Wednesday, December 10

Recent Mural project

Over the course of several weeks I completed a mural for the Sisters at the Monastery of St. Joseph in Tulsa. They were very hospitable and took me in when I needed a place to stay during my time working in Tulsa this fall. I worked on it somewhat sporadically between other things. You can see a progression in these photos from soon after I had the bulk colors on the wall, to the finished picture a few days ago. The only thing waiting is for a shelf to be built onto the wall to hold the statue of the Sacred Heart centered in the gazebo (I am holding the statue in place in the last photo).

The mural is based from an old photo of the gazebo from the sister's mother house which enshrined a life-size statue of the Sacred Heart. Many of the older sisters would come watch me as I was painting and tell me stories of when they were younger and would go place flowers at the feet of the statue (the mural really brought back beautiful memories for them and made their history more real for me).



Monday, December 8

Guarding the tomb of the unkown soldier

Here is a video clip on MSNBC about the guards who keep perpetual watch over the tomb of the unknown soldier. My friend Adam from Clear Creek is featured in this video clip towards the end - he talks about instilling in the men he trains a desire for this duty and to consider it an honor.
MSNBC Video

Arlington National Cemetary Link
http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/tombofun.htm
Another Video about the Tomb guards
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XiuZRb_4UU

Monday, October 27

This is one crazy election year!

I had heard rumors about this and a friend sent me a video with the info. Frankly I think this is really bizarre ; that something as simple as proving natural citizenship should have happened a long time ago. Why is this issue unresolved weeks before election?

Saturday, October 11

Video clip of interest

For my friend Carlos especially -

Tuesday, October 7

OK for Life : Q&A from candidates


To see the Newsletter with Federal Candidate Survey : http://www.okforlife.org/resources/OCT2008NL.pdf


Vol. 33, No. 2 www.OkForLife.org October 2008
State Senate Key to Unborn Child’s Future;
Republicans Consistently Defend Life


As pro-life Republican U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe is
defending his seat in Congress against pro-abortion
Democrat Andrew Rice, a simultaneous battle rages for
majority control of the Oklahoma state Senate, currently
split 24-24 between Republicans and Democrats.
The state Senate contest has serious ramifications for
the unborn child. All 24 Republicans are pro-life; of the
24 Democrats, about one-third are pro-life, one-third are
pro-abortion, and one-third have mixed voting records.
The majority party will set the legislative agenda, name
the committee chairmen, and organize and run the Senate.
In major races, pro-life Republican Dan Newberry
is opposing incumbent Democrat Nancy Riley of Tulsa
(on eight key Senate votes the past two years, Senator
Riley voted pro-abortion four times [see p. 2], pro-life
three times, and was absent once, when she was the only
senator missing [votes at www.OkForLife.org]); pro-life
Republican Dr. Jim Halligan, former OSU president, is
running for a Stillwater seat long held by Democrats; and
pro-life Republican Kenny Sherrill of McAlester is
challenging pro-abortion Democrat Richard Lerblance for
Democrat Gene Stipe’s former seat. On eight key Senate
votes the past two years, Senator Lerblance has compiled
a 100% pro-abortion voting record (www.OkForLife.org).
_______________________________________________
October 10 Deadline to
Register to Vote:
Go to our website, www.OkForLife.org
______________________________________________
All four of Oklahoma’s Republican members of the
U. S. House of Representatives – John Sullivan, Frank
Lucas, Tom Cole, and Mary Fallin – have 100% pro-life
voting records; Democratic Congressman Dan Boren has
a 67% pro-life voting record.
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe’s been a strong pro-life leader
and outspoken advocate for the unborn child throughout
his career in public service. Senator Inhofe has compiled
a 100% pro-life voting record through his 22 years in
the U.S. House and U.S. Senate. On eight key votes in
the state Senate the past two years, his opponent,
Democratic state Senator Andrew Rice, has compiled a
100% pro-abortion voting record (http://www.okforlife.org/).



Parties Adopt Platforms: Democrats Pro-Abortion, Republicans Pro-Life
The platform adopted in August by the Democratic
National Convention states that the Democratic Party
"strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and
a woman's right to choose a safe and legal abortion,
regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all
efforts to weaken or undermine that right."
The party platform adopted in September by the
Republican National Convention states that the
Republican Party “affirm[s] that the unborn child has a
fundamental individual right to life which cannot be
infringed.… We support the appointment of judges who
respect traditional family values and the sanctity and
dignity of innocent human life.”
For voting records of pro-abortion Barack Obama
and pro-life John McCain, go to www.OkForLife.org
and click on Presidential Candidates.
Email-Alert Sign Up www.OkForLife.org

Friday, August 29

40 Days for Life in Tulsa!

Here is something that I hope to do and would encourage anyone who can, to come help make a difference :-)
From the website:


This fall, from September 24 - November 2, our community will be one of more than 170 cities in 45 states joining together for the largest and longest coordinated pro-life mobilization in history -- the 40 Days for Life campaign.


