As Advent begins, we approach winter and the darkest time of the year. Daylight hours are shortened, and the night is long. This year, darkness takes on a new meaning. During this pandemic, our experience of darkness may be tinged with the depth of many feelings: fear, sorrow, loneliness, and hopelessness. As we journey through this present darkness, how we long for light!
The words thanks or thanksgiving are used in the Old Testament 72 times and in the New Testament 71 times, so they are not new to our vocabulary. This Thanksgiving will be different because of the pandemic. There may be an absence of a family member or friend at the dinner table, which will lead to a feeling of loss. The Monastic Community will feel that loss also. However, nothing can change the Thanksgiving Spirit in our hearts for YOU!
As a part of our commissioning service at the September 12 day of community meetings, each member of the community was presented with a copy of her first vows. We were invited to reflect on that original commitment to seek God with this community and to be of service to one another and the Church.
The Benedictine Feasts days of February 10 and July 11 are typically the dates marked by commitment for a monastic. October 18 is my anniversary date. It was on this day in 1987 that I professed my first vows. The reason for such a date was due to the fact that I entered the Novitiate on the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross, September 14 of 1986, and so a date in October of the following year made sense.
Fall is a favorite season for many of us. All around we see folks collecting dried seeds for spring planting, some are nurturing the ground with rich soil or cleaning a bird feeder. Others may be modifying daily schedules to accommodate school or childcare needs. We are all seeking normality in a time of uncertainty amidst global health concerns. All around we are hearing the following words, intending to offer comfort: “We are all in this together.”