Tuesday, May 29, 2012

God is good!

God is good! We finally reached our goal for the pond repair project. Praise the Lord! The moment was quite awesome. I was speaking with someone in the back yard and was asked about the pond situation. In the midst of the conversation, we walked by the pond and I told her that we still needed two thousand dollars to cover the cost of the pond repairs. After a while, the conversation shifted and we talked about God’s plan for us and how we need to trust, be patient and not interfere with His plans. We came back into the monastery and met Sr. Julie in the dining room who had just brought in the mail. Along with some junk mail was an envelope addressed to “Pond Excavation and Repair Project.” When we opened it we were stunned. Enclosed in the envelope was a check for…you guessed it…$2,000! WOW! With thankful tears, all I could keep saying was, “God, You are so good.” We are sincerely thankful to everyone for their goodness, generosity and support! GOD IS GOOD!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Mine.  This word we learn at a very early age in order to determine the difference between self and other, but some days I feel my grasp of the word may have stopped back then (Truth - community life brings out the best and worst of me, depending on the day!).  My mom likes to remind me of the time as a young child when she showed me a video of myself playing with my own toys in our family room, and I got SO upset at whoever this girl was who was playing with my toys!  How dare she touch MY stuff!

And I am not alone!  Look at how often the need for ‘mine’ shows up in pop culture.  The first example that comes to mind is that of Gollum in J.R.R. Tolkien’s series Lord of the Rings.  Talk about a creature overtaken by the need for ‘mine’!  Gollum’s whole life becomes consumed by a single item, a ring, which he refers to as ‘my precious.’  He will stop at nothing to keep possession of the ring, and at the end of the arduous journey, he loses his life trying to regain control of that ring.  So, who was in control here, Gollum or the ring?

How often do we get caught up in ‘mine’ or as I have heard it referred to as the "unholy trinity of me, myself and I?"  To steal a line from a favorite country song of mine, “I wanna talk about me, wanna talk about I, wanna talk about number one, oh my me my, what I think, what I like, what I know, what I want, what I see.”  And how often do we stop with me?  What do I want?  What will make ME happy?  Not that these questions are bad, because we need to learn who we are and what our desires are, both the good and the bad, but they should not be the end.  Understanding myself is a good thing, but it must be done in light of the One who created me and knows me better than I know myself – Jesus.

So how do we do that?  How do we learn about ourselves, in the rich uniqueness that we are, within the context that God intended?  We need to develop a relationship with the One who created us to find out who He created us to be, and that relationship is reached through one word – prayer.  We have to pray!

I recently started reading a new-to-me book that has really helped to deepen and re-focus my prayer life – and it is totally rocking my world!  The book is Beginning to Pray by Archbishop Anthony Bloom.  Every person on the planet who desires a better prayer life should read this book.  There is more in the book than I could possibly share in this short blog post, but here is a quote that really is shaping my view on the ‘mine’ in my life and how it affects my prayer life and how I react to the rest of the world:

Have you never noticed that to be rich always means an impoverishment on another level?  It is enough for you to say ‘I have this watch, it is mine,’ and close your hand on it, to be in possession of a watch and to have lost a hand.  And if you close your mind on your riches, if you close your heart so that you can keep what is in it safe, never to lose it, then it becomes as small as the thing on which you have closed yourself in.

As I read and reread this quote, I am reminded of all the times in my life I close my hands around a possession or my heart around an emotion or thought, and how holding on to that item or emotion actually takes a hold of me, instead of the other way around (think Gollum).  How much more free would I be if instead of dreading the day I have to let go of object X, Y or Z or instead of getting sad to leave somewhere before I have even arrived, if I just allowed each item I am given and each situation I encounter to pass through my life, enjoy it while it is there, and wish it well as it goes?  This idea is absolutely difficult for me, but the outcome is SO freeing!  When I allow God to transform my heart through prayer, to open my death grip on whatever I feel I can’t live without (picture that pair of shoes you can’t EVER get dirty or that anger you are harboring towards a coworker because they are SUCH a terrible person) I take tiny step towards true freedom and away from the fake freedom I have been clinging to.  I have only begun to scratch the surface of this reality, but prayer is really opening me up to this whole new world of freedom!

To check out the book I mentioned, click here.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Registration now open for Girls' Camp 2012!

"On finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it" (Matthew 13:46).

We invite any teen girl to consider attending this year's "Life in Christ Girls' Sleepover Weekend," aka "Girls' Camp," an event that we currently host and plan (with the help of some awesome young adult women), which is sponsored by the Office of Vocations of the Eparchy of Parma.

We are excited about our theme this year: "Priceless: Finding your value in Christ."  The world tells us to find our value in how we look, what we can do, what others think of us, etc.  Striving for this kind of value only leaves us feeling empty, wounded and unloved.  We can't possibly find fulfillment this way.  The amazing news is that you have such value that someone would give His life for you!  And He already has!  Come and find out your true value as a deeply-loved daughter of God!

You will enjoy talks, discussion, activities, prayer, meals and fun with new-found sisters in Christ (and us nuns!).  The weekend closes with a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at the Shrine of Our Lady of Mariapoch (across the street) with Bishop John, the boys' camp participants and the families of all participants.   More information, a video and registration, can be found on our girl's camp page.

Register by June 15!

Please feel free to invite any teen girl you know who may be interested.  Girls do not have to be Byzantine Catholic to attend.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Awesome work day! (and we can use some help this Saturday too!)

This past Saturday, May 12, about 45 volunteers joined us for an awesome, productive and blessed spring work day!  The weather couldn't have been more perfect, and our volunteers were especially energized and ready to work!  We worked on various projects around the monastery grounds, including the construction of raised "square foot gardening" beds for our vegetable garden, repairing of flower and raspberry beds, painting a picnic table, weed-wacking, weeding, mulching, and some landscaping as the beginning of an Eagle Scout project.  Some of our volunteers also helped out at the Shrine of Our Lady of Mariapoch across the street.  We closed the day with Great Vespers (evening prayer) at the shrine and dinner.  Thank you so much to all our awesome volunteers of all ages!

If you were unable to join us this past Saturday but would still like to help out...you're in luck!  Even though we accomplished a TON of work, there is still more to do, especially with the construction of the vegetable garden.  We invite anyone who would like to help, for any amount of time that you have, to join us this Saturday, May 19, any time between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.  Please let us know that you are coming by calling us by Friday at 440-834-0290 or emailing us at christthebridegroom@gmail.com.  Lunch will be provided!

Enjoy these photos from this past work day!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Spring Work Day & Cookout Next Saturday!

Join the nuns of Christ the Bridegroom Community and the Friends of the Shrine of Our Lady of Mariapoch for a day of outdoor and indoor work projects, prayer, food and fun at the monastery and the Shrine of Our Lady of Mariapoch on Saturday, May 12. Volunteers of all ages and abilities are welcome! The day begins at 10 a.m., includes lunch, and closes with vespers at 5 p.m. at the shrine followed by a cookout. The monastery and shrine are located across the street from each other at 17485/17486 Mumford Rd. Burton, Ohio. Come at whatever time you are available, and bring a side dish to share if you can. Please RSVP by Friday, May 4, to christthebridegroom@gmail.com or 440-834-0290, so that the appropriate amount of food can be prepared.

We hope you can join us!  Our work days are always tons of fun!

Things to bring if you have them:

  • Newspaper (for layering at the bottom of our raised-bed vegetable gardens which we will be building)
  • Weedwackers
  • Rakes
  • Hand trowels
  • Shovels
  • Work gloves
  • Power drill
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Friends!