Monks of the River

Watching a barge go through the Lock and Dam on the Mississippi River at Lacrosse, Wisconsin, I was amazed at the solitude and patience these guys have.

They work hard, spending weeks on the river, traveling from northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. To get through a Lock and Dam, they have to break the barge apart into smaller sections, and push each section through the lock. Then, the workers stand and wait, as the water level is raised or lowered. Watching them just stand there, I wonder what goes through their minds. Do they miss home, and family? As they stand there in silence and solitude, they remind me of monks, living a life of quiet labor, detached from the noisy, hate-filled life of the outside world.

Fear not!

The Lord thundered in the heavens
The most high let his voice be heard
He shot his arrows, scattered the foe,
flashed his lightnings, and put them to flight

He brought me forth into freedom,
he saved me because he loved me.

Psalm 18

Out walking a new trail. It was right in my back yard and I never knew it was there!

(Mound Prairie Scientific and Natural Area)

Dreary beauty

Sitting at the local convenience store early in the morning, on a chilly rainy looking day, you can find interesting sights.

Every shower and dew, bless the Lord. *

All you winds, bless the Lord.

Fire and heat, bless the Lord. *

Cold and chill, bless the Lord.

Dew and rain, bless the Lord. *

– Daniel 3

Look at the pretty flowers I found!

My grandson was playing in the yard and found these “pretty flowers”, setting them up on the railing. Yup, they are!

Weeds are just unplanned flowers.

Weeds are just unplanned flowers!

Riding down the street in our little town, there ahead was a “dinosaur” making his way across the road!

And saw a “sign of the times” in a nearby town. They have a miniature “Statue of Liberty”, modified….

Liberty Denied

Get out and live!

As the great philosopher Ferris Bueller once said:

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

No Worries

The world desperately wants us to be depressed, terrified, sad, and angry. Just the other day, two people, age 50 and 78, got in a fight over a parking space. One actually killed the other. This is a sign of the stress and influence of the media and our politicians.

Life is really not like this, despite what the media reports. We need to walk away from this anxious life the world is trying to push on us.

Life is Christ.

From the Office of the Readings this morning:

 “Mighty and wonderful are your works,

      Lord God Almighty!

   Righteous and true are your ways,

      O King of the nations!

   Who would dare refuse you honor,

      or the glory due your name, O Lord?

   Since you alone are holy,

      all nations shall come

      and worship in your presence.

   Your mighty deeds are clearly seen.”

… Revelation 15

Walking in the forest yesterday, some of the true beauty in the world found:

And then, there’s this!

Signs

In the “Office of Readings” this morning, I found a note in my study Bible (Didache Catholic Study Bible) about the angel marking the foreheads of the people of God:

“This represents those who have been baptized and sealed by the Holy Spirit. The Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders bestow an indelible seal, or character, on the recipient. In Hebrew, the seal is represented by the letter tav (tau in Greek), which was shaped like a T and, therefore, was a type, or figure, of the future Cross of Christ. Since the first years of Christianity, Christians have traced the Sign of the Cross on themselves as a blessing. (CCC 1235)‘

At Mass, just before the Gospel reading, we trace the cross on our forehead, lips, and heart, saying “May the Lord be on my mind, my lips, and my heart”. It’s amazing that this is an ancient sign, going back thousands of years. This is the Tau sign, the sign of the Cross of Christ.

Last week, I spent some time in church, photographing the stained glass windows and statues. What amazingly beautiful signs these are. Most of the time, we ignore them, but there is such beauty right there before our eyes! Now that we’re banned from there, I think I’ll appreciate them even more when we can once again worship freely there.

Hidden Gems

Reading from the Office of Readings this mornng:

Because you have kept my message of endurance, I will keep you safe in the time of trial that is going to come to the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth. I am coming quickly. Hold fast to what you have, so that no one may take your crown.
_ Revelation 3

Walking down an apparently brown dry boring path. But…..if you get close and look, Spring is here!