Glory to Jesus Christ!
Happy Feast of the Annunication! It's also Akathist Saturday! AND it's about time for another update on what we've been up to at the monastery lately.
This past Monday, a few of the nuns tuned into God With Us Online's latest webinar The Incarnation and the Cross with Father David Anderson. We highly encourage you to check it out. In it, Father David gives us some REALLY beautiful reflections to pray with for the Feast of the Annunciation. He also clarifies for us how the calendar dates of Annunciation and Nativity came to be, which is fascinating.
Here's a little from the beautiful liturgical texts for today's feast:
"That mystery which is from all eternity * is being revealed today. * The Son of God becomes the Son of Man. * He accepted the lowliest in order to give us the highest. * In times of old, Adam was deceived; * he desired to become like God and did not. * Now God becomes a man that He may make Adam God. * Let all creation he happy; * let nature dance with joy * because the archangel stands in awe before the Virgin and greets her. * He brings the greeting which changes our grief into joy. * Through the mercy of you compassion, You became incarnate; * O our God, glory to You!"
(From the Praises for Matins for the Feast of the Annunciation, bolded portions are themes in Fr. David's talk)
We have just one more week of the Great Fast, then on to Great and Holy Week, and finally, Pascha! It's so close, yet so far away.
Leaven and Levity during the Great Fast
We've been getting pretty serious about sourdough bread lately. Mother Iliana and Sister Onuphria were occasionally making bread, but since the start of the fast, they've been doing it more often to go with our plethora of fast-friendly soups. Then, Mother Gabriella learned how a couple weeks ago (the photo to the left is Mother Gabriella's sourdough first-born), so our sourdough starter, Frankie, has been very busy. (His name is Frankie, after Frankenstein's Monster because "IT'S ALIVE!") We also like making sourdough pancakes, brownies, cookies, flatbread, cinnamon rolls, etc. We've done a lot of experimenting in the last year and a half, and it's been super fun, delicious, and nutritious. We're looking forward to being able to do more fun things with Frankie after the Fast is over.
Sourdough is really interesting for a lot of reasons, but one particularity about it is that you never know quite how it's going to turn out. Depending on the humidity, temperature, rise times, how Frankie's feeling that day, and probably lots of other mysterious factors, the bread or whatever we're making turns out differently every time. Sourdough, like our Byzantine Catholic faith, is full of mystery.
We've been glad to also be able to share Frankie with some people who have come to visit. He now has lots of progeny, and even multiple generations as people we've shared him with share their starter with others. It's pretty fun.
This past Thursday evening, St. Joseph's parish in Brecksville, Ohio, hosted us for the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete. We were so glad to get to give the local faithful the opportunity to pray this service with us, and we're so grateful for the work of those who helped us organize the evening. It was also wonderful to be joined by so many families and their children. Thank you very much to the priests who were present to hear Confessions. It was a beautiful evening. This canon is such a great gift to us, handed down through the traditions of the Church. Below, you can see some photos from the evening, including photos of the veneration of a relic of St. Mary of Egypt.