Wednesday, November 30, 2011


A reflection and prayer by Rabbi Rami Shapiro to help us cope with the pain and suffering of those closest to us and those around the world.  In solidarity we pray; 

May those whose lives are gripped in the palm of suffering


even now

to the wonder of life.

May they let go of the hurt

and meet the true self beyond pain

the uncarved block

that is our joyous unity with the Holiness.

May they discover through pain and torment

the strength to live with the grace and humor.

May they discover through doubt and anguish

the strength to live with dignity and holiness.

May they discover through suffering and fear

the strength to move toward healing.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Are you busy?

We seem so frightened today of being alone that we never let it happen....We choke the space with continuous music, chatter, and companionship to which we do not even listen.  It is simply there to fill the vacuum.  When the noise stops there is no inner music to take its place. 
-Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Monasteries, hermitages, and retreat centers have been created to that people who wanted to hear the still, small voice of God could turn down the deafening and disquieting cacophony of sound coming from a busy, bustling world. - John Michael Talbot

Is your world to busy and noisy?  Are you looking for that place to find peace and solitude?  Have you been to our retreat center?  Come in and pay us a visit.  We have a labyrinth you can walk for centering or for prayer.  There is also a library if you would like to settle into a good book.  We are more than happy to vist with you and share our Franciscan vision with someone new...maybe that's you!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Canticle of the Sun

O most High, almighty, good Lord God, to you belong praise, glory, honor and all blessing!

Praised be my Lord God with all creatures; and especially our brother the sun, which brings us the day and the light; fair is he, and shining with a very great splendor: O Lord, he signifies you to us!

Praised be my Lord for our sister the moon, and for the stars, which God has set clear and lovely in heaven.

Praised be my Lord for our brother the wind, and for air and cloud, calms and all the weather, by which you uphold in life all creatures.

Praised be my Lord for our sister water, which is very serviceable to us, and humble, and precious, and clean.

Praised be my Lord for brother fire, through which you give us light in the darkness; and he is bright, and pleasant, and very mighty, and strong.

Praised be my Lord for our mother the Earth, which sustains us and keeps us, and yields diverse fruits,
and flowers of many colors, and grass.

Praised be my Lord for all those who pardon one another for God’s love’s sake, and who endure weakness and tribulation; blessed are they who peaceably shall endure, for you, O most High, shall give them a crown!

Praised be my Lord for our sister, the body of death, from which no one escapes. Woe to him who died in mortal sin!

Blessed are they who are found walking by your most holy will, for the second death shall have no power to do them harm.

Praise you, and bless you the Lord and give thanks to God, and serve God with great humility.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Thanksgiving Wish!

Thanksgiving is such a uniquely American holiday. While turkey, cornstalks, and the images of pilgrims and their native hosts can trace their origins to the colonization of the United States, one of the most commonly found Thanksgiving symbols is rooted in folklore.

The enduring image of the cornucopia or horn of plenty and its wicker-like basket of overflowing fruits, vegetables, grains and flowers is everywhere this time of year. It is printed on paper plates, paper napkins and is available in an array of 3-D models for Thanksgiving centerpieces.

The horn of plenty symbolizes abundance and was originally a goat’s horn, not the straw creation we see today. According to legend, it was overflowing with fruit and grain but could be filled with whatever its owner desired. It came to represent inexhaustible riches. Perhaps that is why early colonists chose it to symbolize their prosperity (or survivability) in the new world.

Regardless of its heritage, it also has a more practical meaning today. It symbolizes gratitude. Without support from people like you, we would not be here. We are grateful and thankful to you! Just as early pilgrims celebrated Thanksgiving together, we are always mindful that all of our successes come from the support of people like you.

The horn of plenty is an interesting symbol. At one end is abundance; fruit, grains and flowers fill a large funnel-like opening that tapers into almost nothingness. The greatness at the end traces its beginnings to very small, very humble origins. That is not unlike the mission and successes of the Church. We, too, can trace our origins to very humble beginnings.

