Second Sunday of Lent

Today’s Gospel is the Transfiguration of Christ. If I were one of the disciples chosen to see future heavenly glory I would probably act just like St. Peter, “LET’S MAKE THREE BOOTHS!” OH YEAH! And when we’re feeling great with a skip to our step, even when turmoil happens all around us we know that we can live another day. We can do anything because, “If God is with us, who can be against us?” However, after a while, we step out of our moon shoes and reality hit us hard. It is then time for us not just to talk the talk, but walk the walk. That’s what Abraham did. He loved God and had hope in God so much that when God asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son for God’s own sake, Abraham did not hesitate. Oh don’t be mistaken, Abraham was in turmoil, but his hope was greater. God too gave His only beloved Son in whom He is well pleased, for our sake so that we can be with Him in heaven.

If Abraham gave up what was most precious to him for God, and God gave up His most precious Son for us, what are we willing to give up for God when he asks us? When troubled times hit us, when we are put to the test will we curse God and shake our fist at him as if to say, “what are you doing?” or will we, even in the midst of suffering and mental pain, give up our whole selves to God? Like Abraham we look towards the future glory God gives us. It is when we accept the hardships in life and see them as gifts from God that the Holy Spirit will briefly remove our darkness and cover us with a cloud of understanding and enlighten our whole being. “I believed, even when I said ‘I am greatly afflicted.’ I am your servant, the son of your handmaid; you have loosened my bonds. To you will I offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving and I will call upon the name of the Lord.”          

Joyful News

Please join us in prayer for our postulant Sr. Marie who has been accepted to receive the habit and begin her novitiate on March 19th! Sr. Marie entered the monastery as a postulant on June 23rd, and the months have flown by.  Do you have a guess as to what her religious name will be?

A lot of sewing goes in to the making of a novice! There's the tunic and scapular to make, but also the cappa, guimpes, veils, and tunicelles. It is the custom in our monastery that postulants do not sew their own habits but instead receive everything they need from the community. It is at this stage, the beginning of the novitiate, that a sister becomes a member of our community (though not a Chapter member, that isn't until Solemn Vows!). 

First Sunday of Lent

On this first Sunday of Lent, the readings present us with a movement from sin and death to new life. In the first reading from Genesis 9:8-15, God establishes His covenant with Noah and every living thing, promising never again to destroy all bodily creatures by the waters of a flood, and giving the rainbow as a sign of this covenant. God sent the flood to wash away sin, but He does not desire death and destruction. Instead, He desires that there be an abundance of life, and sin destroys that life by separating it from God, who is the source of all life. Thus, as St. Peter says in the second reading (1 Peter 3:18-22), “God patiently waited in the days of Noah during the building of the ark, in which a few persons, eight in all, were saved through water,” and then He gave the rainbow as a constant reminder that He does not eagerly seek occasion to destroy sinners, but instead rejoices when they turn to Him and live.

The salvation through water of Noah and his family, St. Peter tells us, “prefigured baptism, which saves [us] now.” In Noah’s day, the flood waters washed away sinful humanity so that all creation could once more glorify God. Yet the roots of sin lie deep within us all, which meant that the flood could not solve the problem of sin and the death it brings. God therefore gave us baptism, which, St. Peter says, “is not a removal of dirt from the body but an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” Baptism removes the guilt of sin by uniting us to Christ, who “suffered for sins … that He might lead [us] to God” and then “was brought to life in the Spirit.” In His body He rooted out and destroyed sin so that we might live with Him in the Spirit.

If we wish to remain united to Christ and to grow in the life He gives us, we must follow His example. In the gospel (Mark 1:12-15), we read that “The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and He remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to Him.” Note that it is the Spirit who drove Jesus out into the desert. Our Lord was always docile to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit, and He always preferred the will of His heavenly Father, even to activity that was more obviously relevant to His mission. He was driven out “into the desert, and He remained in the desert for forty days.” Just so, we must not be dismayed if we find ourselves in the midst of hardship and desolation when we have undertaken to follow Christ. Our Master has gone before us into the desert, and our task is to remain there with Him and, like Him, prove ourselves faithful servants of God.

 

Dive into Lent with "Through Lent with John's People"!

UPDATE: The free kindle is available until midnight Wednesday (2/21) PST!

Last year we published a Lenten devotional book entitled Through Lent with John's People, written by a member of the Dominican Laity, Mr. Thomas Garry. We're pleased to be able to offer you a FREE kindle version of the book, available on Amazon. The free offer is only available tomorrow, February 18th,  the First Sunday of Lent starting at midnight PST.  If you miss this opportunity you can still purchase the kindle version for $2.99 or the paperback for $12.16 from Amazon. (That's a strange price for a book....do you know its significance? Hint: The book was published for the 800 anniversary of the Order of Preachers.) Paperback is also available through our online gift shop (on sale during Lent for $8.50) or stop on by the monastery gift shop, open Monday-Saturday 9:30-4:00.

Through Lent with John’s People is written for readers short on time but long on a desire to grow in faith during the Lenten season. 

For each day of Lent, the book provides a passage from the Gospel of St. John and a brief reflection on how our lives and attitudes compare with those of the people whose encounters with Jesus are portrayed in that passage. Two to four questions for prayerful consideration close each entry. 

The book offers busy readers a time-efficient means of engaging in the ancient Catholic practice of lectio divina, and its “four movements”: lectio (reading a passage of Scripture), meditatio (meditating on that passage), oratio (praying about the passage) and contemplatio (contemplating the passage).

Written by Tom Garry, a Catholic husband, father, small business owner and member of the Lay Fraternities of St. Dominic, the book combines an appreciation of the pressures of modern life with the time-honored Dominican tradition of Scripture-based inquiry and contemplation. Published by DNS Publications, the publishing arm of the Dominican Nuns of Summit, the book carries the nihil obstat, as well as the imprimatur of the Archbishop of Newark.

Through Lent with John’s People provides an ideal way for you or someone you love to make next Lent more meaningful.

Presentation of Our Lord

Yesterday, February 2nd,  was the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple. As usual Mass began in the Chapter Hall with the blessing of the candles and Fr. Chaplain reading from Scripture before we processed into choir with candles lit singing Adorn Your Bridal Chamber Zion. What was not usual was a different sort of procession at the offertory.

This year we began an old Dominican custom of processing towards the altar with lit candles as our offering after the bread and wine are given to Father. The candles were placed in shallow vases filled with sand on either side of the grille. Sr. Mary Catharine had seen this practice during her time in Portugal and we decided to try it. For some reason our monastery had never incorporated the candle offering into our liturgy, although the practice is common among the Friars, at the least.

Fr. Thomas Petri, OP explained the custom this way: "The offertory of candles during the Presentation is an ancient monastic tradition the Dominicans took up in the 13th century. As candles give light by offering their own existence, so the friars & laity offer their candles to the prior before the gifts come up."