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I came across [url="http://canticleofchiara.blogspot.com/2005/11/are-we-all-that-different-from.html"]this blog[/url] recently, and I really liked this reflection when I read it awhile ago. It's from last year, and I don't know the blogger, but she puts up a lot of cool stuff about Poor Clares (and seems to have particular interest in the Colettines...) so anyway, without further ado:

[quote]Sunday, November 20, 2005
Are We All That Different From Contemplatives?

Last week when I was at my retreat with an active/contemplative community of sisters, they required that we get up at 4 AM in order to attend morning prayer. “4 AM!” I thought. “How unreasonable!”

Later that week after my retreat had ended, a company called me up asking me to come to the city for an office visit. As they required my presence at the office at 8 AM in the morning, I needed to catch a bus that left campus at 4 AM. In this instance, I immediately obeyed their request without any question.

After I thought about this discrepancy, I said to myself “how bad we humans are at figuring out our priorities!” How hypocritical we are! I got to thinking even more….here we label our contemplative brothers and sisters as strange and reactionary- we regard their lifestyles as something very alien to us. But if we analyzed the situation a bit more, we’d realize how much we have in common with contemplatives….

We claim that contemplatives constrict themselves by scheduling their lives according to the ringing of prayer bells.

But are we any different? Indeed, we live our lives by bells- alarms, car horns, work bells, school bells, telephone rings. We answer to these bells each day of our lives, far more frequently than the contemplatives answer to their church bells.

We love to claim that contemplatives repress their “individuality” by donning identical habits.

But look at us! We stuff ourselves into a monochromatic sea of blue and black suits for at least five days out of the week. And when we aren’t forcing ourselves into monochromatic conformity, how often do we immediately obey the call of the media and magazines to wear the latest “styles?” Indeed, we wear habits too. The only difference is that our habits have a $300 price tag.

We love to say that contemplatives are hiding from the world, enslaving themselves inside of a cloister. But what cloisters we have! For 90% of our time, we shut ourselves up in dull gray offices and cubicles, adoring the unblessed sacrament of prosperity.

And what about the silence of contemplative life?! Have we ever took time to think that it’s not about the silence of our mouths but of the silence of our hearts? If we listened to our own words, I think that we’d realize that most of the things that our mouths say need not be said at all….but yet we refrain from speaking with our hearts for fear of being “offensive,” too “emotional,” or saying something that could be a “Career Limiting Move.”

They “blindly” obey God and their Abbot/Abbess, but do we see any clearer? When was the last time we openly questioned our boss?

Thus, if we look at our lives and theirs, we will realize that we too answer to bells, wear habits, enclose ourselves within walls, remain silent, and obey our “superiors.” So what is the main difference between us and them?

It is said that contemplatives are the most “joyful people in the world,” so why are we so miserable? Why must we look to the next promotion, the next house, the next product, the next commodity as the ultimate source of our happiness?

Let’s look even deeper, then.

They allow the bells to draw them away from their work and enter into a deeper union with God. We let our bells draw us out of whatever we are doing to fill in our time to a hurried life of what we call “productivity.” But does God look at balance sheets? Does God hear the banter that goes on in the boardrooms, or does He really care? Will God be persuaded to buy the product in the latest advertisement?

They wear their habits as an expression of themselves- as an expression of saying that they don’t need sartorial finery in order to be happy. But us? I need not go on.

They put themselves up in cloisters because they love the world so much that they can’t hold it tight enough. But even in the most crowded offices, we are world apart from our brethren due to the walls of competition and pride that we have erected.

And then the boss walks around the corner. Their boss is the Lord Almighty. Perhaps their happiness lies in the fact that they know that their boss isn’t committing fraud behind their backs, their boss will never give them bad direction, and their boss has no “favorites.” They know that their boss has a reason to be in the position where He is, and it’s not so that he can drive the latest BMW or live in the “elite” section of town. It’s because He wants us to live in the most elite place of all- with Him.[/quote]

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[quote name='be_thou_my_vision' post='1099405' date='Oct 23 2006, 05:57 PM']
Is they excitment killing you zynshynn???
[/quote]

I'm kind of like, :blink: :pinch: is this real?! lol... but I guess I'm excited. And I am definitely very happy. I guess I'm kind of :mellow: right now.