40 Days for Life is a focused pro-life effort that consists of:
40 days of prayer and fasting
40 days of peaceful vigil
40 days of community outreach


We are praying that, with God's help, this groundbreaking effort will mark the beginning of the end of abortion in our city -- and throughout America.

Take a stand for life
While all aspects of 40 Days for Life are crucial in our effort to end abortion, the most visible component is the peaceful prayer vigil outside the local abortion (or Planned Parenthood) facility.


You can help make a life-saving impact by joining our local vigil at:
The property directly across from:


Reproductive Services6136 E. 32nd PlaceTulsa, OK


This property is owned by the Diocese of Tulsa.Sign up to participate in our local 40 Days for Life vigil by clicking the "Vigil Schedule" link at the top of this page.
Contact us To learn more, sign up for specific vigil hours, or let us know how you feel called to serve God in this effort, please contact the local 40 Days for Life leadership team:

Erick Bell & Tracy Callicoat 918-307-4939

familylife.office@dioceseoftulsa.org


Get the latest updates
Be sure to sign-up for updates and prayer requests using the form at the top right of this page, and browse through the rest of this site to find out how YOU can help make a lifesaving impact as part of our local 40 Days for Life campaign.
Learn more about the national 40 Days for Life campaign.

Wednesday, August 20

Wrapping up the summer

As most of you know I have spent my summer walking across the United States with Crossroads. Our mission was to change hearts and save lives by bringing the pro-life message out to the streets.

 Crossroads was started by a group of students from Franciscan University of Stuebenville who took John Paul II's challenge seriously to bring the pro-life message to the highways and byways of our country.  In 1995 those students travelled to San Francisco and began walking across the US. 

This was Crossroads 14th summer and there were 3 walks that began May 24th : a northern beginning in Seattle, the central beginning in San Francisco and a southern beginning in Los Angeles.  I walked the central walk beginning in San Francisco and continuing through, Sacramento, Reno, Salt Lake City, Denver, North Platte, Omaha/Lincoln, Kansas City, St. Louis, Columbus, Indianapolis, Pittsburg and finally to Washington DC.    

We walked Monday through Friday around the clock with half the group walking days and the other walking nights (otherwise known as the 'batman shift').  We had an RV for the shift on break and a support vehicle with the shift out walking.  Each person walked about 15 miles a day, each shift covered at least 30 miles and so every 24 hours we travelled 60 miles.  On the weekends we would stop in the major cities:  Saturday mornings were spent praying outside of abortion mills and saturday night/sunday mornings were spent speaking after masses to the parishes that invited us.

We would ask those we spoke with to get involved with the pro-life movement in anyway they could - example: to pray outside of abortion mills, pray for a culture of life with their families, or even come and walk with Crossroads.  We asked for financial support.  And we asked for their prayers to help us continue our mission.  The difficulty with Crossroads was not so much the blisters, the hours and hours walking under the hot sun or stumbling down the highway at 3am when you wish you were sleeping, or even being in a small RV with 8-10 other people ... It was the spiritual battle where satan tried all sorts of things to keep the message from being spread.  We were on the forefront of a spiritual battle ground and as much as we Satan lashing out we also saw God preforming miracles daily to keep us going.  People would after mass write down prayer intentions in a book which we would keep with us to pray for them - at daily mass, morning and evening prayer and during the 20 decades of the rosary we said as we walked each day.

I fly home on Sunday and I am very much looking forward to seeing my family again.  This summer has been an amazing one that was filled with as much learning, adventure, and spiritual-growth as I could ask for over several years.  But it has also left me more ready to begin whatever God has in store for me next!  

Movie : home is where my heart is


Here is a slide show I made before my summer away from home.  It is about my family, our farm, the monastery and the community around us.  It is a little too fast so if you miss something just play is again ;-)  While away it has been a reminder of how much I miss my home as well as a glimpse for those I meet of what a special place Clear Creek is.

Saturday, June 28

Crossroads group blog

Check out http://crossroadswalk.blogspot.com

I am posting on this official Crossroads Blog and here is the most recent post which I actually did quite awhile ago:

http://crossroadswalk.blogspot.com/2008/06/central-walk-2008.html

Crossroads group shot in the Rocky Mountains

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High in the Rocky Mountains

video

Monday, June 23

Life on the Rock : Crossroads Interview


Catch-up time ...

