Wednesday, December 31, 2008


For me, New Year's Eve is usually a time of reflection on the year past. I tend to think more about what I should have done, rather than what I have done -- and I make promises to myself to use my time more effectively. Over the years I think I have read almost every book on time management & tried every computer program on how to get things done -- all with varying success. One thing I am learning is that I tend to make things more complicated than they have to be. I was reminded of this as I read the following:

Are you feeling crunched for time?
Do you feel pressure to accomplish something that seems beyond your reach? Do you have needs that are outside the realm of your control to meet?
Then, take a deep breath and do what you are able to do.
When you do what you are able to do you are always ready for the moment in time when God will show up with everything He has been orchestrating on your behalf!
And, don't worry! Worry takes up the precious space and energy in your heart and brain where creativity should flourish! 
Diane Nelson 
Do you feel pressure to accomplish something that seems beyond your reach? Do you have needs that are outside the realm of your control to meet?
Then, take a deep breath and do what you are able to do.
When you do what you are able to do you are always ready for the moment in time when God will show up with everything He has been orchestrating on your behalf!
And, don't worry! Worry takes up the precious space and energy in your heart and brain where creativity should flourish! - Diane Nelson

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The most important thing

I was flattered to find myself quoted in an essay, The Most Important Thing , on the Captivating Woman  web site run by Diane Nelson, a gifted author & musician who is also a wonderful encourager.
Be sure to listen to the song she wrote and performed with her children nine years ago,
Take Me In , at the end of the article. 

Monday, December 29, 2008

Rose of Sharon?

whose kingdom?

"Thy kingdom come"
"My kingdom go"!
-- Lonni Collins Pratt & Fr. Daniel Homan, OSB  Benedict's Way

Sunday, December 28, 2008

how to begin good work

First of all, every time you begin a good work,
you must pray to him most earnestly to bring it to perfection.
-- Rule of St. Benedict, Prologue

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sunday morning

Tomorrow morning I will be filling in for Pastor Andrew at
Cross of Glory Lutheran Church in Mounds View, Minesota.
There will be only one service at 9:30 a.m.
The title of my message is What Child Is This?
I would love to see you -- for directions, click here .

Friday, December 26, 2008

Who is God to us?

Modern man seeks mainly for "experience" -- putting himself at the centre of things he wishes to make them subservient to this aim;  too often, even God becomes the source from which the highest experience flows, instead of being Him Whom we adore, worship, and are prepared to serve, whatever the cost to us.
-- Anthony of Sourozh

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Day

Fear not:  for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy,
which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour,
which is Christ the Lord.
-- Luke 2: 10-11

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

serving God

Before anything else, it is necessary and fitting to serve God in the silence of one's disordered habits, as of the tongue, so that nothing may be heard but words of love.
-- Saint John of the Cross (1542-1591)

Monday, December 22, 2008

wait, wait, wait

I want it and I want it NOW.  Doesn’t that seem to be a pretty pervasive attitude for all of us here in America.  And that is sad.  We will never know the joy and excitement of waiting for something good.
Christmas at our home was the most exciting time of the entire year for me, and it was all about waiting, waiting.  A week or two before Christmas my parents locked the dining room doors to the front rooms  and their bedroom. Mom put the key in her kitchen smock and there was no way we could get it. In our home there was absolutely no sign of Christmas until Christmas Eve.  

And then all heaven broke loose. Candles, real candles went up in all the windows, (pretty dangerous actually but it worked. Mom did it with careful planning). She also cooked a nice ham with all the side dishes for a kind of buffet. Dad was behind the locked door doing his own hamming, yelling at Santa to let him go as he stuck his head out the door and pulled it back in with his other hand.  Dad’s cronies knocked on the windows all around the house from the outside. Then all us kids lined up in front of the doors in order, the little ones first, the older ones last. Finally Dad swung the doors open and we rushed into the front room to see a Christmas wonderland, a heavenly display of lights, music, presents, and a beautiful tree.  Each sibling had their own little area where their gifts were arranged beautifully, we could see them all at once, like a little miracle. None of them were wrapped. I never in all my life ever appreciated waiting as much as I did at Christmas. For me the excitement was almost at fever pitch with joy and expectation.  

Advent is all about waiting and the Church tells us to wait.  Hopefully Christmas carols and Christmas decorations are not brought into the Church during the Advent season.  Though I suspect that many Churches have caved into the pressures of secular society in this area. That is sad. Mother Church wants us to get excited about Christmas, excited and joyful with expectation.  That can only come with waiting.  

-- Abbot Thomas, Blue Cloud Abbey 

chuckle for the day

old Priest never die, they just Parish
-- John Cassian 

Sunday, December 21, 2008

frozen? snowed in?

