Saturday, May 10, 2008

Amazing Experiences...

Two finals down, three to go. I needed a study break and just had to share this...

We have lived in Europe for nearly two years now. Although, much of it is very secularized there are still pockets of deep, Catholic beauty and culture to be found. This beauty breaks forth every now and again in the most amazing ways. These experiences are tremendous gifts of the Lord often easily overlooked but so rich and wonderful if seen for what they really are. I had one of those experiences today.

There is perpetual Adoration at the Kartause Maria Thron; the church where the International Theological Institute and the Franciscan University Austrian Program worship. The time is split between the students of both institutions. My family has an hour-and-a-half of Adoration on Saturday morning. I was there with the Lord when I heard quite a commotion behind me. This is not unusual in that there are many tours that come through the church - often through the Adoration chapel. I was trying to ignore them but caught a atypical sight in my peripheral vision, so I had to look. I was surprised to see about 20 Cistercian monks genuflecting and passing through to another chapel that is above the Adoration chapel. One of our instructors, Dr. Michael Waldstein, has a son who is a Cistercian at the Stift Heiligenkreuz. (Here are a few photos I took when we visited.) This monastery has been in continuous service to the Church since the 12th Century. It is amazing to think that they have been chanting the Divine Office in the same place continuously for about 900 years! They just got a record deal to sing plainchant for Universal (see article here). I hear that they have already recorded the album and now are in the midst of mixing it.

Anyway, as they filed past I realized what might be happening...YES!!! They went up to the chapel to sing the Office!! So imagine, I am alone with the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament while listening to the Cistercian monks chant the Office in Latin! The acoustics of the chapel and the stairway where the chant proceeded down was magnificent. I sat there filled with the Presence of the Lord listening to the ancient praises being sung. I was overwhelmed with gratitude and wonder. Such a simple gift but so profound. It is amazing how the Lord is forever giving us little tokens of his love. It seems that we never have the time to pray. We must make it. When we do, God is never outdone in generosity. I will never forget those few minutes of chant and the gift of love that they were...

As a side-note, the cross with which the bishop blesses at the end of the video is the largest relic of the true Cross north of the Alps.

Saturday, May 03, 2008


I am so excited! I just bought my ticket to come home for a couple weeks this summer. With that said, I'd like to announce:temptation 2

“That They May Have Life, and Have It Abundantly: Spirituality and Theology in the Gospel of John for Today.”

What: A three-day mission.

Who: Me! :-)

Where: Nazareth Retreat Center; 4450 N. Five Mile Road, Boise

When: June 17, 18, 19

Time: Morning Session 10:00am-12:00pm

Evening Session 7:00pm-9:00pm

Cost: No cost - freewill donation.

Please bring a Bible, pen, and paper.

Description: We will dig deeply into the key themes and terms in the Gospel of John in order to deepen our relationship with the Blessed Trinity. Key themes and terms include: gift, glory, obedience, love, belief, "signs", kingship, and light to name a few. We will discover that the depth of the Gospel will draw us to know, live for, and love our Lord in a new and more profound manner. I hope to see you there!!

Clarification: The retreat/mission consists of 3-sessions. The same presentations will be made in the morning session and the evening session. You can mix and match at will! :-)