Monday, January 12, 2009

I’m Back. A Benedictine oblate blog

The Christmas season began with first Vespers on December 24, 2008 and ended 18 days later after the completion of second Vespers on Sunday, January 11, 2009, which was part of the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. What a great 18 days!

I had both an active and contemplative Christmas season. The active part involved the traditional activities with family. But those active days also saw us helping family members who were ill (now all better) and I got ill (now all better). So part of the reasons for no blogs has been illness.

The silent contemplative part of the Christmas season also kept my attention on the season just ended.

The Christmas season is astounding. Very short yet packed with spiritual power: Nearly every free hour of mine was spent in monastic reading and the divine office, but mostly silence as I listened:

1. Birth of Jesus — Thursday 12/25,

2. Feast of St. Stephen who is honored as the first martyr on the day after Christmas — Friday 12/26,

3. John the Apostle — Saturday 12/27,

4. The Holy Family (Jesus, Mary, Joseph) — Sunday 12/28,

5. Mary Mother of God — Thursday 1/1,

6. Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops, Doctors of the Church (Memorial) — Friday 1/2,

7. Epiphany (the “showing” “appearing” or “manifestation” of Jesus to the Magi) — Sunday 1/4,

8. Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River by John the Baptist — Sunday 1/11

And there is more structure in the Christmas season I have not studied — for instance: the octaves and the various traditions where some of the feasts are transferred to another day during the season.

The scope of the Christmas season really overwhelmed me as I understood its broad content for the first time. I had a sense that I was being carried along far too fast without being able to stop and take in the sights.

So, the first two parts of the liturgical year (Advent and Christmas) have filled me with spiritual direction, I come out of those two seasons more convinced that silence is where to meet God this year.


  1. Hi John,
    Glad you are better. Sorry you were ill.
    The season of silence is very real for me right now. Having been through five years of transition and formation, my husband and I are getting close to the next phase. What is it? Doing something with the formation. We believe it is to make a physical move, plant a new liturgical (somewhat emergent)church, buy a home that can also serve as an urban retreat center and start a spiritual direction practice. So where does the silence come in? Because as I think of actually doing all of this (let me say we are so full of expectation and excitement) I find myself silenced. How do you take so much and begin? When people ask about what we have experienced and learned I find myself just closing my mouth. I want to say, "Just come along on this journey with me and we'll see together." Kind of reminds you of the comment from Jesus when they asked, "Rabbi, where are you staying?"
    So, I invite you join me on this journey of silence and see where we go and what we do.

  2. Glad everyone is better. Welcome back! Blessings! - Colleen

  3. I dont know if you are into this kind of stuff. But I like your blog and I left a gift for you on my blog! Feel free to do what you wish with it!

  4. Praises to God for a healthy recovery for you and yours. May your Lectio prove fruitful and a spur you on to ever deeper spiritual growth.

  5. Catd,

    Your comment was wonderful to read at the start of 2009 — which I think will be filled with the Holy Spirit and great silence. I do follow you over on your blog with all my prayers. Very good news about your next steps.


    Thank you so much for the Lemonade Award (for showing good attitude (the good kind!) or gratitude). You are very kind!

    Plain Catholic,

    Thank you. Getting sick and helping others who are sick is all part of God’s mercy it seem to me. And silence has filled much of the other time which — as you say — brings me closer to God with great thankfulness. I hope you all are staying warm!