“A monastery is never without guests.”
These words of St. Benedict have certainly been true this weekend!
First, there was the small battalion that arrived Friday night for a weekend of retreat.
Then there was the throng that arrived on Saturday morning to attend a day-long meeting.
Then there were the mission Sisters – not actually guests of course! – who arrived later Saturday morning and had trouble finding a place to park because we had so many visitors.
Then there was the thundering herd that arrived on the front lawn Saturday afternoon to take photographs, clogging the entrance drive with their knot of vehicles.
Then there was the cloud of witnesses that slowly formed – beginning with the first arrivals on Thursday afternoon and continuing through Saturday – to help the community celebrate Sr. Michelle’s First Monastic Profession during Vespers on Saturday evening.
And then there was the flock that gathered in our monastic Chapel for Mass this morning – Sisters, retreatants, some of our out-of-town guests, folks from here in Cullman Town…
Before Mass I stood in the back of the Chapel “counting heads,” adding bread to the paten as guests continued to arrive, and continued to arrive, and continued to arrive.
But now the parking lot is nearly vacant. The Chapel is empty. The Retreat Center is quiet with only a couple of private retreatants still present. I am breathing deeply of the quiet and relishing the silence and pondering the mystery that somehow our dear Lord’s arms are wide enough to encompass all of us. Somehow His shoulders are broad enough to bear all of our burdens. Somehow there is bread enough for us all.
Thanks be to God.
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