one of the greatest Protestant missionaries to have ever lived, and, along with Amy Carmichael, has had a profound effect on my life.  I always recommend reading his life.  Yesterday as some of our Sisters were sharing about the stresses they’re encountering in life, I could not help but remember this quote from Taylor and would like to pass it along to the rest of you as well:

It does not matter, really, how great the pressure is.  It only matters where the pressure lies.  See that it never comes between you and the Lord–then, the greater the pressure, the more it presses you to His breast.

May whatever is pressing in on you this day…

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All for the good

Sr. Dorcee:

Friday: from the archives

Originally posted on Witnesses to Hope:

Here’s a story I just read about one way God worked all things for the good:

In the devotional book Voices of the Faithful, a missionary couple in South America tells of a local pastor in Uberaba who bought a van to transport people to church.  To help make payments on the van, he removed the backseats and did delivery work through the week.  But the van needed four new tires, and the pastor had no way of paying for them.

One night the van was stolen from the church property.  Some of the church members tried to console their pastor by saying that perhaps it wasn’t God’s will for him to have the van.  But he knew he needed the vehicle for God’s work, so he trusted the Lord to work it all for the good.

A few days later, police officers from a nearby town called on…

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Weakness is a Strength

Sr. Dorcee:

From Ben in Thailand–and well worth reading. (Subscribe to his blog–it’s full of gems.)

Originally posted on Contemplative in the Mud:

Weakness is a strength. That’s the Gospel. “Let the little ones come to me” says Jesus (Mt 19:14; Lk 18:16). “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:3). “I am content with weaknesses,” says Saint Paul, “… for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10). Weakness is a strength.

And contemplatives know this well. Indeed, to experience a form of prayer, in times of prayer and (this is even more disconcerting) on the road, which is beyond our control and totally infused and which we could do nothing to reproduce and which we must only abandon ourselves to because the Giver is Overflowing Love Himself: this means knowing by experience that weakness is a hole that God fills.

Weaknesses come in all shapes and sizes. Sure, some are moral. Sure, some are incurred by original sin. Sure…

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Serving badly, suffering badly, loving badly

Sr. Dorcee:

Friday: from the archives

(Sorry that posts have been sparse. . . . it’s been an incredibly busy time.)

Originally posted on Witnesses to Hope:

I guess this is a bit of a follow-up to “When you feel like you have nothing left to give”.   I’m thinking of how so often I feel that when I try to give to folks, I don’t feel like I’m doing it very well or saying it very well.  Dom Hebert van Zeller addresses this in the following excerpt from his book, The Inner Search.  Too often I’m more concerned about how well I’m doing things rather than about the importance of just doing something and and maybe doing it badly, but being willing to be humble.  Of course, this is true of loving God as well as loving my neighbor.  It’s important for us to know who we really are as well as who God really is.  A lesson I’m obviously still learning.

What costs the soul most is not the service itself, or the love…

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