Iconostasis and Lent

iconostasis-and-lent-olamnunsThere is a tradition In the Eastern Churches called -- iconostasis, where you can’t see everything that’s going on, because what is happening is so holy it should be veiled. When the elements of the bread and wine become Our Lord’s Body and Blood, you’re not seeing that at that moment, but you do see Our Lord and God at the elevation of the consecration.

Lent is like that. It veils and separates us from the world so that we can become more aware of the great mystery of the hidden icon of Jesus within us.

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We Become What We Love

we-become-what-we-love-olamnuns-st-clare-quote"We become what we love and who we love shapes what we become. If we love things, we become a thing. If we love nothing, we become nothing.

Imitation is not a literal mimicking of Christ, rather it means becoming the image of the beloved, an image disclosed through transformation. This means we are to become vessels of God´s compassionate love for others. " - St. Clare of Assisi

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She Did More Which Loved More

St.-Benedict-and-St.-Scholastica2Sibling bickering, it seems, does not stop even when both brother and sister are saints. The year was 547 AD and St. Benedict of Nursia—yes, that St. Benedict, for whom the Benedictines are named—was having a rare once-a-year visit with his sister, St. Scholastica. As the day neared end, St. Benedict wanted to return to his abbey, but St. Scholastica pleaded with him to stay so they could keep talking. What did she do when St. Benedict refused? She did what any offended sister might do: she cried. Except when this saint cried, it poured—quite literally.

Here is how Pope Gregory I (also a saint) recounts the story in his Life of St. Benedict:

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Joy, the Beauty of Consecration

joy-consecrated-lifeAn excerpt from Pope Francis' Letter to Consecrate Men and Women.

"This is the beauty of consecration: it is joy, joy...". The joy of bringing God's consolation to all. These are the words spoken by Pope Francis during his meeting with seminarians and novices. "There is no holiness in sadness", the Holy Father continued. Do not grieve like others who have no hope, wrote St. Paul (1Thess 4:13).

Joy is not a useless ornament. It is a necessity, the foundation of human life. In their daily struggles, every man and woman tries to attain joy and abide in it with the totality of their being.

In the world there is often a lack of joy. We are not called to accomplish epic feats or to proclaim high-sounding words, but to give witness to the joy that arises from the certainty of knowing we are loved, from the confidence that we are saved.

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A free gift of the Blessed Trinity

our-lady-of-the-trinity-olamnunsIn the Apostolic Exhortation, Sacramentus Caritatis, Pope Benedict XVI gives us a profound exegesis into the heart of the Eucharistic encounter -- an exchange of persons.

"The first element of eucharistic faith is the mystery of God himself, trinitarian love. In Jesus' dialogue with Nicodemus, we find an illuminating expression in this regard: "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him" (Jn 3:16-17). These words show the deepest source of God's gift. In the Eucharist Jesus does not give us a "thing," but himself; he offers his own body and pours out his own blood.

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The Joy of Chastity

chastity-purityIn 2006, Dawn Eden wrote The Thrill of the Chaste: Finding Fulfillment While Keeping Your Clothes On. It was an account of how, as a new Christian convert—having led an exciting but spiritually unfulfilling life as a rock journalist—she learned to be joyfully chaste.

Eden's book stood out. While many Christian writers were directing their messages toward teenagers tempted by pre-marital sex, she spoke empathetically to singles who had already been sexually active, and were wounded by their way of life.

The book resonated with many—Christians and non-Christians alike. The New York Times took note of it, (later profiling her) and a Village Voice sex columnist wrote in a back-cover blurb for the book: "As a single woman myself, Dawn's given me a lot to think about." To date, the book has sold over 20,000 copies worldwide, and been translated into Spanish, Polish, Slovak and Chinese.

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As Bride with the Lord

Christ-the-Bridegroom-fra-angelicoThe Son of God presents himself as the Bridegroom-Messiah (cf. Mt 9:15; 25:1), come to seal the marriage of God with humanity, (16) in a wondrous exchange of love, which begins in the Incarnation, comes to its summit of self-offering in the Passion and is for ever given as gift in the Eucharist.

The nuptial dimension belongs to the whole Church, but consecrated life is a vivid image of it, since it more clearly expresses the impulse towards the Bridegroom.

In a still more significant and radical way, the mystery of the exclusive union of the Church as Bride with the Lord is expressed in the vocation of cloistered nuns, precisely because their life is entirely dedicated to God, loved above all else, in a ceaseless straining towards the heavenly Jerusalem and in anticipation of the eschatological Church confirmed in the possession and contemplation of God. Their life is a reminder to all Christian people of the fundamental vocation of everyone to come to God; and it is a foreshadowing of the goal towards which the entire community of the Church journeys, in order to live forever as the Bride of the Lamb.

- cf Verbi Sponsa

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The Heart of Jesus is the Holy Eucharist

heart-of-jesus-is-holy-eucharist-olamnunsThe Heart of Jesus is the Holy Eucharist; a pure perfect child's heart.

"God is love. The Sacred Heart symbolizes the love that is God. From all eternity, God is love."

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus goes back to the early Church in the time of Divine Revelation. Like all other true devotion in the Catholic Church, devotions to the Sacred Heart is based on divine revealed truth.

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The Eucharist and Silence

so-much-like-god-silenceMeister Eckart typically said that 'there is nothing so much like God as silence.' Mother Teresa, who insisted on the centrality of two hours of silent prayer for the life of her apostolic sisters, typically said that 'silence is God speaking to us.' Each of these sayings illustrates a way of understanding the meaning of silence.

Why is God so like silence? Eckart doesn't say God likes silence or likes silent worshippers but that God is like silence. St Benedict has two words we translate as silence: quies and silentium. Quies is quiet, physical silence, an absence of noise -- not banging doors, not scraping chairs, not coughing or unwrapping sweet papers. It is the quies we expect good parents to train their children in, a physical self-restraint and modesty that respects the presence of other people. Quies makes the world habitable and civil. It is often grossly lacking in urban modern culture where music invades elevators and there is rarely a moment or place where we are not in range of manmade noise. There are now expensive headphones that people wear, not to listen to music but to block out noise. Silentium, however, is not an absence of noise but a state of mind and an attitude of consciousness turned towards others or to God. It is attention.

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Locked-In To Jesus

locked-in-to-jesus-cloiser-poor-claresWe desire to be enclosed with Jesus who enflames our hearts with a desire to adore and pray. Our prayer extends to all of you in the world who labor to make His Heart know.

You could say that we are 'locked in' to Jesus who is Love, and whose love transcends all walls as it moves and lives in all hearts open to truth and the building of a just world.

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Join in the Joy

If you feel you may have a vocation to our life of adoration and contemplation in the rich Clarian tradition of humility and service then please contact our Vocation Directress.

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Our Lady of the Angels

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Hanceville, AL 35077

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