Friday, February 25, 2011

Fun with Monks- 7 QuickTakes

1.  We were at a monastery day before yesterday and prayed vespers. Priest-husband and the big girls also prayed the "Jesus prayer" before vespers; the monks do most of the Jesus prayer silently so I didn't have the little children in the chapel. Twenty minutes of silence is not possible with them.

2. This is the "Jesus Prayer"--- "Jesus, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner." It can be prayed on a knotted prayer rope.  You can start with saying it about 100 times and then slowly try to increase it so that it becomes an unceasing 'prayer of the heart.'

3. To monastery retreatants- stop feeding the raccoons. They look cute, but no matter what, they will stay wild. They'll just expect food from innocent 20-month old toddlers.

4. To good Catholic men who want to remain unmarried- please seriously consider the monastic life. The monks seem to have an aspirant or two (I didn't really get details- don't want to 'jinx' anything). I pray that he will hear God's will for his life-- and I pray that many more men will find their way to this faithful family.

5. It is hard to be in church when your kids are the only children there.  Baby Girl especially loves to hear her own voice echo. The next time I go to the monastery, I hope to go on an actual retreat by myself!

6. a sad (to me) story- while at an Orthodox women's monastery in the old country last summer, we visited with the mothers and told them about this Byzantine Catholic monastery in the States. We said that their special ministry is to work towards the unity of all Christians and the preservation of true Byzantine spirituality while being in union with the Catholic Church. The mothers could not contain their disgust and asked us why would we ever pray for unity- the Orthodox are happy without being diluted by liberal faith. But our monks keep praying and being faithful to Byzantine spirituality and the Catholic Church.

7. Here is a vegan recipe from one of the monks (they are vegan year-round Wednesdays and Fridays and tougher still during actual fasting periods):

Lentil Vegetable Pasta
Saute a chopped onion, 2 chopped bell peppers, and a few cloves of crushed garlic in a teaspoon of olive oil in a heavy pot. When onions are softened, add 2 cups of lentils and 2 peeled carrots along with 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then cover. Turn to low. While the lentil vegetable mixture is cooking, prepare 2 cups of dry pasta according to package directions in a different pot. After 20 minutes, add a can of crushed tomatoes to the lentil mixture. Drain pasta and then add to lentil mixture. Add salt, if needed. Serve with garlic bread and a green salad.


  1. jon and i are giggling uncontrollably at #3. we laugh only because we have a couple "parsonage cats" that came installed with the parsonage that are owned but still try to play abused and neglected with us.

  2. Which monastery were you visiting?? I can sympathize with #5...our 2 1/2 year old son has taken to "chanting" loudly in our tiny parish, loudly imitating what Father says, swinging his arms around & pretending to incense the parishioners & bless them with invisible holy water. Cute, but I worry that it is a distraction. I should send you a link to a short video our eldest daughter took of him "chanting" during the Divine Liturgy he was "celebrating" at home. God bless! ~Patricia

  3. News to me that Catholicism is a liberal faith... :)

  4. Ha, Allie, anyone who is not Orthodox, is "liberal" just as many Byzantines see Romans as "liberal." Those are really sweeping generalizations, because there are very liberally thinking Byzantines, just as there are super conservative Romans. It is not a spectrum of Orthodox > Eastern Catholic > Roman Catholic > Episcopal or Lutheran > other mainstream Protestant denomiations > non-mainstream Protestants > Unitarians >Agnostics > Atheists. (or something along those lines)

    There isn't much black and white, when you look deeper. Sadly, I wasn't surprised to see the reaction of these women.

    Thanks for the recipe! I need to show that to DH. I LOOOVE lentils! Are your eparchical rules different or do you eat vegan during Lent voluntarily? We are of Passaic, and are told to obstain from all meat & dairy on the 1st Monday & Good Friday, but fish/shellfish are allowed. Or at least that's what my husband (and his family) have always done. The Weds/Fris are meatless, but dairy & fish are OK.

  5. Rabbit- I forget our eparchy's exact guidelines, but I am trying to be a bit more 'conservative'- vegan on Wed/Fri and meatless every other day but sunday (but Sunday usually ends up meatless because I don't want to freeze leftovers)- this works for me- not too difficult, of course with the kids, I'll give them some meat- trying to be balanced here....

  6. Rabbit again- I always forget how much I love lentils- I don't use them enough- also, dry peas are really easy, but I always cook them with ham or something...not as tasty as lentils meatless. I just need to get my family more excited about curry- I could eat Indian every day

  7. I think I could do more vegan days (with proper planning, of course) or even strictly vegetarian (no fish) on more Wed/Fri, but when I suggested this to DH, he looked scared. Ahh, my meat-eating, hunter husband! It's not like we couldn't benefit from a "cleaner" way of eating for a few weeks...I'll keep at him!

    BTW, are you doing any special on the blog for Lent? I am trying to think of a way to incorporate it into mine.

  8. I think the sound of our baby's echos in the church must be very pleasing to God the Father. (As long as they aren't over the top). I'm a new follower from Catholic Mothers Online. Please stop by and return the favor.

  9. I share your saddness about the nuns. We all need to pray more for Christian unity. If we are open to the Holy Spirit, our hearts will be lead, through prayer, to love our fellow Christians and earnestly desire unity.

    It is not the Holy Spirit that leads us against unity, but unvirtuous forces. Certainly there is a still not eliminated legacy of certain dark forces such as the Iron Guard (, a legacy that tries to take our hearts away from love for and a desire of unity with fellow Christians based on a fear of "liberalism".

  10. you are invited to follow my blog

  11. Jenny's comment reminds me of something my husband has's something like, "When a church has no crying babies, it's dying."


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