the New Year
The holiday whirlwind has subsided. The last of the cookies are being consumed. Decorations will slowly start to make their way back to storage on Monday. But the liturgical season of Christmastide will not end in our monastery until Night Prayer (Compline) tomorrow evening, the official end of the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Since Christmas, the Church has led us through a series of 'epiphanies', manifestations of the incarnate divinity of Jesus. The revelation of Messiah to the shepherds and the Magi, his baptism in the Jordan by John, and the miracle of the wedding feast at Cana come into play during these in-between days, links between Christmas and the return to Ordinary Time. Each of these epiphanies is experienced as on-going in our time to underscore the wondrous mystery of the Incarnation. In case we did not get it, the Church provides liturgies that place these manifestations front and center. From this we move ahead to Ordinary Time and the accounts of Jesus' ministry. None of that will matter unless we know who He was and who He is in our time.
* As a community of Redemptoristine contemplative nuns, we have made a new effort to let people know who we are. Pictured above is a newly designed small flyer featuring a photo of Sr. Maria Linda Magbiro in front of a chapel window depicting our foundress Maria Celeste Crostarosa. This flyer provides the background for a Lucite stand holding our vocation brochures in a pocket on the right. These stands have been sent to a number of large Redemptorist parishes and retreat houses of the northeast. We are grateful for the support of our Redemptorist brothers in this effort. All of this just in time for National Vocation Awareness Week, Jan. 10-16. We also delivered a packet containing copies of VISION Vocation Magazine, vocation posters and our brochures to two local Catholic high schools.
* The Redemptorist Congregation is absorbing and adjusting to changes in leadership brought about at the General Chapter in Rome last fall. The newly elected Father General is Michael Brehl, a Canadian well-known to us. Among his elected board of consultors is Brother Jeffrey Rolle. Brother Jeffrey is from the Caribbean islands and is a member of the Baltimore Province of the Redemptorists, the province which supports us in so many ways. We congratulate and pray for our two friends as they assume great responsiblity in challenging times. We also pray for the new effort that came out of the Chapter to respond to the need for greater partnership and coordination among Redemptorists across the globe via 'conference' organizations that will cross national and provincial borders.
* Our own Order is beginning to make plans in anticipation of a General Assembly of our autonomous monasteries in the year 2011. As an order we do not have a general government with a leadership structure holding the whole body together. This factor can make our effort to respond to the same challenges effecting the Redemptorists a bit more difficult. But we hope to surmount those difficulties by our union of prayer and mutual commitment to the Redemptoristine charism.
* These days a few of us also are kept busy translating Christmas letters received from our monasteries around the world. At least we can translate those that come in French, Spanish or Italian. We depend on others for the German. These letters are read at our noon meals and are the chief means by which we keep in touch with monasteries as far flung as Haiti, Japan, Italy, and Quebec, just to name a few.
Our very best wishes to you for a happy, healthy and blessed New Year in 2010.