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Christine Ereiser, OSB

Sister Christine Ereiser is a Benedictine Sister of St Joseph Monastery, Tulsa, OK, where she has been a member for 35 years. She recently completed 12 years as prioress and is now on sabbatical.

Sister Christine's reflections will begin the First Sunday of Advent and continue through February 2020.

Week of February 23

Week of February 23, Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Christine Ereiser, OSB, St Joseph Monastery, Tulsa, OK Lord is kind and merciful. 
—Psalm 103
Listen to Psalm 103

Here we are, speeding down the spiritual superhighway to the season of Lent.

Not my favorite time of the liturgical year, all somber and solemn.

But, in a few days, we will receive ashes on our heads, be reminded of our mortal end, fast and abstain, and ponder how we might become more earnest in “the usual measure of our service” this season.

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Week of February 16

Week of February 16, Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Christine Ereiser, OSB, St Joseph Monastery, Tulsa, OK

Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
—Psalm 119

I recently watched the movie “A Hidden Life.”  This Hollywood feature film depicts the story of Blessed Franz Jägerstätter, an Austrian farmer, conscientious objector and martyr. As I reflected on the movie – its warm depiction of Jägerstätter and his family, the austerity of life on their farm, their heartrending decision to resist Nazism – I thought of the many ordinary people who live holy and wholly extraordinary lives. We all know many of these people - quietly serving God in so many ways and places.

We know that, in addition to the folks we think of, serving God well and humbly, we are called to that same life of service. While it is rare that we find ourselves up close and personal with a choice like Franz Jägerstätter faced, we daily have choices which form the building blocks for the bigger choices and decisions.

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Week of February 9

Week of February 9, Eve of Solemnity of Saint Scholastica
Christine Ereiser, OSB, St Joseph Monastery, Tulsa, OK

Each year on the Solemnity of Scholastica, I am glad to hear the words of the first reading at Mass: “For stern as death is love.” It seems a fitting passage for her, whose love was greater than her brother’s. (Dialogues, Gregory the Great)

Scholastica had a fierce and relentless love for her brother and for their time together. We each experience those times with dear ones during which we find ourselves wanting more, as did Scholastica. I think the point of the story of Scholastica and Benedict and the rainstorm is not about Benedict being grumpy or scrupulous, but about Scholastica’s desire to be totally and completely with God. She probably knew that this was the last of their meetings on earth. The strength she gleaned from their visit would sustain her for her final journey to meet her loving God.

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Week of February 2

February 2, World Day of Consecrated Life
Christine Ereiser, OSB, St Joseph Monastery, Tulsa, OK

Written by Vivian Imbruglia
NRVC Vocation Prayer Icon

Wake the World with Dawning Joy
Stephen Warner
Song in Honor of Year of Consecrated Life (2015)

I love the theme “Wake Up the World!” The colors of Vivian Imbruglia’s striking icon indeed urge one to awaken. Steven Warner’s song “Wake the World with Dawning Joy” uses the image of dawn to impel us to wake the world. Consecrated women and men are called by our vocation to wake the world to Christ’s presence and invitation to new life.

Yet, some days, I can barely awaken myself.

Waking the world is a tall order. Our world is not in the mood for awaking. It – they – we –want to sleep in most days. The thought of being awakened to Christ is jarring to most of our world. Injustice, poverty and oppression – the world understands and gravitates toward these sins. We – consecrated women and men – are called to waken the world from this stupor and walk the world into the light of justice and mercy.

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Week of January 26

Week of January 26, Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Christine Ereiser, OSB, St Joseph Monastery, Tulsa, OK week we looked at Ordinary Time – how it isn’t ordinary at all, but a time to be aware of our opportunities for growth and awareness of Christ in and among us.

Today we find ourselves one month from Christmas and one month from Lent. We observed patience and vigilance throughout Advent and rejoiced and celebrated the Incarnation. In a few weeks, we will enter into a time of prayer, fasting and serving the poor.

Right now, though, we are here, in the now and not yet of Ordinary Time in January, in the daily-ness of life. We may have reached the point of late-January complacency. The New Year resolutions we made with enthusiastic determination may now be set aside, or just plain forgotten.

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Week of January 19

Week of January 19, Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Christine Ereiser, OSB, St Joseph Monastery, Tulsa, OK

Ah, Ordinary Time.

The word ‘ordinary’ in this context can be misleading. I sometimes find myself thinking of Ordinary Time as “Plain Old Time.” Nothing special happening, nothing much going on. A time of rest and lolling about between the major liturgical seasons of the year.

However, this is not the intent or meaning of Ordinary Time. From the Latin ordinalis, meaning numbered, as in the Sundays and weeks of this season. This brings to mind Psalm 90, “Teach us to count our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart.” (NABRE) 

“The Sundays and weeks of Ordinary Time…take us through the life of Christ. This is the time of conversion. This is living the life of Christ. Ordinary Time is a time for growth and maturation, a time in which the mystery of Christ is called to penetrate ever more deeply into history until all things are finally caught up in Christ.”