In Salt Lake City Utah I was able to meet up with my dad who was on a business trip. He met me at mass and then took me out to eat at a beautiful place overlooking the whole of dowtown of Salt Lake City with aview of the snow-capped mountains behind. It was there that I told him that I was being flown out to Birmingham AL later that week for an interview with EWTN's 'Life on the Rock. He was very jazzed about that, but even more we both had a wonderful time being together after so long and catching up on what was happening both on Crossroads and back at the Lawless Ranch. We hit the road monday morning and headed into the mountains. That evening we got lost on a dirt road in the mountains but then eventually found our way back to the RV. Wednesday night our walk leader dropped my fellow walker Catie and I at a hotel in Denver and the next morning I took the shuttle to the airport and flew to Alabama. It was so neat to see EWTN's studio and meet the whole crew. The interview went very well and our hosts made us feel very at home and comfortable. Hopefully this link will work so you can see the Crossroads interview. Enjoy!:

Life on the Rock

Wednesday, June 11

Pro-Life Rosary

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Last Saturday our Crossroads group along with a whole crowd from Reno prayed the rosary together outside of an abortion clinic. We were really 'together' since we were all praying on the same rosary. You can sort of see the rosary in the picture above - in the bottom, center you can see one of the large wooden beads (it is about the size of a soft-ball) and the man on the far right is holding the crucifix at the end of the rosary. What a wonderful idea and an amazing symbol of our unity as we beseech our Blessed Mother for her intersession in the battle against the culture of death!

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Monday, June 9

Central Pro-Life Team

IMG_0694
Originally uploaded by mystical_rose84

Left to right: Jeff, Carlos, Matthew, Anne, John, Katie, Trish, and me.

Friday, June 6

Nevada

Our team made it through the Sierra Nevada mountains by the end of last week and then drove back into Sacramento for the weekend. After being cramped all week in an RV with eight other people I found it particularly nice to stay the weekend at Rose of Lima parish. We were given use of one of the buildings next to the church which used to be an orphanage. All the girls camped in the larger of several rooms on the second floor which boasted a beautiful set of stained glass windows. Saturday night I opened one of the windows to check out an accident across the street - A car had crashed into the thrift store and the whole street was full of fire-engines and police cars.

Saturday morning we prayed for about an hour outside a nearby Planned Parenthood clinic. It is hard to describe the intensity of standing in one place, praying near a building where babies are murdered - and that is what it is and you almost feel you can see through the bricks to what is going on inside. It is so different for me than when I just prayed at home for an end to abortion.

Sunday I was stationed at St. Stephen's Fraternity Parish in Sacramento to share with the parishoners what we are doing on Crossroads. It had been quite awhile since I had been to a Tridentine mass and what a beautiful mass it was! I realized how much I had missed it. I met many wonderful families that reminded me even more how much I miss my family too.

Monday we were on the road again and we have spent this whole past week walking across the Nevada desert. I was stationed on night crew and so the whole week was spent in peaceful darkness out under the stars. Well at least the last few nights were. The first night the clouds covered everything in complete darkness and it was rather depressing but the next several nights made up for it. There is nothing to compare to praying the rosary while walking down a dessert road at night without another living thing (besides your walking companion and the support vehicle a few miles ahead) for hundreds of miles around, underneath a glorious night sky with no other lights to diminish the brightness of the stars of the Milky Way. The stars formed what looked like a cloud stretching from one end of the night sky to the other like a rainbow. It was amazing to say the least. As of this morning we had made it just outside of Eureka NV (about half-way across the state). And now we are back in Reno for the weekend. Tomorrow we will pray outside of the abortion clinic and Sunday we will speak after several masses.


Please keep us in your prayers.

Friday, May 30

Lake Tahoe


Our Crossroads central group is now up in the Sierra Nevada mountains near Lake Tahoe and we should be over the state line by the end of the week. Yesterday the day-shift (my shift) began around 3,000 ft elevation in the morning and by evening we were up to 6,500 ft elelvation. My legs were really feeling the steep climb. A few walkers who were not used to higher altitudes became slightly light-headed but everything worked out fine and the views were amazing! For miles and miles there was nothing but pine trees on the mountains and a blue sky ... I was just soaking in the scenery the entire time. The air was so fresh and cool. The redwood trees surrounding us were very tall and thick. I have pictures but they are not uploaded yet (I will post them when I can). This weekend we will be back in Sacramento to talk after masses on Sunday (I will probably get stationed at one church and talk after all the masses). It is not my favorite part on Crossroads, but when people come up after mass so grateful for what we are doing I find my embarrasment in speaking to the Sunday mass crowd a small price to pay for the hope we bring to others. Today we recieved a package of letters from children thanking us for walking - I felt like a celebrity:-) Our group read them out loud and laughed often, especially at the funny ones. One little boy said he was amazed that we were able to run all the way across America and that he could never do that. We just busted up laughing. Us running? it is as much as we can handle just walking up those steep hills ;-) But it brought smiles to all of our faces. I also realized that I had never appreciated a spa the way I did last night. My legs and feet were sore from walking all day in the mountains and when I stepped down into the steamy spa with jets to massage those muscles I was in heaven. My fellow Crossroad walkers are amazing people and last night as we were all enjoying the spa together and talking I realized that each day that goes by I am more and more grateful for the time I have spent getting to know them.

