Sunday, April 15, 2007


Now the green blade rises from the buried grain,
Wheat that in dark earth many days has lain;
Love lives again, that with the dead has been;
Love is come again like wheat arising green.

When our hearts are wintry, grieving, or in pain,
Your touch can call us back again,
Fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been;
Love is come again like wheat arising green.
John M.C. Crum

The first week of Easter is celebrated in the liturgy as a week of Easter Sundays replete with sung offices, Psalm antiphons of the Resurrection Feast, the Te Deum at Office of Readings, and Paschal candle alight in constant announcement that "The Lord has risen, alleluia, alleluia." It is also monastic tradition that nuns be allowed a period of solemn recreation in celebration of the great Easter feast. Therefore we enjoyed two full days of 'recreation'; that is free time to do some work, to write letters or e-mail, or to see a film; conversation at all meals (we usually eat our main noonday meal in silence but listening to a tape or some reading); and lots of goodies through the generosity of our friends.

Tonight, at the close of the Easter Octave, as we sang the Easter antiphons for Vespers (Evening Prayer), I was very aware that we would not be singing those beautiful and evocative melodies again for another year. But the season is not entirely over and we hold its mystery in our hearts as we anticipate the day of Pentecost. This is a particularly special day for us as it marks the founding of our Order in 1731.

On Saturday we hosted a meeting of over 50 contemplative nuns representing eight different orders. We are all members of the Metropolitan Association of Contemplative Communities which marks its fortieth anniversary this year. What began as a vehicle for discussion and education regarding the renewal of religious life called for by the Second Vatican Council has developed into an continuing source of mutual support, encouragement and on-going formation in contemplative religious life.

As for me, I have been busy making a habit in the Benedictine style for a friend of our community. Working in white and without a pattern was like tightrope walking without a net. But in the midst of this challenge, in the midst of working on this project alone and in silence, a graced intuition was given to me as gift for the Sacred Triduum and the Easter celebration. I hope to have more to say about this experience in the future.

Let us all follow the advice of Fr. Patrick Woods at the end of his Easter Vigil homily; just as you tried to devote yourself to your Lenten practices, be equally as diligent in praising and enjoying the gifts of fifty days of Easter. May you be blessed with Resurrection joy.

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