[quote name='brandelynmarie' post='1099409' date='Oct 23 2006, 06:00 PM']
That was beautiful!!! I'm gonna copy that! I'm am certainly gonna miss you on here, but please remember you are in my prayers & please keep me in yours...I am so happy for you! :bounce:
[/quote]

Which part was beautiful? St. Clare's letter or the thing from that girl's blog? Thank you so much... I'll miss you all too, I know... it will be hard at times not being able to check out how you all are doing... But I will most definitely remember you in my prayers, and I know God will keep us close! This will always be my pham, and I will be an auxiliary Broke Daughter of St. Dominic for life! ;)

I'm so happy for you about finding a home with the Buffalo Dominicans! They sound wonderful! If you have the time, please write me and let me know how that is going. :taco:

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[quote name='Jennirom' post='1099768' date='Oct 24 2006, 04:06 AM']
WHAT WILL WE DO WITHOUT YOU NEXT WEEK ?
[/quote]

:blush: I don't know... perhaps you'll have to talk more, Jennirom! :lol: That way there will still be a Jen to contribute to the chatter of the vocation station! (I'm assuming you're another Jennifer by your sn... if you're not, forgive me! lol) You seem awfully nice, supportive of everyone else with your encouragement and prayers, but I'm still wondering what your story is! Of course, you don't have to tell us if you don't want to, but we'd love to hear it if you do! :flowers:

But yeah... it's coming up! Four days until I'm flyin' on a jetplane to Alabama, and 8 days until my postulancy begins! :bounce:

Here's another excerpt from St. Clare's third letter to Agnes of Prague...

[quote]Place your mind in the mirror of eternity;
Place your soul in the splendor of glory;
Place your heart in the figure of the divine substance;
And, through contemplation, transform your entire being into the image of the Divine One himself,
So that you, yourself, may also experience what his friends experience when they taste the hidden sweetness that God alone has kept from the beginning
For those who love him.

And completely ignoring all those who in this deceitful and turbulent world ensnare their blind lovers, you might totally love him who gave himself totally out of love for you, whose beauty the sun and moon admire, and whose rewards, in both their preciousness and magnitude, are without end. I am speaking about the Son of the Most High, to whom the Virgin gave birth and, after whose birth, she remained a virgin. May you cling to his most sweet Mother, who gave birth to the kind of Son whom the heavens could not contain, and yet, she carried him in the tiny enclosure of her sacred womb, and held him on her young girl's lap.

Who would not abhor the treachery of the enemy of humanity who, by means of the pride that results from fleeting and false glories, compels that which is greater than heaven to return to nothingness? See, it is already clear that the soul of a faithful person, the most worthy of God's creations through the grace of God, is greater than heaven, since the heavens and the rest of creation together cannot contain their Creator and only the soul of a faithful person is his dwelling place and throne and this is possible only through the charity that the wicked lack. For the Truth says: The one who loves me, will be loved by my Father, and I shall love him and we shall come to him and make our dwelling place with him.

So, just as the glorious Virgin of virgins carried him physically, so, you too, following in her footsteps especially those of humility and poverty, can without any doubt, always carry him spiritually in your chaste and virginal body, containing him by whom both you and all things are contained, and possessing that which, even when compared with the other transitory possessions of this world, you will possess more securely. Regarding this, some kings and queens of this world are deceived; even though in their pride they have climbed all the way up to the sky, and their heads have touched the clouds, in the end they are destroyed like a pile of dung. [/quote]

She makes me laugh, she's so to the point about what matters and what doesn't matter. :lol_roll:

Today, I'm making my famous Pizza Margheurita for my mom and my bro today. I make awesome pizza. That said, I still really hope I'm not assigned to cook my first year. :lol: I don't know much about making meals... Anyway, yeah, Pizza Marghuerita is awesome though. It's an original Italian recipe. And if you're wondering, it has nothing to do with the alcoholic drink. It's called Margheurita after a queen that was visiting Naples, so they made her a special pizza, with all the colors of the Italian flag. :lol: no getting :topsy: off this pizza! Plus, I make my own dough, and homemade dough is the best. Takes some time though. Anywho, :bye: !