Wednesday, May 28

Set Sail across America!

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A statue near the Golden Gate Bridge

In Sacramento!

We are now in Sacramento. I am at a public library since I am on break while the next shift takes their turn. The last 4 miles through the downtown section of the city was very beautiful (my favorite being all the cute little stores). We will continue on and hopefully get into Nevada next week. Thanks for all the prayers - I am using all of them. We stoped last night at a KOA and tonight we will just camp out somewhere in the city. We spent yesterday walking through Nappa Valley - Just georgeous! I have to go back and do some wine tasting!

Saturday, May 24

CROSSROADS: Central Walk 2008 !!!


After a crazy, yet wonderful two weeks of visiting friends and travelling all across the state of California I begin the Crossroads central walk across the Golden Gate bridge tomorrow at 11am! Our group of 7 just arrived in San Francisco this evening after the long drive from San Bernadino where we had a training session at a cabin next to Lake Arrowhead. I slept for most of the drive which is why I am still up and blogging this post. We have such a wonderful group of young adults and we have had so much fun talking about our adventure and how we want to make it as memorable as possible. I will try to give updates on our trip as often as I can. Also we could use some more walkers (since some were not able to make it) so if any of you are looking for a way to spend your summer helping others, seeing our beautiful country, and getting lots of excerise come and join us! For those who are not able please pray for us!

Monday, April 28

Maria

Here is my finished sculpture: I call it 'Maria' since it was inspired by our Blessed Mother out admiring God's creation. If you can't tell from the picture she is carrying a sack of roses on her back. The statue is clay (it never dries) and was built on a 20 in armature. The lighting changes the appearance quite a bit from picture to picture. I also have these pictures posted on Small Pax : http://smallpax.blogspot.com/




Sunday, April 27

What I will be doing this summer ...

This summer I will be walking with the prolife group 'Crossroads'. I hope to blog the experience and maybe post some pictures too. Please keep me and the mission of crossroads in your prayers!

Opening Day of Tahlequah Farmers Market!!


Date: Saturday, May 3rd 2008
Time: 6am - Noon

Location: First Lutheran Church (Across the street from Wal-Mart, and behind Reasors) 2111 Mahaney AvenueTahlequah, OK 74464-5761 918-456-5070 http://www.firstlutherantahlequah.org/


Directions : See Map



Wednesday, March 26

Beautiful Graphics on the Monks of Clear Creek Monastery




A Must See: Amazing video on Clear Creek Monastery by Tulsa World (a slideshow with audio of Fr. Prior, Fr. Bethel, and Mr. Carpenter ... at least those are the only voices I recognize)


See Also: Multimedia web-page on CC Monastery by Tulsa World

Saturday, March 8

Some Spiritual Food for the Soul

Here is a beautiful piece from one of Sister Wendy's books. I don't actually have the book, but I have a copy from someone of this introduction. It took a little while to type out the entire thing from a copy, but I did it because I thought it was worth it. I would imagine that many people would not get much out of this, but for those of you who like me are a ready sponge for this sort of material I thought it very insighful. ---Michaela
PS There may be some type errors (I apologize)



The Mystery of Love
Sister Wendy Becket

Saints in art through the centuries

Introduction

When I was young, I longed to be a saint: what was I longing for? I think it was for certainty that my life had been, in the most profound sense, a ‘success’, that great glorious success that is sanctity. We revere the saints, we imitate them, theirs is the only true and lasting glory. Very clearly, this desire is, unconsciously, as worldly as that of the writer who wants to write a masterpiece or the politician who yearns to be Prime Minister or President. None of theses ambitions has the least to do with what Jesus preached – that lowliness, that love for last place, that readiness to die and be forgotten. Jesus never countenanced anything at all that boosted the ego. If saints want to ‘sit on his right hand and his left in the kingdom’ and then his answer is an uncompromising ‘No’. To be concerned with oneself in any way, to watch one’s growth in ‘holiness’ or ‘prayer’, to be spiritually ambitious: all this Jesus earnestly sets his face against. He tells us that the one sole virtue is obedience: ‘I do always the things that please him’, he says of his Father.

Obedience is the most demanding of all the virtues, because it never allows us a safe ride, a casual following of the rule. No, obedience means always looking at God and making our decisions in response to what we see in ‘the mind of Christ’. His mind is all and only love, but that, too, is no easy answer. Love is an emotional word and in the Christian context is best translated as ‘respect’, or the biblical ‘honor’. To honor others, to respect them, means to put their interests and rights before or at least, equal with, our own. It subdues the ego before the needs of our neighbor, it leads us to listen to what others say and demand, to balance well what is best for them (in our poor judgment, but the only judgment we have). This concentrated respectfulness is obedience to the Father – and it is the way Jesus summons us to live.

