Monday, March 23, 2009

Words from the New Mount Carmel

We got a newsletter the other day from the Carmelite Monastery in Wyoming (you know, the monks over on the right of my blog who roast their own coffee) and I finally got a chance to read it yesterday. What a very basic life they lead. I like looking at the pictures they have in their newsletters: pictures of the monks kneeling on the hardwood floor for prayers and for Mass - without any cushions or kneelers!

Towards the end of the letter, Father was talking about the Blessed Sacrament. He said that in Wyoming they are working to purchase a ranch so that they could offer retreats and so that there would be another place in this world where "Our Lord would be praised and the Blessed Sacrament reserved" (in the words of St. Teresa of Avila). He continues,

"As our world starves in anguish to be fed with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, we need the Holy Eucharist to be reposed in many places...As a priest, I know that one of the most powerful spiritual realities and sources of conversion is adoration of the Blessed Sacrament."

If you've frequented Adoration, you know what this priest is talking about. Adoration is like a drug. The more you go, the more you realize how much you need it! What fruit comes from frequent Adoration! If you haven't been in awhile, make some time this week to go visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

Father ends his letter with some great advice. He knows that sometimes we can't always stop in at a church that we pass along the way (mainly because they are usually locked!) but he reminds us of this very good habit,

"If we cannot visit, let us always acknowledge his Real Prsence by making the sign of the cross when we pass a Catholic Church. The Lord is waiting for us in the Eucharist and waiting for us to place our needs before him. If we are faithful to our Lenten practices, attend Benediction when possible and spend additional time before the august Sacrament of the Altar, we should be confident that God will work miracles of conversion and healing for us this Lent."

Going back to the part about making the sign of the cross, this takes awhile to get into the habit of doing, but once you remember, you can start to have some fun with it. It's fun to see who in the car is the first to notice a Catholic Church, especially one you haven't driven by before. Every time we pass one, at least one person will yell out "church" at which point everyone knows to make the sign of the cross. There have been times when we've yelled out things like, "truck" or "bank" when passing a truck or bank, just to see who is paying attention. Inevitably, someone makes the sign of the cross (and who says Catholics don't have fun :)

We travel down one road in particular quite often where there is a bridge over a small river and then there is a Monastery at which point we always say "church" and make the sign of the cross. One time when we were somewhere else, we crossed over on a similar looking bridge, at which point Mr. 3 yo yelled out "church". Of course, there wasn't one to be found anywhere, but it was nice to know that he had been paying attention to his surroundings!

Oh well, back to the Carmelites. What beautiful words Father had for us all. If you would like to help them be able to purchase their ranch and establish a retreat house, then feel free to click on the big banner on the right hand side and buy some of their really delicious coffee!


  1. I also enjoy reading and looking at their newsletter. It is edifying to see so many young men discerning a vocation to this order. I just envy their natural surroundings...breathtaking!

  2. Oh, Laura, what a GREAT post! As we pass a Catholic Church, we will make the sign of the cross and say "O Sacrament most holy......etc." and then we send our Guardian Angels to the Blessed Sacrament. I had a friend who was not a regular church attendee. Her husband passed away (no children) and she would just go sit in church every day. Then it turned into hours. She didn't even know the teaching of the real presence or that Jesus is in the tabernacle, yet she knew she was being healed. This went on for a couple of years. The ending to the story...she now lives in Hanceville :)

  3. We have adopted the habit of blessing ourselves and we pass by Jesus, truly present in the Eucharist upon driving by a church.

    It's instinctive now and I too love seeing the children notice first. We reclaim reverence to the Real Presence in this way.

    It IS Him and if we could see him we'd do more than just bless ourselves!

  4. Laura - a delightful post, reflecting love and respect for the wonder of Our Lord's presence among us.
    At least two of the brothers at the Monastery were homeschooled. I know that because my son is one of them! I learnt about your post via a Google alert.
    May God bless you in your apostolate.