Monday, September 8, 2008

Faith magazine

The September-October issue of our diocesan magazine, Faith, is both out in the mail and online. This is the annual "teen issue" and besides featuring 10 top teens from around the diocese, the editor tried to have a number of articles/columns that might interest teen readers. So, I tried. After teaching high school for 25 years I hoped I knew a little bit about teenagers.

Of the three articles, I tweaked one that had already appeared here, but two I newly wrote for the issue. Here's one of them. If you want to see the other two, click on the link on the right side bar.

"At 6:30 a.m. anything can happen...and does"

We hold Morning Prayer in our monastery at 6:30 a.m. on weekdays. With no intention to “toot our own horn,” without cause, I must say that our prayer is quite special: we chant most of the psalms and canticles, have a variety of musical instruments played, and have many sisters who generously share their creativity and experience in presenting the Word of God.

However, that 6:30 a.m. time can sometimes overwhelm even the best of intentions. A stand-up comic couldn’t compete with some of our faux pas, for they aren’t rehearsed or timed or planned, they just happen.

Here are some of the best from recent mornings:

The reading from the Rule of Benedict says: “Those guilty of a serious fault are to be excluded from both the table and the oratory.” One morning we were told, “Those guilty of a serious fault are to be executed from the table ….”

During the Easter season the solo reader was supposed to be telling us, “Let us go forward with branches….” But that day we were told, “Let us go forward in branches.”

And then there was that time when our prayer asked God to "Free us from our tendency to sin." But our leader begged God to “Free us from our tendency to sing.” And, she was one of our musicians, too!

On hot August days you can tell even in the early morning that it’s “going to be a scorcher,” as they say, so who could blame one of our sisters when she quoted the chapter on humility in the Rule by reading: "Therefore any requests to a prioress should be made with all humidity..."

Everyone loves the Advent readings especially the Old Testament scripture prophesies of the coming of the Messiah-- except one day when we were told, "Wait in patience for God's promise takes forever."
And finally, in our prayers we often pray for all the intentions that are asked of us. Many of them are posted on our prayer bulletin board. Here’s one of our memorable ones from that board: "Please pray for Maria K. who broke her hip and her husband Chuck."

None of these hilarious moments change the beauty and sincerity of our prayer, of course. They just remind us that we are human.

Photo by Margaret Ann Pilewski, OSB