Often people believe their resources may be too small to make a difference; only large gifts and huge talents can propel a mission. However, the horn of plenty does not start large. It starts with only a small point. Each of us can be that small point if we choose to be!

As regularly as Thanksgiving arrives in November each year, our experience has taught us that there are more than large gifts that sustain our Center. Rather, like the cornucopia, it is the small gifts that combine, emerge and grow together to form the abundance we know today. Thank you for all that you have done, and thank you for all that we can do together!


*Author unknown

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Anne Frank

~From the diary of Anne Frank~

In spite of everything, I still believe
that people are really good at heart.
I simply can't build up my hopes on a foundation
consisting of confusion, misery, and death.
I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness,
I hear the ever-approaching thunder, which will destroy us, too,
I can feel the suffering of millions, and yet,
if I look up into the heavens,
I think that it will all come right,
that this cruelty will end,
and that peace and tranquility will return again.
In the meantime, I must uphold my ideals,
for perhaps the time will come
when I shall be able to carry them out.

As we begin Advent on Sunday and head into the Christmas season, reflect on the foundation that you build your hopes and dreams on.  What does that foundation look like?  When you look into the heavens, do you feel that all will come out right?  The Frank family, and certainly Anne as a teenager, chose to uphold their ideals in the face of persecution.

In this time of Advent waiting, focus on the idea that peace and tranquility will return again!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Incline us O God!

Incline us O God!
to think humbly of ourselves,
to be saved only in examination of our own conduct,
to consider our fellow-creatures with kindness,
and to judge of all they say and do with the charity
which we would desire from them ourselves.
~Jane Austen

Luke 6:31 says "Do to others as you would have them do to you."

As we approach Thanksgiving, who are you considering with kindness today? 

Monday, November 21, 2011


Joy Is Contagious!
~St. Francis~

"If at times temptation or despondency comes along to try me, and I see joy in my companions, then I immediately recover and let go of the temptation or depression.  The joy I admire in others restores my own inward and outward joy."

Friday, November 18, 2011

Quietest Moments

“Stress is a perverted relationship to time. We need to slow down so that we can find our rhythm: stillness, silence, solitude. There is something intrinsically sacred in awakening to your own belonging to the divine.” John O’Donohue.

In your quietest moments, where is your attentiveness leading you? What is it that you long for?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Lord Give You Peace

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in hear: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called children of God.
~Matthew 5:3-9

Wherever they are, or wherever they go throughout the whole world they should not be quarrelsome, contentious or judgemental towards others.  Rather, it should be obvious that they are joyful, good humored, and happy in the Lord as they ought to be, and in greeting others, let them say, "The Lord give you peace."
~St. Francis' Rule

How are you being called to be a peacemaker?  Are there people or places in your life that are in need of prayers for peace?  List those prayers here and let "The Lord give you peace."

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pleasing God

"People think pleasing God is all God cares about. 
But any fool in the world can see [God is] always trying to
please us back...always making little surprises and springing
them on us when we least expect them."

-Alice Walker The Color Purple

What little surprises is God springing on you lately?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day!

In honor of Veteran’s Day

            I pledge allegiance to the flag

         of the United States of America,

and to the republic for which it stands,

one nation under God,


with liberty,

                                                                                     and justice for all.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Out in the Fields with God

The little cares that fretted me,
I lost them yesterday
Among the fields above the sea,
Among the winds at play;
Among the lowing of the herds,
The rustling of the trees,
Among the singing of the birds,
The humming of the bees.

The foolish fears of what may happen,
I cast them all away
Among the clover-scented grass,
Among the new-mown hay;
Among the husking of the corn
Where drowsy poppies nod,
Where ill thoughts die and good are born
Out in the fields with God.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Morning Song!

Morning Song by Wendell Berry
 “An Entrance to the Woods.”