Edited by zunshynn
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Somehow I always love it when saints start talking about piles of dung :)

Now, because we're all wondering and apparently no-one dares to ask: who's going to post the pictures of your entrance? :D:

And what exactly are you taking? (You've already mentioned the wicked stationary.)

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[quote name='VeniteAdoremus' post='1100006' date='Oct 24 2006, 11:15 AM']
Somehow I always love it when saints start talking about piles of dung :)[/quote]
:hehe:

[quote]Now, because we're all wondering and apparently no-one dares to ask: who's going to post the pictures of your entrance? :D: [/quote]

My mom probably won't be posting on PM... But she is going to send out updates about how I'm doing every 1-2 months probably, and she'll probably send one out with the pics of my entrance. Just PM me your address if you want to get it. One PMer already has... so perhaps whoever does want to get it could keep the rest of the Pham in the loop. ;)

Otherwise, it would seem OLAM is going to be posting entrance pics, now, so perhaps you'll see some of those one of these days. Of course, we're still waiting for first profession pictures from July, so I don't know how soon you'll see those. By the way, Sr. Julissa's investiture was St. Francis' feast day at the beginning of the month, and they have pictures of that up, if you haven't already see them, [url="http://www.olamshrine.com/olam/highlights_investitures2006.htm"]here[/url]. She's now Sr. Maria Isabella, though I don't know her title. :D:

[quote]And what exactly are you taking? (You've already mentioned the wicked stationary.)
[/quote]

I did have wicked stationery, didn't I? :P: As for other stuff, I am of course bringing everything on my clothing list, my toothbrush and stuff like that and sacramental documentation. My mom will have to send me my passport and birth certificate, because I still haven't gotten them back. :rolleyes:

As for "other stuff", I never did hear from Mother Vicar about the things I asked about... I'm sure she's just been busy. So, I'm just going to bring it with me, and ask when I get there. If she says no to something, my mom can just take it back home.

I'm going to bring a Russian icon that I have of the crucifixion. I found it at a flea market last year, and it's so awesome to help me meditate on the crucifixion. It's pretty worn... the faces have been rubbed off and stuff, but it's really cool. I also want to bring a small tapestry of Our Lady of the Streets that my grandparents gave me from Italy. I don't know that I'll be able to keep it in my cell, but perhaps it could be hung somewhere else in the monastery. And I have a small statue of St. Francis that's been broken and glued together several times, and a picture of Our Lady.

Musicwise, :cans: I'm taking my MP3 player... less hassle... with some litugical music. I'm bringing OLAM's [i]O Divino Nino Jesus[/i], [i]O Lux Beatissima [/i] (which is an AWESOME gregorian chant and polyphony CD from the OCP, believe it or not... I highly recommend it, because it has a beautiful selection),[i] In Paradisum [/i] from some Carmelites, and [i]Chant [/i] from the Benedictines of Santo Domingo de Silos, and Christendom's [i]For Unto Us a Child is Born[/i], Fr. Groeschel's [i]the Rosary is a place[/i]. I got permission fromt the record labels to leave the actual CDs in my parish's perpetual adoration chapel, so I'm happy my parish will get to enjoy them too. I'm not sure about secular music... I will ask if I can keep Yanni and Enya, and maybe a couple tracks by my Uncle.

I also will take my prayer shawl, and I think possibly a quilt that my grandmother made me, and an envelope of pictures and cards of my friends and family, and my address book. I'm bringing a journal or two, and some books for the library. :book: I had trouble deciding which books to bring, because I don't know what books they don't have (I only saw the Extern library... the one in the cloister is even bigger.) But I decided against bringing books by any popes, because I figure they must have them.

So I'm bringing [i]The Precious Blood[/i] by Father Faber, [i]The Spear[/i] by Louis de Wohl, [i]The Great Magdalens[/i] by Msgr. Hugh Francis Blunt, [i]At the Altar of the World[/i] (a beautiful book about JP2 and the Eucharist), [i]Introduction to the Devout Life[/i] by St. Francis de Sales and then of course my Bible and catechism.