There is no space in such a life for ambition, however noble. St. Paul, as so often, sums it up when he speaks of Jesus having ‘become our holiness’. It is worth pondering this and the implications. If Jesus is our holiness, then we have sacrificed a holiness that is our own, self-achieved and self-comforting. It is extremely painful to live without any inner affirmation that one is pleasing to God, though our examinations of conscience may reassure us that we are not deliberately pursuing any act of attitude that we know to be unloving. But who can prove real purity of motive? Or who can assess what lies behind outward goodness? Having Jesus as our holiness means a total act of trust that, if something is to be done or changed, it will be made clear to us. Meanwhile, we set our sights on him, and surrender. Surrender is another word for obedience – that constant looking towards the Spirit with the urgent prayer to be enabled to receive the grace to give what he asks. When our total gaze is upon the Father, when our total prayer is for the grave of the Spirit, when we are totally receptive to the ‘Yes’ that St. Paul says is ‘always in Jesus’, then we will have become saints. But we shall not know it. The self-regard that would see our sanctity is the great disqualifier. In practical terms, holiness is for other people, to be delighted in, imitated, and revered. It is not our own concern, but God’s. What is our part in this? Quite simply it is to pray.

The essential act of prayer is to stand unprotected before God. What will God do? He will take possession of us. That he should do this is the whole purpose of life. We know we belong to God; we know, too, if we are honest, that almost despite ourselves, we keep a deathly hold on our own autonomy. We are willing, in fact, very ready to pay God lip service (just as we are ready to talk prayer rather than to pray), because waving God and a banner keeps our conscience quiet. But as really to belong to God is another matter. It means having nothing left for ourselves, always bound to the will of Another, no sense of interior success to comfort us, living in the painful acknowledgement of being ‘unprofitable servants’. It is a terrible thing to be a fallen creature, and for most of the time we busily push this truth out of our awareness. But prayer places us helpless before God, and we taste the full bitterness of what we are. ‘Our God is a consuming fire’, and my filth crackles as he seizes hold of me; he ‘is all light’ and my darkness shrivels under his blaze. It is the naked blaze of God that makes prayer so terrible. For most of the time, we can persuade ourselves we are good enough, good as the next man, perhaps even better, who knows? Then we come to prayer – real prayer, unprotected prayer – and there is nothing left in us, no grounds on which to stand.

Normally, as we grow older, we become progressively skilled in coping with life. In most departments, we acquire techniques that we can fall back on when interest and attention wilt. It is part of maturity that there is always some reserve we can tap. But this is not so in prayer. It is the only human activity that depends totally and solely on its intrinsic truth. We are there before God – or rather, to the degree that we are there before God – we are exposed to that entire he is, and he can neither deceive nor be deceived. It is not that we want to deceive, whether God or anybody else, but with other people, we cannot help our human condition of obscurity. We are not wholly there for them, nor they for us. We are simply not able to be so. Nor should we be: no human occasion calls for our total presence, even were it within our power to offer it. But prayer calls for it. Prayer is prayer if we want it to be. Ask yourself: what do I really want when I pray? Do you want to be possessed by God? Or, to put the same question more honestly, do you want to want it? Than you have it. That one point Jesus stressed and repeated and brought up again is that: ‘Whatever you ask the Father; he will grant it to you’. His insistence on faith and perseverance are surely other ways of saying the same thing: you must really want, it must engross you. ‘Wants’ that are passing, faint emotional desires that you do not press with burning conviction, these are things you do not ask ‘in Jesus’ name; how could you? But what you really want, ‘with all your heart and soul and mind and strength’, that Jesus pledges himself to see that you are granted. He is not talking only, probably not even primarily, or ‘prayer of petition’, but of prayer. When you set yourself down to pray, WHAT DO YOU WANT?’ If you want God to take possession of you, then you are praying. That is all prayer is. There are no secrets, no shortcuts, and no methods. Prayer is the utterly ruthless test of your sincerity. It is the one place in all the world where there is nowhere to hide. That is its utter bliss – and its torment.

Bliss or no, it is terrible to live with, to face up to its simplicity. I long to tell myself that the reason why ‘I can’t pray’ is that I’ve never been taught, the right books have passed me by, the holy guru never came down my street. Hence the eager interest in books and articles of prayer – all obscuring from me my lack of true desire. Hence the enthusiasm for the holy retreat-givers, the directors, who will serve me as irrefutable alibi. If there we more to do, would I not do it? (I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all I possess …) No, I would not do it, I have no intention of doing it, but of course, to admit this to myself would rack me with guilt. Remember the rich young man? He had all the right words. ‘God Master, what must I do?’ And Jesus tried to jolt him into reality. We use words like ‘good’ when you do not understand them? But he persisted, and Jesus gave him what the young man truly believed he was asking for: Jesus tell him ‘what to do’, and of course, he goes away sorrowful, because Jesus has taken it out of the region of ideals and emotions and rendered his Father’s claims in plain fact. ‘Sell, give, come and follow me’, It was not what was wanted. Do you think this man went away conscious of his inner falsehood and realizing that he was quite unprepared to look at God straight? I hope he did, but I fear he may well have been sad because the Master’s claims ‘could not’ be met, that he barricaded himself down behind the excuse of ‘inability’, which he convinced himself he longed to overcome.

