Day Five: Clear Creek Monastery

We got to sleep in today. First service did not begin until 5:15 a.m. I was determined to follow along properly today, so I arrived ten minutes early and set my books for Vespers and Lauds. (The attentive student has just done a face palm.) We were ten minutes into the service, me desperately trying to figure out where the heck we were, when it hits me: Vespers is the night prayer. I needed to be set for Mattins and Lauds. It was then impossible for me to follow along with Mattins, because I didn’t even have the right book! Oy. (Again: note to self—remember what it must be like for those who come to the Episcopal Church for the first time.)

I have used the analogy to explain many different things, but it holds true here as well: learning to pray with the monks is like learning to pray the Rosary. At first you’re just trying to figure out the mechanics of it all (which bead is what and who’s on first) then learn the prayers, then put the two of those together, then—maybe—actually begin to worship. It is a complicated process. I keep kicking myself because I can’t seem to manage a full service, but honestly, I’m still on the first bead and trying to find my place on the page. Is Ok.

I know a fella who wanted to go for a walk with Mary. But on this day, when he found her along the way, she was not wanting to walk… she wanted to dance. She took both his hands in hers and like children, they danced in great skipping circles. They smiled, then they began to laugh. (The fella came close to laughing out loud and disturbing his neighbors!) Jesus joined them. Mary was on his right and the fella was on his left. All three holding hands in a circle. They danced, but after awhile, Mary left the two alone and the fella and Jesus sat in the long green grass. When he looked in Jesus’ eyes, the fella confessed his sins. Fully aware that the Lord knows all before he spoke, it was still difficult to say it all. The Lord heard his cry, he was forgiven, but the battle must continue. The fella does not like this battle, but…

I preached on the pearl of great worth a few Sundays back. Bishop Robert Barron believes that this pearl is the imago Dei within each of us and that when we discover God’s image that we were created in, then we will give up everything in order to attain it… to be restored to it. I keep thinking, in order to get to it, we must first find the oyster, crack through a hard outer shell, get through a good bit of messy stuff, and then… Occasionally, God will give us glimpses of the pearl. It is worth the search.

I’m hungry… prayers then lunch.

Hugh O’Donald (sp) was crowned King, so the Queen was not knocked about the head and neck too badly today during lunch. As they are still fighting (arguing at this point) I somehow doubt the peace will last.

Interesting that this battle should be raging as I have been reading about the parameters of “just war” as set forth by Thomas Aquinas. Jus ad bella (reasons behind a just war), jus in bella (morals while in war), and in the middle the “double effect” (the search for the intent, allowing that some evil / bad (accidents) may come through the seeking of a greater good (essence))…. I believe I have that right.

The “intent” is something that we have discussed a number of times and in discovering the intent we discover the sinfulness / righteousness of an action and to what degree. If you are speeding: were you speeding just for the heck of it, regardless of the law; or were you speeding while rushing to get someone to the hospital to save their life? The intent of the first is sinful, while the intent of the second—double effect—was to save a life even though a law was broken. Clear as mud? Good.

We studied these things in seminary, but seminary is like drinking from a fire hydrant… for three years. Some of it sticks, some of it makes an impression (the details all lost), and some… well I’m still finding things in the Bible that I would swear were not there the day before. The study and implications of GOD are without end.

May the Lord our God bless you all.

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