And I'm bringing an alarm clock, because I'm terrified I won't wake up. :hehe: :yawn:

Oy... that sounds like a lot... but it didn't seem like it when I was packing it. :huh: Perhaps I'll cut it down a bit.

Edited by zunshynn
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A friend of my dad's entered in a very, VERY strict German convent a couple of years ago... she was allowed to bring a photo book provided that she left it in the office of the guest house. And they have papal enclosure not extending to the guest house :o

It's so wonderful that you can bring your own Bible. I know that it's not good to get attached to stuff, but I -love- my Bible - I got it for a special occasion, and we've had so much good times together :)

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[quote name='VeniteAdoremus' post='1100254' date='Oct 24 2006, 03:29 PM']
A friend of my dad's entered in a very, VERY strict German convent a couple of years ago... she was allowed to bring a photo book provided that she left it in the office of the guest house. And they have papal enclosure not extending to the guest house :o[/quote]

That's interesting... I wonder how that would work. Would someone bring it to her every once in a while or something?

[quote]It's so wonderful that you can bring your own Bible. I know that it's not good to get attached to stuff, but I -love- my Bible - I got it for a special occasion, and we've had so much good times together :)
[/quote]

Actually, now that I think about it, I don't actually know if I can bring my own Bible and Catechism. I just assumed I could. :unsure: Though I'm not particularly attached to mine... I bought it for myself when I needed a smaller Bible last year... But I guess I'll find out.

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[quote name='zunshynn' post='1100272' date='Oct 25 2006, 12:46 AM']
That's interesting... I wonder how that would work. Would someone bring it to her every once in a while or something?
[/quote]
She got it as a gift from the seminarians she worked for as a cook - I'm assuming that when she has guests they can bring it along.

[quote name='zunshynn' post='1100272' date='Oct 25 2006, 12:46 AM']
Actually, now that I think about it, I don't actually know if I can bring my own Bible and Catechism. I just assumed I could. :unsure: Though I'm not particularly attached to mine... I bought it for myself when I needed a smaller Bible last year... But I guess I'll find out.
[/quote]

Well, even if you can't, they probably wouldn't mind having another and you can put in the library or something, right?

Oh, how I love monastery libraries... *dreamy sigh* ^_^

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Wow zunshynn! I'm not certain what I would be allowed to bring with me...but then again, I'm not up to that stage yet! :blush: I loved the blog...BTW....I'm taking it into work with me...I think it is an excellent explanation of religious life vs secular life..how both have their limitations & duties... :blush:

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[quote name='VeniteAdoremus' post='1100292' date='Oct 25 2006, 09:10 AM']
She got it as a gift from the seminarians she worked for as a cook - I'm assuming that when she has guests they can bring it along.
Well, even if you can't, they probably wouldn't mind having another and you can put in the library or something, right?

Oh, how I love monastery libraries... *dreamy sigh* ^_^
[/quote]


Books *snif snif snif* did some say books...... :drool: :drool: :drool:

But seriously Zunshynn, all the best :D: and many prayers coming your way from down under in the coming months, and as one of those broke daughters thank you for your prayers.
I've PM you as I would like to know how you go.

JMMB,
Belinda

Edited by In His Light
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[quote name='VeniteAdoremus' post='1100292' date='Oct 24 2006, 04:10 PM']
Well, even if you can't, they probably wouldn't mind having another and you can put in the library or something, right?

Oh, how I love monastery libraries... *dreamy sigh* ^_^
[/quote]

Perhaps! Yes, monastery libraries are wonderful! :book:

And I will have access to OLAM's library as a postulant in one week! :woot:

Today, my brother is taking off school to spend some time with me... I think it's starting to make him sad that I'm leaving. Anyway, we're going to the mall to try to find some sandals, and then later today I'm stopping by my old high school one more time... :)

My pizza turned out pretty good... it was a bit saltier than usual, but my mom liked it. If you guys' are interested I'll post the recipe up. :eating:

[url="http://franciscanfriarstor.com/stfrancis/St_Clare_of_Assisi/stf_st_clare_of_assisi_writings.htm#The%20fourth%20letter%20to%20Blessed%20Agnes%20of%20Prague"]Here[/url] is Clare's fourth and final letter to Agnes of Prague:

[quote]To the other half of her soul and repository of the special love of her deepest heart, illustrious queen, spouse of the Lamb of the eternal King, the Lady Agnes, her own dearest mother and, among all the others, her special daughter, Clare, unworthy servant of Christ and useless handmaid of his handmaids who live in the Monastery of San Damiano in Assisi, sends greetings and her prayer that Agnes, together with the other most holy virgins, will sing a new song before the throne of God and of the Lamb, and will follow the Lamb wherever he goes.

O mother and daughter, spouse of the King and all ages, even if I have not written to you as frequently as both your soul and mine would have desired and longed for, do not for a moment wonder or believe in any way that the fire of my love for you burns any less sweetly in the deepest heart of your mother. The truth is that a shortage of messengers and the obvious perils of travel have hindered me. But now, as I write to your love, I rejoice and exult for you in the joy of the Spirit, spouse of Christ, because like that other most holy virgin, Saint Agnes, you have been in an astonishing way espoused to the immaculate Lamb, who, having assumed responsibility for all the vanities of this world, takes away the sins of the world. Happy, indeed, is the one permitted to share in this sacred banquet so as to be joined with all the feelings of her heart to him...

As you are placed in this contemplation, may you remember your poor little mother, (knowing that I have inseparably inscribed the happy memory of you on the tablets of my heart, for I regard you as dearer than all others. Why say more? Let my physical tongue be silent, as it is said, and let the tongue of the Spirit speak.

O blessed daughter, since in no way at all could my bodily tongue express more fully the love that I have for you, that which I have written is certainly inadequate. I beg you to receive these words with kindness and devotion, seeing in them at least the motherly affection, by which every day I am stirred by the fire of love for you and your daughters; please ask them to pray for me and my daughters in Christ.

Indeed, inasmuch as they are able, my own daughters, and especially the most prudent virgin, Agnes, our sister, beg you and your daughters to pray for them in the Lord.

Farewell, dearest daughter, together with your own daughters, until we meet at the throne of glory of the great God, and pray for us.

I must now commend to your charity, as fully as possible, our dearest bearers of this letter, Brother Amato, beloved by God and human beings, and Brother Bonaugura. [/quote]

I think that's a beautiful testimony to the love that contemplative nuns should have with their sisters in other communities as much as those sisters in their own, and also to their fellow Franciscan friars and brothers. Truly like a family... The family-"ness" of the Franciscans and the Poor Clares was one of the first things that struck me about them that I liked, even while I still thought they were too un-me to be a fit. Not that other orders lack a sense of family... certainly all the OPs and OCDs that I've come across do... but it was just different.

And I may have said this before, so forgive me if I'm repeating myself, but I finally came to realize that your family is essential. I think only your family can make you a saint... strangers really don't, because it's not that hard to be nice to someone you'll never see again... but your family are the ones that drive you up the wall alot of the time, and you tend to treat them most poorly, oftentimes, and yet you love them. And until you learn to love your family, one can never learn to love the whole world.

Anywho, I'm done rambling. Have a nice day y'all!

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[quote name='zunshynn' post='1100834' date='Oct 25 2006, 07:04 PM']

And I may have said this before, so forgive me if I'm repeating myself, but I finally came to realize that your family is essential. I think only your family can make you a saint... strangers really don't, because it's not that hard to be nice to someone you'll never see again... but your family are the ones that drive you up the wall alot of the time, and you tend to treat them most poorly, oftentimes, and yet you love them. And until you learn to love your family, one can never learn to love the whole world.

[/quote]

That's so true. When it comes to the Ten Commandments, "respect thine elders" is one of the hardest for me (for example, I haven't murdered anyone in a while, nor really felt the need to...). I'm so happy my mum's coming over from France for my birthday :D:

You'll be getting a new family in a week - how would you have reacted when someone told you ten years ago you'd end up with more than forty sisters? :) Good luck with getting to know all of them.

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