.Dear Friends of Carmel ,
“ What we do with our hearts affects the whole world.” ( Susan Weber, adapted) Almost ten years ago now, the head of the Carmelite Order suggested that it was Carmel’s task today to bring to the world a new experience of God. As we look at what is happening around us, it would appear that Carmel’s work right now is to help the world find God in suffering, uncertainty and tears.
As we begin our letter (the hardest task in life is to begin), we are wondering if we should take our usual approach by recounting all the folksy things that have happened since we last wrote to you. Or, would it be better to try lifting up the heart of a worried world? Maybe, we can do both.
In a poem, called “Dust of Snow,” Robert Frost describes how a crow shook a branch, causing snow to fall upon him. This changed his whole mood and saved a good part of his day. We have a perky mock apple tree right outside our chapel window. Each spring, regardless of what is happening in the world, this tree blossoms forth in great beauty. Just looking at it changes one’s mood, saves the whole day and all that has gone on before. Allowing the birds and wind to shake the petals on one’s head and shoulders makes everything right, again.
All winter, we were visited by all kinds of “naturey” things. Faithful Venus and Jupiter were there every morning in the eastern and northwestern sky. “Feathers,” a teenage hawk visited our frosty iris bed several times and peered into the downstairs windows. Another rough-legged hawk “hovered” over our deck. We learned that hovering, as with God and the angels, is its particular trait. Seeing a bald eagle, perched high on a tree along Highway 61 in the afternoon sun, was breathtaking. The wonderful cardinals, of course, companioned us all winter, decorating trees outside the dining room with their cheery red. Visitors were caught up with wonder. Is it possible that angels were also out there?
It helps to have faithful friends in this way of life. On St. Patrick’s Day , we received a rather unique gift. We were informed that a shamrock had been planted in Ireland in our honor... Wednesday is our day for watering it!
Currently, we are in the process of putting together a “holy list of God’s special friends,” those courageous men and women who, recently, have been deployed. A chart reading “In God’s Heart” will be placed at the chapel entrance. We will pray for them, and for their families, everyday. If you would like a name added to this list, please indicate this on this newsletter. With great love, (and looking ahead, ) God gave us one another, and continues to do so.
On Holy Saturday, we will again be lighting our Easter fire outside the monastery, under the stars. The prayers of the liturgy ask that the light of this fire might join that of the stars. On our part, we pray that our own prayers for peace and concord might rise up and mingle with the stars and then shine down again to soothe a troubled world. Dear friends, may we never stop believing in the power of each new Easter. Even a tiny belief is capable of moving mountains. You remain in our love and prayers. May the apple blossoms fall softly upon you!
Your Carmelite Sisters