Monday, May 03, 2010

Settling in for Spring

Had my first French class today.
Taking two part time classes;
ended up doing Mon-Wed nights
and Tues-Thurs mornings!
But one thing at a time.
I must try really hard
have some relaxation time as well.
A tough balance.
We had Cemetery Day at my Church's Cemetery
One of our beloved parishioners
who died in 2006 in her very early 40's
is buried there.
So every year for Cemetery Day
I bring my Mexican blanket and spread it by her grave
and myself and others sit on the blanket
and eat by her grave
and sing Christ is Risen to her.
I will always miss her and I know I am not alone
in asking now for her prayers.
For a beautiful example of asking the prayers of those
who have gone to the Lord before us,
I encourage you to listen to this podcast about Fr. George Calciu
by Fredrica Matthewes-Green.

I am reading some great books -
The Jesus Prayer by Fredrica Matthewes-Green is one of these.
The trip to the monastery was really wonderful.
So much so that I don't have a single picture!
I got a lot of wise counsel from one of the Sisters there
that I will be pondering over the next days and weeks.
I find it so important to go to monasteries
for counsel
for refreshment
and to be surrounded by the monastics' prayers.
Christ is Risen!


Mat. Emily said...

I'll be thinking and praying about you and your new French classes!

E Helena E said...

Am so glad to hear that you had this time of counsel and refreshment!

theresia said...

You are fortunate to have a monastery, not too far away, to visit.
Thank you for reminding me to ask for the prayers of those who have gone before us

margaret said...

That is a lovely thing to do for your reposed friend.

GretchenJoanna said...

Thanks very much for the recommendations, and the image of you sitting by your friend's grave. What a blessing to hear of the blessing you got....

RW said...

I liked hearing about your story of going to the cemetary.

I am glad the visit to the monastery was fruitful.

How many sisters are there? What are there ages?

elizabeth said...

Thank you so much Mat. Emily for your prayers! How much I need them!

Thanks E-H!

Theresia, yes, I am really blessed. Thank God for His goodness.

Margaret, I am so blessed to have been given a church that already had these traditions and gave them to me...

G-J, your welcome; it is a lovely podcast; a lovely book too; so often I am not fully aware of the blessings I am given; thank God for His mercy.

RW - yes. a great blessing. The monastery has just over 20 nuns with thier Abbess, Mother Thekla; some of the Sisters are quite young - others are older; the Sister I talked with (who is blessed to give spiritual counsel) is older; It is hard to tell thier ages exactly though, as the Monastic veil masks age to a certain extent...

I hope to go back again and meanwhile need to continue to pray about what I have already received...

Elizabeth @ The Garden Window said...

Memory eternal to your friend....what awonderful custom !

The French schedule looks rather punishing; look after yourself :-)

Marigold said...

What a beautiful thing to do for your friend. I think I might suggest it as something to do for our recently departed priest on his year anniversary...

What a blessing to stay at the monastery. I'm starting to get the itch to go back to mine again soon. Christ is risen!

DebD said...

That monastery looks lovely. How has your return been because my Monday was emotionally pretty bad. To the point where I thought to myself "I don't think I'll go back again because it's just not worth THIS price."

I love the idea of Cemetery Day. I've never heard of that but would love to try that.

elizabeth said...

Thanks Elizabeth - yes, it is such a balance between working hard and still taking care!

Marigold - this would be a beautiful thing to do for your priest. you must miss him.

... Traditionally, at least in the Slavic tradition, going to the graves and having a picnic and most importantly blessing the graves and singing Christ is Risen (the priest is there praying and the deacon censing... also before the individual grave blessings are done, Pascha baskets have been brought (again) and are blessed by the priest with prayers and Holy Water and the baskets eaten as part of the picnic, and the memorial bread that is in the basket is given out to those who go to pray by the grave of a family they know...)

From what I understand the rubrics say that this is done sometime after Bright Week (I think) and I know it has to be done before Christ's Ascension, liturgically speaking. It is actually part of the liturgical year in other words... I think I may do an individual post on this sometime, as it is a newer custom to a lot of converts! :)

Deb, I am so sorry to hear how difficult your Monday has been! (I can relate to this of course...) I can say with certainty that the Devil tries to take whatever joy and peace we have been given. Don’t give in!! Myself… it also has not been easy… I was given a lot of counsel and I have things to mull over and I know that I will need more advice about some of the counsel! :)

I would think that if your experience was so great that this means you need to go a bit more often to solidify it… I hope things even out for you… I have been doing a bit of reading and it seems that these times of testing and temptation just need to be weathered so that we gain and keep the fruit at the end. Lord have mercy on us and help us!

DebD said...

Thank you Elizabeth. Your words were very comforting. Sadly, I don't think I'll be able to go anytime soon.

Beth said...

How beautiful- cemetery day. I have recently been taking my boys to my favorite local cemetery which overlooks the Mississippi River and in which I hope to be buried. We have been bringing flowers and laying them on graves of strangers and praying for their rest. I love cemeteries and I am always glad when I find someone else that does too. Maybe next week we will sing Christ is Risen!

elizabeth said...

Deb, thank God that my words were of use. I am learning about what I spoke of in part from the book by Bendicta Ward _Sayings of the Desert Fathers_.

You never know - ask God to give your opportunities to go again to the monastery - God can work wonders.

Beth - yes, it is so important to remember those gone before us because we are Christians and have the ressurection! So glad you also love this!

Christ is Risen!!

Michelle M. said...

That is such a beautiful tradition. May her memory be eternal!

i hope your classes go well!