“The dawn comes slow and cold. Only occasionally, somewhere along the creek or on the slopes above, a bird sings. I have not slept well, and I waken without much interest in the day. I set the camp to rights, and fix breakfast, and eat. The day is clear, and high up on the points and ridges to the west of my camp I can see the sun shining on the woods. And suddenly I am full of ambition; I want to get up where the sun is; I want to sit still in the sun up there among the high rocks until I can feel its warmth in my bones.”

As winter fast approaches with its cold and dark days, it’s easy to stay curled up in bed and not be interested in our day. There are appointments, meetings, family duties…a barrage of activities that we don’t have the energy to face. But, there is a place somewhere or a loved one in our lives who beckons to us like the sun on the mountain peaks, coaxing us to see what is shiny and warm in the world. Where is that place for you? Who is that place for you? Think about it today as you set your sights on the high places!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Go Outdoors

Grant me the ability to be alone;
May it be my custom to go outdoors each day
among the trees and grasses,
among all growing things
and there may I be alone,
and enter into prayer
to talk with the one
that I belong to.

Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlav

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Glory of Creation

The beauty of the trees,
the softness og the air,
the fragrance of the grass,
speaks to me.

The summit of the mountain,
the thunder of the sky,
the rhythm of the sea,
speaks to me.

The faintness of the stars,
the freshness of the morning,
the dewdrop on the flower,
speaks to me.

The strength of fire,
the taste of salmon,
the trail of the sun,
and the life that never goes away,
they speak to me.

And my heart soars.

Chief Dan George

During this time of transition of seasons is when nature delights us with the beauty of creation.  The days a little more brisk.  The sun a bit more golden.  The trees alive with color.  Stepping outside is stepping into the glory of creation.  What are you doing this autumn to immerse yourself in such glory?  What are your favorite parts of this season?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

All Souls Day

November 2, 2011
All Souls Day:  Facts and Misconceptions

• All Souls Day is commonly misinterpreted as the Mexican version of Halloween. In fact it is not. Mexicans have celebrated the Day of the Dead since 1800 B.C.

• The celebrations do not include images of ghosts, dead people, witches or the devil. Therefore it is not scary or morbid.

• This ritual has nothing to do with cults. It is a Catholic Christian ritual intermingled with folk culture. Going to mass is an essential aspect of this celebration.

• This celebration is not about honoring Death, but revering and fondly remembering the deceased relatives. It is an opportunity to cast a reflecting glance on the lives of our ancestors, our heritage, and ponder upon the meaning and purpose behind our existence.

• Ofrendas or altars are not for the purpose of worshipping but for offering our love and remembering our departed family members.

• It is not a sad, scary or morbid ritual. It's a day of happiness because the loved ones are being remembered with fondness. Although when in the graveyard, people tend to assume an introspective attitude. It is about Love not Fear.

• It may appear a weird ritual to those alien to the culture, but in fact it is quite similar to visiting a grave and leaving flowers or stuffed animals, and lighting a candle to remember those who have left for their heavenly abode.

• It is not a careless or daring confrontation of death. It is rather a reflective moment to muse upon one's life and the cycle of life and death.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Spiritual Ancestors

Reflection by Joyce Rupp

“I have always been drawn to the Feast of All Saints. It is a time to remember with gratitude all those persons whose goodness has inspired me in my beliefs and given me courage to act on what I believe. It is a day to acknowledge that these holy men and women have helped me find my own potential for goodness.

I think of “saints” as not only those women and men who have been canonized by the church, but all people whose lives reflect the goodness of God. Saints are not perfect people. They have their faults, idiosyncrasies and weaknesses. They have their own struggles and difficulties. Even the canonized ones are noted to have been difficult to live with because of some of their unique mannerisms. Yet, the saints are people of integrity. They have a central focus at the core of their lives: the love of God. They consistently choose to act out of that central reality, no matter how ordinary or extraordinary their lives may be.

As we celebrate this feast on November 1st, we gather to commemorate not just the martyrs or people we might tend to put on spiritual pedestals, but all those people who have drawn us to God because of who they are and how they lived.”

Reflect today on the saints in your life and how you have grown closer to God through them.