After lunch, we decided that we’d participate/attend the afternoon & evening “Divine Office” prayer – the 1:55 “None” & the 5:45 “Vespers”.
We entered the chapel through a ‘visitors door’. The monks of the Abbey of St. Clairvaux are cloistered, which means that their living & work areas, as well as their grounds are set apart from the rest of the property, separated by a large shrubbery (hedges if you’re not a Monty Python fan.) There is even a separate entrance to the chapel for the monks. The retreat-ants get to sit in a sequestered, set apart set of benches, with the prayer books, kneeling rail, & other accoutrements common to the chapel.
The “None” (Noin) for Tuesday consisted of the singing of several portions of the Psalms - actually a selection from Psalm 119 – followed by the Alleluia & Amen singing – which is all done following the leader (Cantor) & in the familiar, sing-song that I have experienced before while attending Mass on the Gonzaga campus in Spokane for my brother’s law school graduation. It’s the kind of sing-song that if you hear it once, you could participate if you so desired - & could take any sentence you’d normally say & put it into the rhythm of the cadence. It was about 15 minutes long, & I really enjoyed praying the Psalms – its something that I’m familiar with from the Daily Office (Office meaning the “work devoted to God,”) that I follow (see Peter Scazzero’s book, “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality” for more on the Office.) It was a great reminder that we are set apart to God - & was a great break in the middle of the day.
It became evident that we needed a trip to Starbucks – Monday on our way to the Abbey, we’d seen one in Corning while picking up our supplies for the week, so we navigated our way into town & parked at Starbucks. The beans were roasted by AJ, by the way – a sticker on the beans we were enjoying said, “Proudly roasted in Carson Valley, NV” – Woohoo. BTW: we told the manager that we knew the man who was in charge of roasting the beans… she didn’t care, but we did, because we’re proud of that guy.
You know from reading the blog yesterday that we also ended up horking onto the bandwidth in one of the shops next to Starbucks – Ben got onto the Quizno’s network, & I was on something like “Zylnex” which sounds an awful lot like a prescription for something that I don’t want to know about. It brought great joy to “liberate” bandwith for free – to post & go. We hung out in the Starbucks for about 90 minutes, & were treated to a couple of free refills by one of the baristas that was eager to show his manager that he is capable of some great customer service. Of course, we egged him on, & played the role of sassified customers – the coffee was excellent, & tasted much, much better than normal after our steady diet of Taster’s Choice Freeze-dried specials.
Our curiosity got the better of us, & we left to explore Corning – we went to a couple of 99c stores, & meandered through another couple of mini-mart-type places looking to see what we could see. All the while, we were on the topic of discussing what we’d experienced in “the None”, & also talking about the incorporation of Mary into worship, & the theology that presents Mary as an (the?) integral piece (center?) of Catholic worship & practice. We postulated a bit about how a great woman (Mary, Jesus’ mother) chosen by God to be the woman who gave birth to Immanu’El, God with us, is transitioned by church traditions from ‘great woman of faith” to one that is worshiped, revered, honored, venerated, & is recast as divinity (or at least right next to divinity.)
One of the things we talked about is the title “Queen of Heaven” that is spoken of by the prophet Jeremiah (Chapter 7 & Chapter 44) in referencing a particular idol worshipped by Israel – in direct opposition to God’s instruction not to. This title has popped up throughout history, attributed by various peoples to the god/goddesses they worshipped – Canaanite, Babylonian, Roman, & Greek peoples assigning worth & worship to an idol that manifests in the name/image of the “Queen of Heaven.”
So, we came back to the ASC in time to get some dinner (crackers w/PB&J for me) & headed off to vespers. Our sing-song for vespers (evening prayers) came from Romans 6 & Psalm 116 & 117. Then a couple of hymns were to be sung – in the same sing-song voice/chant of course. Except the hymns were an “ode to Mary, the Queen of Heaven” – this line was repeated a few times in the hymn. On the heels of the discussion we’d been having all afternoon, we were hyper-attentive to the title ascribed. Hmmm.
The rest of the evening involved more crackers, lemonade & Fiddle-Faddles that we’d liberated from the Dollar store earlier in the day – with lots of deep thoughts & discussions. Our thoughts & talks turned to Hillside, & the changes that we’re going through …
Change & the results of change don’t make themselves visible right away – sometimes it takes months –usually years – for the effects of change to appear, to surface. And it seems that that is too long ☺… we want to see the changes happen, to not just be modified, but to be transformed by Christ… & the longer the time that passes, the more possibilities we have to become impatient. Our discussions were heated & strong – not out of control (we were having them in the Peace Room, after all.) Moe commented that he was suddenly reminded that his desire to see the results of change NOW might, just might reflect the need to have patience developed in him & his character. And in us. To submit to God’s timing for ourselves, but also to allow it for others – to not grow weary of doing good, to not give up or surrender, but to keep on. And to believe in other people, & the work that God is doing in them. And to look for that work, & not the junk – because we’ll find what we’re looking for.
I was sitting in a white molded plastic chair tonight, & broke it.The whole back leg came off. Oops. I’m trying not to take it as A Sign that It’s Time to be the Biggest Loser, but I am feeling a nudge every time I rub the bruise on my hip… did I mention all the floors are cement? I dropped my Mickey watch on it as well (DOH!) & broke the crystal – need a new one now. Any idea if I can get a crystal fixed on a watch I have a sentimental attachment to?
Today has been a slow day – rehearsing yesterday… more crackers w/PB&J – a nap (after crackers, 1 hour after waking up for the day) to clear my fuzzy head. Recording thoughts here – processing joy. Watching nature. Laughing at the boys. With the boys. Drinking my gallon of Crystal Geyser because I’m thirsty. Lots of wondering. Not a ton of answers; just a determination to keep on, to look for Joy, the joy that God gives in the middle of where we are, the joy that is not circumstantial or fleeting… to have Peace. Patience. Joy.