Thursday, April 4, 2013

And now time to catch up. Or - A very Norbertine Easter

Okay okay I know! Its been Easter for 5 days and I haven’t posted yet. STOP PRESSURING ME! Just kidding. Benedicite my friends!! I hope you’ve been having as glorious and Easter as I have. I do not, however, wish upon you the decrease in muscular endurance that I have experienced.

Taking Holy Week off from running was a good choice for my feet, which were in dyer need of some recovery time. And for my soul! …which was bountifully nourished by the quiet of the monastery and opportunity to chant the ancient Gregorian liturgy with my future sisters. My legs, on the other hand, have been reaping the consequences of those recovery days since I hit the road again early Monday morning.

I did a bit of hiking while visiting my future community in the mountains last weekend, but not enough to maintain the stamina I had been building up until the Triduum. This week’s runs have been challenging. Thankfully the progression of the Divine Mercy Novena and some beautiful prayer requests I’ve recently received have combined to inspire and motivate me even on days like today – when I had an 8-miler to take care of in some less-than-desirable weather. By the grace of God I got it done, and am now looking forward to tomorrow’s breather at 5 miles, before taking a rest to gear up for my 18-mile long run this Sunday!

I must apologize that I did not take the initiative to snap many pictures of Holy Week at the Bethlehem Priory of St. Joseph. I was too distracted by Jesus! (The Altar of Repose was actually set up inside Bethany House – where I sleep when I visit… so I had Him in my living room all weekend long. It was great.) Except for this one of me with Mother Mary Augustine, O. Praem., which was taken just before we said goodbye on Easter Morning:

You should pray through the tiny Lady for the other two ladies in this picture.

I won’t go into too much detail about the events of Holy Week at the monastery. Suffice it to say that it was the most beautiful Triduum ever, and if you ever get a chance to visit and experience it… DO. Each morning we woke for Tenebrae by candlelight at 3:30am, and continued our days with much meditation, adoration, and the indescribable beauty of the Divine Office. Abstaining from all food and drink apart from coffee on Friday, (by my own choice… not a tradition of the sisters’), something I’ve only done once before, was also a challenging yet fruitful decision. Having not taken any food after about 3pm on Holy Thursday, by the time we finished the Good Friday service that afternoon I was already feeling a bit weakened. I remember thinking that having no food or drink would be impossible for a human to maintain for 40 days and, when I rhetorically asked a friend, “How the heck did Jesus do it?” I was snapped back into reality by his resoundingly concise answer, “He was God.” After a brief day and a half of solidarity with the hungry Jesus, as well as with all the poor souls living in poverty even now… I was thankful for my toast and yogurt on Saturday morning.

The seven readings at Easter Vigil were all done in Gregorian chant, just as everything else had been all week. It was breathtaking, of course. And also comforting that several of the readings were done by novices, perhaps symbolizing the catechumens who were coming to the Church all over the world that night – and the necessity for zeal and participation by all those young and new in the Church.

Clearly a picture of Advent, but a rare view from
inside the cloister, just the same!
The consecration of the Holy Eucharist at Easter Vigil is the community’s high point of the liturgical year, as it really is for the entire Church Militant. Turning the lights back on, ringing the bells again, and receiving the Body of Christ just after the stroke of midnight… were like a renewal in spirit and an unveiling of the Lord’s ultimate Gift to us, welcoming Him back as if He had been absent for a very long time. How very present Jesus made himself that night! And how very very thankful I am to be looking forward to my future in this ancient order which gives such solemn reverence to Him in the Eucharist and through their lives. If think you can top the beauty of the Norbertine liturgy please, invite me to where I can experience that! I would welcome something more reverence-inspiring, but I’m just not sure it exists =).

The race is one month away!! This week the income of sponsorships has steadily and significantly decreased and I am now looking for new ways to get the word out about Litany Run. Over the last few days I’ve contacted as all of the Catholic radio stations whose email addresses I was able to obtain. Now just praying for responses! I’m also writing up a blog post to be published at on April 19th, so God willing that might increase traffic on a bit. Please keep me in your prayers as I enter into the final 5 weeks of my training, and sponsorship crunch time!

May the Lord bless you abundantly. I am praying that you will become saints!

Totus Tuus

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