Sunday, December 8, 2019

The prophet Isaiah.

The Isaiah readings that fill our Advent days speak so eloquently of God's loving care for us, God's ever presence with us and a multitude of imageries of God's relationship with the people.

It has brought to mind one of my favorite sayings--which, by the way, is on a plaque placed among the trees in our woods by a guest in our hermitages. Here it is. It is written in English, but I kind of like the Latin: "Vocatus atque non vocatus Deus aderit.

I read that Carl Jung had it carved in Latin over the front door of his house. And he was a psychoanalyst-----nice!

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

No snow--this time!

Day after day last week we watched the evening news start off with reports on the early, yet major, snow storms that were battering the West, Midwest and finally, this past weekend, New England and the east coast. For an area that averages nearly 100" of snow a season, the awareness that we were having no snow at all during this time was shocking. Oh, we'll certainly get ours--there's no doubt about it, but if it's not coming from Canada, sweeping over the three Great Lakes that are west of us---it really isn't that unusual that the storms that travel up the east coast, don't reach us, here on the other side of the Allegheny Mountains.

Here's what we found on a quick trip around Presque Isle State park, while others were shoveling out or waiting endlessly in airports.

I think some of these ducks, and certainly many Canada geese,
winter here and seem to be able to find enough open water.

Duck hunting and deer hunting are going on at this time.

I just couldn't resist a follow up from Monday's blog--the wonders of YouTube. Here's the 1950s cartoon of "Here Comes Susie Snowflake." It really wasn't a Christmas show at all. It was more like a PSA interlude between shows, as it was only 2 minutes long.

Or if you prefer, here's Rosemary Clooney's version. She's the one who really made it a Christmas song. Trivia: Rosemary was married to the actor/director Jose Ferrer and the mother of the late actor Miguel Ferrar who played Owen Granger on NCIS Los Angeles.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Frosty the Snowman turns 50

I should be writing about our chapel, which is beautiful in its Advent environment or about the hymns in our special Advent booklet that we started today: 57 in total, or about the special prayers and poetic, prophetic readings we had both at the vigil Saturday night and all day Sunday. You'll read plenty enough about them during the next 3+ weeks, both here, on other blogs and on our community website.

Instead, here's what really caught my eye in our Sunday paper: "Find when Rudolph, Frosty, Charlie Brown, others airs," a December 1-31 schedule of the traditional holiday shows that run only in December. "A Charlie Brown Christmas" is this Thursday...that would be my #1. How can we ever forget Linus's recitation of the Christmas story. (Even honored on a USPS stamp.)

Others I'd love to catch: "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Happy New Year, Charlie Brown," and "Dick Clark's Primetime New Year's Rockin' Eve." (Really? you're kidding! Is Dick Clark still on?! No, he can't be...but maybe he's channeled through Ryan Seacrest.)

I'm going to post this list for all the sisters to enjoy...if I can tear them away from the month-long Hallmark Channel Christmas movies they all love! But I have just one question, if after 50 years they are still showing "Frosty the Snowman" why not also show "Here Comes Susie Snowflake" all-time favorite---of course!

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Music, music

We are blessed with wonderful musicians and music here at the Mount--and it's about to get much better!

Both the Sisters Schola (34 singers strong) and handbell choir (10 of us) have new pieces that we've been faithfully practicing for over three months now, getting ready for the Advent and Christmas seasons. It's great fun to get new songs, yet they come with just a little "appropriate nervousness" when performing them for the first time!

Then, if those weren't exciting enough, we arrived at the first of two special all-community choir practices last week, again for Advent and Christmas, and what do we find? a new Mass (with five sung parts) for our Sunday liturgies and 6 new Benedictus tones and 6 new Magnificate tones for our everyday Morning and Evening Prayer! A bonanza of music has erupted.

I know many of you don't live near enough to come and hear all of these, but check out our homepage now and then. We do record them and upload them there occasionally.

Wish you could be here!

Sunday, November 24, 2019

My soul is clapping

Since this is Thanksgiving week, I think we ought to be mindful of gratitude and thanks all week long. So here's one of Mary Oliver's best reflections on what it is that we should be most grateful for: each other.

What is the greatest gift?

What is the greatest gift?
Could it be the world itself--the oceans, the meadowlark,
the patience of the trees in the wind?
Could it be love, with its sweet clamor of passion?

Something else--something else entirely
holds me in thrall.
That you have a life that I wonder about
more than I wonder about my own.
That you have a life--courteous, intelligent--
that I wonder about more than I wonder about my own.
That you have a soul--your own, no one else's--
that I wonder about more than I wonder about my own.

So that I find my soul clapping its hands for yours
more than my own.

Mary Oliver

Another stunning sunrise.

With Thanksgiving weekend this year, comes the beginning of Advent. Sometimes we get a week in between, sometimes not. This year is a "not" and therefore has kept me on my toes as far as finding a time when the temperature rose above 45, with no wind and little blowing. Finally got one last Thursday afternoon and thanks to the help of one of our maintenance guys, Jim, we were able to put our new LED lights (saves on electricity and billing they tell me) on the magnolia tree in the inner courtyard. They will be lit every Advent Saturday night for the Vigil of Sunday and, as Christmas nears, every night until January 6th. Can't wait!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Sunrise, sunset

Postulant Jen Frazer's morning shot.

We are just at that unique time of year when our sunrises and sunsets, given no or minimal cloud cover, are just lovely. It's hard to catch them, though, they come and go very quickly. My sunset isn't very good---it'll just be a warm up for better ones to come.

November is an unusual month, all around.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Chances Are...

Last week I opened an email from our local library announcing to me that a book that I had had on the reserve list for 8 weeks was finally mine to pick up. What joy! This is an author that one of my more literate friends got me hooked on a couple years ago, so when I saw that he had a new book I got on the list. What a great, really great writer. His name is Richard Russo, he is a Pulitzer Prize winner and is, for me, a kind of male Anne Tyler, whom I also love. I like their writing for the same reason: they write about the extraordinary in the ordinary.

This new one by Russo, with an ellipsis in the title, seems set up to be classic Russo. Here's a little from the book flap: "Russo is renowned for his astute, masterful understanding of community...Shot through with his trademark comedy and humanity, his latest bristles with suspense and menace..." A perfect beginning to one of my favorite winter survival techniques: hunkering down with great books!