Even so:
Indeed, God is not far from each one of us. 
--  Acts 17:27

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Xmas concert

Murray Jr. High, St. Paul, Minnesota


Looks like a birdie angel!!
-- Lynne

Angels we have heard on high..
-- Linda

Thursday, December 18, 2008

O God,
give repose to the souls of those whom we commemorate
and write their names in the Book of Life;
Place them in the dwelling of the righteous;
unite them to the company of the just;
grant to them to arrive in the harbor of peace,
where sorrow, weakness, sighs & wretchedness flee away forever;
where the saints enjoy felicity
and the weary win their rest. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sunday School program III

All who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 
-- Romans 8:14

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sunday School program II

a few more to follow

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sunday School program

St. Anthony Park Lutheran Church , St. Paul, Minnesota

Saturday, December 13, 2008

life or death

Do we desire to be with Christ in the resurrection? It seems that most of us are not waiting for this new life but instead are doing everything possible to prolong our mortal lives. Still, as we grow more deeply into the spiritual life - the life in communion with our risen Lord - we gradually get in touch with our desire to move through the gate of death into the eternal life with Christ. This is no death wish but a desire for the fulfillment of all desires. Paul strongly experienced that desire. He writes: "Life to me, of course, is Christ, but then death would be a positive gain. ... I am caught in this dilemma: I want to be gone and to be with Christ, and this is by far the stronger desire - and yet for your sake to stay alive in this body is a more urgent need" (Philippians 1:21-24). This is a dilemma that few of us have, but it lays bare the core of the spiritual struggle.

-- Henri Nouwen Society 

Friday, December 12, 2008

pray always

Don't restrict your prayer simply to asking in words. To be sure, God has no need of discussion; even were we to ask him nothing, he knows what is needful for us. What is there to say? Prayer does not consist in formulae; it encompasses the whole of life. "Whatever you eat or drink," the apostle Paul says, "or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God" (1Cor 10:31). Are you at table? Pray. In taking bread, give thanks to him who bestowed it; in drinking wine, remember him who gave you this gift to rejoice your heart and solace your ills. Once the meal is finished, do not fail, come what may, in the remembrance of your benefactor. When you put on your tunic, thank him who gave it you; when you put on your cloak, bear witness to your regard for the God who provides us with clothing suitable for winter and summer and so as to protect our life.

When day is done thank him who has given you sun for the day's work and fire to give light at night and supply for our needs. Nighttime provides you with cause for thanksgiving: when looking at the sky and contemplating the beauty of the stars, pray to the Lord of the universe who has made all things with such wisdom. When you see all nature lying asleep, adore again him who relieves all our weariness with sleep and restores the vigor of our strength with a little rest.

In this way you will pray without ceasing if your prayer does not satisfy itself with formulae but, to the contrary, you remain united to God throughout your existence in such a way as to make of your life an unceasing prayer.

-- Saint Basil (c.330-379), monk and Bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

a grateful death

When we think about death, we often think about what will happen to us after we have died. But it is more important to think about what will happen to those we leave behind. The way we die has a deep and lasting effect on those who stay alive. It will be easier for our family and friends to remember us with joy and peace if we have said a grateful good-bye than if we die with bitter and disillusioned hearts.

The greatest gift we can offer our families and friends is the gift of gratitude. Gratitude sets them free to continue their lives without bitterness or self-recrimination.

-- Henri Nouwen Society 

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

going home

The road pointed out to you is not a long one,
you do not have to cross the seas or pierce the clouds
or climb mountains to meet your God.
-- St. Bernard of Clairvaux

Monday, December 08, 2008


Love takes to itself the life of the loved one.
The greater the love, the greater the suffering of the soul.
The fuller the love, the fuller the knowledge of God.
The more ardent the love, the more fervent the prayer.
The more perfect the love, the holier the life.
-- Staretz Silouan

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Second Sunday of Advent

Saturday, December 06, 2008


If we are not spiritual where we are and as we are, we are not spiritual at all.
We are simply consumers of the latest in spiritual gadgetry that numbs our confusions but never fills our spirits or frees our hearts.
-- Joan Chittister, OSB  Wisdom Distilled from the Daily

Friday, December 05, 2008

Thursday, December 04, 2008

how to live

Live in fear of judgment day and have a great horror of hell. Yearn for everlasting life with holy desire. Day by day remind yourself that you are going to die. Hour by hour keep careful watch over all you do, aware that God's gaze is upon you, wherever you may be.
-- St. Benedict

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


Benedict says, "Listen." Pay attention to the instructions in this rule and attend to the important things in life. Let nothing go by without being open to being nourished by the inner meaning of that event in life. There is an Oriental proverb that teaches:  "Take from death before it takes from thee." If we do not live life consciously, in other words, we may not be living at all.
-- Joan Chittister, O.S.B.  The Rule of Benedict: Insight for the Ages

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


All of life is suffused with God's presence.
So remind yourself that God is present as you begin your period of prayer.
Do not worry about distractions.
If something keeps intruding during your prayer, spend some time talking with God about it.
Be flexible because God's Spirit blows where it will.
-- Katherine Howard Praying with Benedict

Monday, December 01, 2008

how to pray

"God, I am with you right now, and these are my thoughts, my questions, my dreams, and my hurts. ..."
St. Benedict tells his monks that if they want to pray, well then, they should just pray.
Just do it.
-- Lonni Collins Pratt & Father Daniel Homan, OSB

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