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If today.....
Joan  »

I woke this morning with the words from Psalm 95 later quoted in Hebrews in my head - "If today you hear God's voice harden not your heart".  I have learned to pay attention to my "first thoughts" when I wake up.  They can often give me some sense of how my day might go  or what I need to pay attention to.  Perhaps my sleeping self knew I was to write a blog post about Listening and it was reminding me that the most important voice I need to listen to is God's.

It is sometimes hard for me to settle all the other voices in my head, and outside of my head, to hear God's voice.  But fortunately God is persistent and patient.  The voice of God comes to me in the people and situations I encounter each day. How I react is up to me. I pray for the ability to respond to the day and all it brings with the heart God desires for me - a compassionatet and loving heart.


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Listen Out Loud
Jill  »

Being silent was a hard lesson for a middle child like me to learn; silence was the last thing on my mind. I was more like “hey, over here” and “listen to me”; it was a overwhelming outspoken itch I had to scratch. That fear of not being heard can breed hasty attention seeking behavior.  As I matured that deep desire for a voice quickly seem to snowball from precocious into self-centered.

Like most adults, I learned if I did not harness this awful impulsion life would do it for me. Smack! Just like that life comes along and you are at a loss. A loss of time, energy, or words; all you have is silence. In those undesirable moments of quiet God creates a space for us to hear Him. We find ourselves asking questions, like “why” and “how come?” Through prayer I found peace and courage in my silence.  God unveils our truest selves when we seek Him, not a voice of self-doubt and angst, but self-discipline and endurance.

Have you ever felt like you had more questions than answers? When was the last time you quieted yourself to listen to God?

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God Says Yes To Me
Bob  »

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Sometimes religion makes it seem like God is usually disappointed or even angry at us.  When this poet questioned God, she heard a different kind of answer.

Maybe God is more on our side than we think?

God Says Yes To Me

I asked God if it was okay to be melodramatic
and she said yes
I asked her if it was okay to be short
and she said it sure is
I asked her if I could wear nail polish
or not wear nail polish
and she said honey
she calls me that sometimes
she said you can do just exactly
what you want to
Thanks God I said
And is it even okay if I don't paragraph
my letters
Sweetcakes God said
who knows where she picked that up
what I'm telling you is
Yes Yes Yes

—Kaylin Haught

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Nothing Gold Can Stay
Steph  »


Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leafs a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

                                                   Robert Frost, October 1923


This is one of my favorite poems, so simple, yet so profound. Brilliant poems leave interpretation up to the reader. Since the publication of Robert Frost’s Nothing Gold Can Stay, the essence of these eight lines has been studied extensively. Academics, students, and poets alike, have noted the deference to metaphors, allegories and biblical undertones all essential to understanding the subtleties in each verse.

Frost famously stated that his poems were not about nature. Scholars have connected the verses of this poem to everything, from the fleeting nature of beauty to the inevitability of loss, the fall of man, politics, and war.

When I read this poem, I think about life’s precious moments. And regardless of what is happening, I make sure to pause and appreciate the simple moments; listening to my children talk about their day, feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin, sharing an inside joke with an old friend…

What does this poem say to you?

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Baby Steps
Jill  »

I recently became an aunt. How exciting, I know! As long as I can remember it has always been a desire of mine to have that role in a child’s life. You know, creating memories, sharing embarrassing stories, wiping away tears and then sending them home to their parents. (I’m kidding’.) So a year ago when I heard my brother and sister in law were expecting their first child, my heart was overjoyed with anticipation of the birth of their beautiful baby.  Well, you can imagine since then, my conversations and camera roll on my phone have become consumed with all things baby. And so, the time has come where he is crawling, standing and even taking those first few steps.  Pressing his two little feet into the floor with such determination and a smile, it’s an impressive sight to see. Watching him grow and develop has begun to spark a since of deliberate bravery in my own personal growth. Babies everyday meet their challenges head on, they fall down and are right back at it again. If only that fearless tenacity carried over into our adulthood. 

