The window of my room in the Monastery looks out on a field where lupine and daisies flourish in the spring and summer. The paths winding through the fields of wildflowers into the woods are pathways to grace-filled moments. When the Sisters walk through the field into the woods, they encounter the mysteries of God’s creative and healing love.Lately when I pass through the wooden fence that leads into those fields, I find a blanket of white snow where once there was growth and color. The Monastery is not entirely without color and flowers, though. Within the heart of the Monastery – Our Lady Queen of Peace Chapel – one will find an array of delicate blossoms. Where there is prayer and love, God’s presence dwells, no matter how cold or challenging life becomes.
Human life can be very cold and unwelcoming when God does not occupy a central place in one’s heart. A woman called to Benedictine monasticism leaves behind the life she knew to give God that central place. When she does so, she discovers that she is always held in the center of the Trinity’s circle of love.The intensity of our desire to be more fully united to God opens the Benedictine heart to search for God. The Benedictine vocation is rooted in that search, which takes place in prayer as well as in community. If the Chapel represents the central place that God and prayer hold in our monastic lives, then the flowers there remind us that God is the fruit and source of all goodness. Each Sister is held lovingly in the bonds of a community that prays for and with her. From the graces that flow out of prayer and community, we minister to a world in winter and longing, helping it rediscover its sacred identity and purpose.
Like the gate that opens to the snowy field behind the Monastery, life’s challenges reveal the sacredness of God’s presence to us and an invitation to a deeper relationship. Like the flowers in the Chapel, Benedictine life is a colorful, warm garden of grace where we discover the God for whom we seek and long.