In you desire to stand surrendered before God, then you are standing there; it needs absolutely nothing else. Prayer is the last thing we should feel discouraged about. It concerns nobody except God – always longing only to give himself to us in love – and my own decision. And that too is God’s, ‘who works in us to will and to effect’. In a very true sense, there is nothing more to say about prayer – ‘the simplest thing out’. However, two practical comments. The first is that prayer must have time. It is part of our normal living, the heart of it, and it can’t fit in along with or during other activities, any more than sleep can. Of itself, it must swamp whatever we try to combine with it. It demands the whole of you, to hold you in the consuming Fire, and then you can go about the rest of the day still ablaze with Him. There is a tendency today for people to say, with greater or less distress, that they have no time for prayer. This is not true (forgive me). What they mean is, they have not got a peaceful hour or two peaceful half-hours or even three peaceful twenty minutes. If that is the day God has given them, then he awaits their praying hearts under precisely these conditions. They are testing conditions, surely, but never impossible. Nobody goes through a day without here and there the odd patch, a five minute break, a ten minute pause, if you do truly want to pray, well then, pray. Take these times, poor crumbs of minutes though they be, and give yourself to God in them. You will not be able to feel prayerful in them, but that is beside the point. You pray for God’s sake, you are there for him to look on you, to love you, to take his holy pleasure in you, What can it matter whether you feel any of this or get any comfort from it? We should be misers in prayer, scraping up these flinders of time and holding them out trustfully to the Father. But we should also watch out for the longer stretches which we may be missing because we don’t want to see them. Many things that are pleasant and profitable, TV programmers, books, conversations, may have at times to be sacrificed, but you will make this and any other sacrifice if you hunger and thirst for God to possess you, and this is my whole point. There is time enough for what matters supremely to us, and there always will be. The exact amount of time is up to our common sense. For most people, our would be a norm, remembering constantly that I am talking simply about being there: the quality of a question for God. Tired or out of sorts, I am still equally myself for him to take hold of me. I will feel nothing of it, that’s all.

The other practical point is: what shall I do during prayer? (How eagerly people long to be told the answer! For that would make me safe against God, well protected: I would know what to do!) But the answer is of the usual appalling simplicity: stand before God unprotected, and you will know yourself what to do. I mean this in utter earnest. Methods are of value, naturally, but only as something to do ‘if I want to’, which in this context of response to God means: if he wants me to. I may feel drawn to meditate, to sing to Him, to stay before him in, say, an attitude of contrition or praise; most often I shall probably want to do nothing but be in His presence. Whether I am aware of that presence does not matter. I know he is there, whatever my feelings, just as Jesus knew when he felt abandoned on the cross. What pure praise of the Father’s love; to feel abandoned and yet stay content before him saying: ‘Father, into your hands …’ We cannot sufficiently emphasize to ourselves that prayer is God’s concern, and His one desire is ‘to come and make his abode with us’. Do we believe him or not? Of course, I can cheat. If I choose not to be there for him, and since I am not yet transformed into Jesus, to some extent I always do protect myself against the impact of His love, and then that is cause for grief. But it is creative grief. It drives us helpless to Jesus to be healed. We say to Him: ‘If you want to, you can make me clean’. But he answers: ‘I do want to –but do you?’ That ‘wanting’ is ever the crux of the matter.

Is there any way of telling whether we do want Jesus to surrender us to his Father? Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers has one character ask another when we can know which are our overmastering desires? And she is told: When they have overmastered us. This is a very wise comment. If God has taken you so deeply into His love that he has transformed you into Jesus, then you have indeed wanted Him with overmastering passion. But if this has not yet happened – even if, humbly, you must say that nothing much at all has happened (‘This man went home justified rather than the other’), it can only be because secretly, deep down you have not wanted it to happen. This is something you cannot help – these hidden desires that shape our course are beyond our control. But they are not beyond God’s control. His whole reason for giving us the sacraments is to open up these recesses to grace and change what we think we want into actuality. Our actions show us what we do in fact want – depressing sight, and sadly coexistent with an emotional consciousness of wholly other wants. We have to hand this over to God, both explicitly, and by immersing our poverty in the strong objective prayer of the Eucharist and the sacraments. There we have Jesus giving Himself totally to the Father and taking us with Him. Then we can almost see, acted out before us, what the Spirit is trying to effect in our own depths. Let him effect it – let Him be God for us. Whatever the past or my fears of the future, here and now, O Holy Spirit, utter within me the total Yes of Jesus to the Father.