Babies don’t have much hesitation taking those first steps; maybe because they have faith their parents are somewhere nearby to gather them up when they fall. We easily we forget our heavenly father is always there to do the same. When life’s challenges come our way, remember one foot in front of the other, our God is with us. Oh, how wonderful would it be a life without adversity and heartache. Just kitten kisses and sugar coated giggles, truly heaven on earth, but we would never authentically understand the peace of God. God meeting you in the midst of your circumstance, that’s when heaven truly touches earth. Psalm 30: 5 says “…weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning”, one foot in front of the other, we must rejoice because through a trial we may crawl, but with faith we will walk again.


When was the last time your faith in God helped you persevere through a trail?


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Joan  »

As I move along in life I find my perspective on many things, naturally, has evolved.  One wonderful realization has been that grace is everywhere and available at all times.  It has been rather amazing to see would had been viewed as coincidences evolve into grace and grace carry me through, over or around the daily challenges of life.  As a believer in coincidence I didn't really question the serendipitous nature of life but grace seemed too complicated and fraught with theological baggage.  Yet I find my heart and mind opening to the amazing freedom and serenity of God's gift of grace.  Often  I find it is simply of matter of asking for help, guidance, or some indication as to how I am to move through the day.  The challenge of pausing to ask is still there BUT even that realization is a grace to me  - the little voice, the seemingly random person or sign that reminds me I am not "doing life" on my own.  I have a powerful companion on the road and I need only pause and allow God's grace to enter my mind, heart and body.  Is the openess to grace something we humans are born with and then often dismiss as we rationalize our lives?  If so, how can we expand our openness to this free gift of infinite love?

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Species of Genius
Bob  »

I know an old Trappist monk who sometimes uses an odd phrase in talking about people.  In conversation, he’ll refer to someone or other as “a species of genius.”  At first, I was amused and a little confused by the expression.  Eventually, I came to understand that he wasn’t necessarily talking about the person’s intelligence, but rather about the unique giftedness that the particular individual possessed.  If you or I were sitting with him, he would see each of us as a species of genius.

My monk friend recognizes that in every person there is a convergence of genetics, history, experience and temperament that make up the personal genius of that person.  It’s one reason that every life is so precious and irreplaceable.  Maybe this awareness is a Trappist thing – the fruit of their contemplation.  Thomas Merton once felt overwhelmed by the luminosity of everyone passing by him on a busy street corner in downtown Louisville.  Of the experience, he wrote, “There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.”

We don’t need to be monastic, though, to get occasional epiphanies of how wondrous the people sharing the “L” car with us or sitting across the table from us are.  Maybe those moments are glimpses of heaven.  They say spirituality is matter of waking up to reality.  How would it change my relationships if I were to see others as the species of genius that they are?

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Joan  »


Once upon a time there was a person walking along a path in the woods.  Suddenly a bear appeared and started to run after them.  The person ran and ran until they fell off a cliff.  Fortunately there was a small tree sticking out from the side of the cliff and the person quickly grabbed it.  As they hung there they looked down and saw a deep drop below and looking up they saw no way to climb back up without a rope.  The person called out,  "Is there anyone up there?"  After a pause a voice replied - "This is God.  Let go and I'll catch you."  After a very long pause the person called out "Is there anyone else?"

This story elicits a laugh from all who hear it because we recognize ourselves so well.  I find myself recalling it at times of confusion and uncertainty about how I'll "survive" a challenging situation.  I tell myself I trust God and God's love and presence but...then I can find myself hesitating and looking about for something else.  I don't know what this person hanging off the cliff did but I do know when I am willing to push past that hesitation and let God catch me and hold me it proves to be the correct step.  The result is not always what I predicted but the hand of God is there and I am back on my feet on solid ground.

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Blessed Christmas Greetings
Joan  »
As we enter this special time of reflection we ponder the meaning of Jesus' arrival into our world, our lives, our hearts.  The Cenacle Sisters and Staff send their wishes to you and your family and your individual world for a holy and spirit filled time.
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Election Day Action
Joan  »

What action are most excellent?

To gladden the heart of a human being

To feed the hungry.

To help the afflicted.

To lighten the sorrow of the sorrowful.

To remove the wrongs of the injured.

That person is the most beloved of God who does most good to God's creatures.

The Prophet Muhammed


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