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Baptism of the Lord

Week of January 12, Baptism of the Lord
Christine Ereiser, OSB, St Joseph Monastery, Tulsa, OK

https://webstockreview.netI don’t remember my baptism. I was only a baby, just a few months old. My godparents stood in my stead, promising I would be raised in the Catholic faith.

My godmother took her role quite seriously – both because she was my aunt (my dad’s older sister) and because my mother was not Catholic. My godmother made sure I learned my prayers and knew my catechism lessons. She did her best to pass on the faith to me. She understood that God “has no grandchildren.” As a faith community, we are responsible to pass on our faith to others, enabling others to grow spiritually and to develop a faith and prayer life of one’s own. My godmother gave me the tools to become a believer in my own right, able to take my place in the worshipping community. 

The commitment and covenant made at baptism is a source of joy and celebration for the faith community. Baptism is the beginning of our life in Christ, our new birth in the Holy Spirit.

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Epiphany, Week of January 5
Christine Ereiser, OSB, St Joseph Monastery, Tulsa, OK world has long moved on from the celebration of Christmas. Decorations are packed away and attention has turned to the next big events…the Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day….

We, though, are still with the Mary and Joseph and the Babe. They have moved from the stable to a house and a Star shines brightly over their home. Company comes, as is often the case after the birth of a child, with gifts to offer. However, these visitors are strangers and they bear unusual gifts, especially for a poor family.

The Magi made a deliberate trip to this place, coming from places unknown, bringing prophetic gifts, following this unusually bright Star. Something within them was stirred and they followed the Star’s leading. Something about the Star spoke to their souls, causing them to leave what was comfortable to journey to an unknown place. They only knew they were called to go, stirred to action, to movement, to follow. 

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Christmas Week

commission4mission: November 2011Week of December 29-January 4
Christine Ereiser, OSB, St Joseph Monastery, Tulsa, OK

I love the days after Christmas. The waiting is over. The big celebration is over. The schedule e is a bit more relaxed. There is more time to be present to one another. More time to enjoy the little things – reading Christmas cards around the Christmas tree, working on puzzles, watching the same Christmas movies every year.

Each day is a celebration of the new Christmas season. Hymns and carols and readings that are part of the tradition of these days.

And I anticipate the coming end of the calendar year. Taking some time to reflect and make resolutions that this year I will attend to and keep! 

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Fourth Week of Advent

cccindy.orgWeek of December 22-28
Christine Ereiser, OSB, St Joseph Monastery, Tulsa, OK

It will soon be over. I will be glad to move on to the season of Christmas. As much as I love Advent, it is getting to be time to move forward, to celebrate, to rejoice. The liminality of Advent will give way to the Event, Christmas.

But before I make that change of heart, change of season, can I take one more moment to make sure I am ready? Ready to move from purple to white, from the wreath to the tree, from anticipation to apex? Am I?

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Third Week of Advent 2019

Week of December 15-21
Christine Ereiser, OSB, St Joseph Monastery, Tulsa, OK

Waiting. It is sometimes the hardest thing to do. Waiting for the light to change to green. Waiting on someone running late. Waiting for whatever comes next – that which is unknown but surely coming.

Waiting during Advent can be a bit challenging. It seems to be a bit of a paradox. We know Christ has come into the world. We are preparing to commemorate that soon. We await Christ’s return. And yet, in this in-between time, we wait for …. what, exactly? The rest of the world has already moved on to Christmas – parties, gift-giving, decorations. And we – we wait.

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Second Week of Advent 2019

Week of December 8-14
Christine Ereiser, OSB, St Joseph Monastery, Tulsa, OK

Video: Behold by David Kauffman

This second week of Advent our thoughts turn to Mary, as she is commemorated in two feasts this week, as the Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Guadalupe. Mary’s Fiat and Magnificat are points of reflection and meditation, particularly in this time of Advent.

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First Week of Advent 2019

Week of December 1-7
Christine Ereiser, OSB, St Joseph Monastery, Tulsa, OK

Cathopic.comThe chapel is dim; gradually the light from one small flame spreads through the prayer space, among those gathered and into hearts of anticipation, awaiting the coming of the longed-for One.

The words that are sung reflect the yearning in the hearts of those who sing:

            Wait for the coming Savior! Wait through the heart’s slow race.

            Wait for the kingdom’s dawning. Wait till we see God’s face! (unknown source)

As the days of extended darkness envelop us in this part of the world, Advent candles are lighted to mark the passing weeks of the season. The light pierces the darkness of the early evening and reminds me of Emmanuel who is coming to bring everlasting light to all throughout our world.

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