I have not dwelt in the book on the lives of personalities of the saints, partly because we know little about most of them, and partly because what really interests me is their attitude, their love. This is constant, the essence of all and any holiness. It is our greatest joy to know that, however poorly we love God, there have been and are others who have understood the lonely call of Jesus. They have accepted to hang without support in the terrible nothingness of ‘no holiness of their own’, no comforting inner feed-back. They have agreed to be the last, to fall into the ground and die, to take up the cross, to wash the feet of others.

May we learn to give Jesus utter freedom within us, so that everything we are and do may be used for the mystery of love.

Saturday, March 1

Local Farming Resources

See the new website with updated information on the Tahlequah Farmers Market:
www.tahlequahfarmersmarket.blogspot.com


I am so excited! Today was spent on the edge of my seat as I listened to speaker after speaker at the Market Gardening Seminar at the Northeast Techonology Center. The main theme was farmers markets and I am most excited about the farmers market that will be starting up this spring in Tahlequah! Here are some of the excellent resources I gleaned from the seminar:

Kerr Center (For Sustainable Agriculture) Calendar of events
Oklahoma Food Co-op Tahlequah Route
Cherry Street Market : One of the most succesful farmer's markets
Three Springs Farm: The young couple that run this farm were really fun to listen to as they shared how they operate their 4-acre farm using all natural and sustainable methods. They sell at the Cherry Street Farmer's market and I hope to visit their farm to see how they run such a beautiful farm all by themselves!

I hope to sell at the Tahlequah Farmers Market but I will also have so much fun visiting the other farmers markets in the area. Local food tastes so much better! And it is so healthy!



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See listings of local farms! : Local Harvest

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UPCOMING CONFERENCE with JOEL SALATIN! Norman OK, March 28th and 29th.
Information: http://www.normansustainability.org/

Local Sheep and Goat Sale in Tahlequah

My family is planning to attend this local sale with some of our boer goats. Yeh for local commerce!

The Annual Sheep and Goat Sale (sponsored by Rural Smallholder Association) will be held on April 26th, 2008 at the Cherokee County Fair Grounds (South of Tahlequah on Hwy 62). Seminars on genetics and parasite control will be given by speaker Jim Morgan at 11:00 am and 1:00 pm. For more information call (918) 772-3578 or (918) 456-9229

Friday, February 29

Low Mass Times

Low Mass times can now be found at www.cin.org/clearcreekmonks.html
Since the schedule changes my grandparents put this up and update it weekly. Bookmark the site so you can find it easily when you need it.

Saturday, January 12

Article from the Tulsa World

As seen of front page of Spirit Daily
Monks in Oklahoma are creating a cloistered compound built to last 1,000 years.





Monks at Our Lady of Clear Creek Monastery near Hulbert take an afternoon walk. In the background is their recently completed residence building, just behind the foundation and first level of what will be the church. The building is the fulfillment of a 35-year-old dream for the Rev. Phillip Anderson, leader of the community. Taken from : http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?subjectID=18&articleID=20080112_1_A8_hMonk03120


