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Category: Advent Christmas Epiphany


New Year and Epiphany Blessings ~ A love note from your online abbess

Dearest monks, artists, and pilgrims, New Year blessings to you! I love the Epiphany gospel story (in some churches celebrated January 6th and some next Sunday) and I offer you a reprise of a reflection on the invitations this text has to offer to us: The story of the magi offers us a template for an archetypal journey, that is, one we are all invited to make. We can find ourselves in the text if we have ever longed to follow an inkling into the long night knowing there were gifts awaiting us. Follow the star to where it leads

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The Promise of Holy Darkness ~ A love note from your online abbess

Dearest monks, artists, and pilgrims, Advent is my favorite liturgical season of the year. Images of waiting, darkness, and birthing make my soul sing.  We are each given time and space to grow more welcoming to unknowing, where so much promise and possibility dwell.  During Advent we honor a God who is far beyond our own imaginations and who calls us into the fullness of our own horizons. The 17th century German mystic Angelus Silesius wrote, “I must be the Virgin and give birth to God.” He describes the call of this time: to birth the holy in the midst of our

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Join us for Sacred Time this Advent

Dearest monks, artists, and pilgrims, Today we begin our journey into the holy season of Advent with our online retreat. The theme this year is Sacred Time: Embracing the Slow Rhythms of the Season. Here is a brief excerpt from the first week’s reflection: “The seasons, whether of the day, week, month, year, lifetime, or cosmos, invite us into a profound respect for thresholds. In our usual day to day awareness, one moment isn’t especially different from another. In seasonal time, we become aware of the continual invitation to cross a threshold into a deeper awareness. Dawn, day, dusk, and

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What is it the Season For? ~ A love note from your online abbess

Dearest monks, artists, and pilgrims, I had a beloved spiritual director years ago when I lived in the San Francisco Bay area during graduate school who often asked me this question: What is it the season for? I loved this question because my creative heart was always full of new ideas, but one of my great invitations in life has been to discern the season I am in and what it calls for – to say no or not yet to many of the creative ideas stirring in me, to listen for what is truly ripe, to make space for

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A Celebration of Stuff ~ A love note from your online abbess

Dearest monks, artists, and pilgrims, In 2012 my husband and I decided to embark on a life adventure. We were living in Seattle and had been traveling to Europe twice a year to explore ancestral landscapes. He was growing more in need of a sabbatical from his position as high school theology teacher. I had recently applied for and received Austrian citizenship through my father. Between February and May, we began to sort through our things. It is amazing what accumulates in nine years in one place even in a small apartment with only three closets. “Honey, I just found

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Sacred Time: An Online Retreat for Advent & Christmas

  Advent invites us into the holy practice of waiting and attending the birth that is coming. Christmas calls us to celebrate that birth with wonder and awe. Our culture tells us the season should be filled with shopping and rushing. The wisdom of ancient monastic practices tells us that this is a time for pausing, savoring, and soaking in awe and wonder. Instead of becoming overwhelmed this year during the holidays, let this be an opportunity to move into a new set of rhythms which cultivate slowness through seasonal awareness. Imagine arriving at the New Year, not exhausted, but

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Week 4 Advent Practices: Considering Our Earthiness

This is a weekly Advent series by Christine from the Abbey archives. If praying with the four elements kindles a spark in you, consider my book Water, Wind, Earth, & Fire: The Christian Practice of Praying with the Elements. In the scriptures for this fourth week of Advent we hear in the gospel the story of Mary’s Annunciation. She was asked to consent to become the earthen vessel through which God could be born into a world of flesh and blood. The story of Advent and Christmas is essentially about God becoming enfleshed in the earthiness of the world. God enters creation and blesses our

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