HULBERT -- A vision born 35 years ago on the campus of the University of Kansas and nurtured in a monastery in France moved closer to reality this week, as monks at Our Lady of Clear Creek Monastery moved into their new residence building. The building is the first part of a monastic complex that will include an 80-by-180-foot church with a 110-foot bell tower. "This is a dream come true," said the Rev. Phillip Anderson, the prior, or leader, of the Benedictine community living at the monastery. "All of a sudden, after all these years, it's happening," he said. To a visitor driving the gravel roads of rural Oklahoma east of Lake Fort Gibson, the new monastery emerges suddenly from the landscape, tall and imposing. The idea of establishing in the United States a contemplative community, where monks would live a cloistered life in a monastery, was inspired in the early 1970s among a group of KU students by a Catholic professor. Most Catholic monasteries in this country are devoted to service, operating schools
and other institutions, Anderson said. "We wanted to build a community like the ancient monasteries, a place devoted to the contemplative life and prayer." During the 1970s, a number of the KU students went to France to experience monastic life. Some stayed. Others left after a few years and later married. Anderson was among those who stayed, living for 24 years at the Benedictine Abbey of Notre Dame de Fontgombault, originally founded in 1091 in the province of Berry, France. In 1999, the dream of building a monastic community in the U.S. took root. Anderson, by then a Catholic priest, led a group of monks who returned to this country to establish a community under the authority of the Abbey of Notre Dame de Fontgombault. With the blessing of Bishop Edward J. Slattery of the Diocese of Tulsa, the community purchased more than 1,000 acres in a picturesque valley cut by the waters of Clear Creek. The property had a large rustic house, which became their home, and they built other modest structures. But their dream was to build a European-style monastery, constructed to last 1,000 years. The monastery is being built as Romanesque architecture, in the style of its parent Fontgombault monastery. On Jan. 2, some nine years after arriving in Oklahoma, the monks began moving into the new residence building, the first part of the compound to be completed. Adjacent to that building is the foundation and lower level of what will be the church. The four-story residence building is divided into two sides. The first, which will face a garden courtyard, contains 36 cells, or rooms, for the monks, the members of the monastic community. All but six rooms are filled. The courtyard and monks' rooms are part of the cloistered area, not open to the public, as part of the monks' discipline in separation from the world, and silence. "This is to create an atmosphere conducive to prayer and communion with Christ," Anderson said. The other side of the residence building has rooms for eight male guests, each with its own full bathroom. The rooms are similar to the monks' rooms but less spartan, Anderson said, and the area will have its own courtyard. Hospitality is a hallmark of the Benedictine Order, providing a place where visitors can find peace and quiet, and a sense of orientation, sanity and spiritual light, Anderson said. The lower level has kitchen and dining areas, and other meeting rooms. The original building where the monks lived will be converted into guest housing for couples and families, Anderson said. The building will be dedicated on April 12. The Benedictine way of life includes strict disciplines of prayer, study and work. The monks tend sheep, gardens and orchards on the property. They are building wood furniture for the new monastery.

Article by Bill Sherman
581-8398
mailto:bill.sherman@tulsaworld.com

Tuesday, January 8

The Low Mass Experience

Photo Credit to Br. Jerome. See More Photos


Low mass is my favorite part of the day and now that masses are being said in the crypt of the monastery the whole "low mass experience" seems to have drifted to a time in earlier centuries. Last week was the beginning of our new morning routine and I want to share a little piece of this new joy with you.

On a typical Clear Creek morning - 6:10am Beep! Beep! I roll out of bed and quickly dress and prepare for mass with just enough time to stumble out into cold darkness toward the car before it is time to go. After saying the driving prayer with the other members of my family we often wonder aloud if we will be on time since it can be hard to remember what time mass begins, since it changes daily. Everyone in Clear Creek seems to be awake before sunrise - neighbors on their way to work, the monastery construction workers in their trucks, and all the people who attend low mass daily are out on the roads. Once through the monastery entrance we now must suppress the automatic-pilot to stay left where the road forks and instead follow the arrow which points to the right toward the “new monastery”. The dirt road winds around the edge of the pasture and then dips down a steep hill at the bottom of which is the beautiful bridge. Driving up over the last hill the new monastery comes into view - The multitude of lit windows of the residence building gives the impression of a large castle. The parking lot is mostly dirt and hopefully I remembered to bring a flash-light to light a path between the puddles and large rocks on the way to the crypt. The crypt is solid concrete and the walls are a few feet deep. It is very cold – like a refrigerator. If the monks are still finishing Prime (one of the liturgy of the hours) I wait with the other women in the narthex of the crypt for them to finish. As the monks file out of their stalls after Prime and go about preparations for low mass, the faithful find their chosen positions around the church. There are many options when entering the church – seven side chapels or the center pews facing the high altar. I always choose a side chapel since I love to be as close as possible to the action. There are chairs stacked against the walls and I grab one and carry it to where I wish to be. At low mass everything is said very quietly and even being as close as I am (a few feet from the priest) not all can be heard. The priest and his server whisper back and forth the prayers of the mass while I follow along in the missal. The picture above is from my first low mass in the crypt (I am on the far right with my brother and sister). Though the concrete is very cold on the knees (since we kneel during most of the mass) the whole experience is so consuming and brings about such a sense of the sacred that distraction (even cold knees) is not as bothersome as one would think. Communion is even more beautiful to the senses now for I need only stay kneeling in my place when Jesus is brought to me and descends from the hands of the priest who seems so tall above me. The quiet and peace of low mass seems to envelope the whole church. It is not the silence associated with loneliness for the church seems alive with almost 30 monks and another 30 or so lay faithful – but I would say it is rather the restful comfort of being in the midst of so much holiness, peace and silence. Though it can be confusing for visitors, it is an experience worth the effort. I am so grateful to have been in Clear Creek during the monks stay in the temporary chapel but this new change is another exciting step toward the beautiful future of Clear Creek Monastery.

Tuesday, January 1

Monks are moving tomorrow!

The monks are moving into their new residence tomorrow! My dad and brothers are helping along with other members of the local community. There will be alot of back and forth with cars loaded with various things from the lodge to the new residence. From now on all liturgical ceremonies will be held at the crypt. A new chapter is beginning at Clear Creek monastery.