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My Prayer Mat – by Kevin Driedger

Posted by on Sep 19, 2020 in News | 1 comment

My Prayer Mat – by Kevin Driedger

I was in the kitchen the other morning preparing lunch for a guest and myself and in that space I encountered a moment of recognition and connection. At a pause in the work I found myself moving to stand on the mat by the sink and with my back to the sink I look out the window and pray. This has become a regular practice for me. While I am waiting for water to boil or onions to saute my feet often end up on the cushioned mat and I pray. My prayers are the prayers that come to me throughout my day. They are simple two-line breath prayers that I slowly repeat.  Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.O God, come to my assistance,make haste to help me.Give me ears to hear the heavenly voiceand courage to answer the call.Open the door of my heart,that I might receive you this day. That specific morning the recognition dawned on me – “Oh, this is my prayer mat.”  I know that the use of a prayer mat is common in many traditions but I had given little thought to their use, or that I might be using one. With this recognition I now have an inkling of the experience of the prayer mat as a site of devotion and meeting with God. It demarcates a space that is a private temple where we go to talk with God. As a place where we put our feet it speaks to me being grounded and still. As someone who is nurtured by Benedictine spirituality my prayer mat in the kitchen speaks to me of the connection of work and prayer. After our meal was complete, I stood on the same mat, this time turned around to face the dirty dishes and like Brother Lawrence I continued my ongoing little conversations with...

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Veni Sancte Spiritus – Come Holy Spirit

Posted by on Aug 3, 2020 in News | Comments Off on Veni Sancte Spiritus – Come Holy Spirit

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Practice Hope-Practice Resurrection – by June Mears Driedger

Posted by on Jul 21, 2020 in News | Comments Off on Practice Hope-Practice Resurrection – by June Mears Driedger

Practice Hope-Practice Resurrection – by June Mears Driedger

In the poem “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front,” farmer, poet, Jesus-follower Wendell Berry writes: “…every day do something that won’t compute. Love the Lord. Love the world …Love someone who does not deserve it …Practice resurrection,” he concludes. Berry challenges us to respond anew to the challenges of our lives—to the challenges of the pandemic—to recognize that our faith makes claims on us and invites us to understand the world and our lives in ways very different than the culture around us. We know all too well the practice of crucifixion. We are living in a kind of crucifixion. We see it daily in the news, social media, and in a culture that advocates, “Me first.” So, how can we practice resurrection? We can think of new ways to bring the power of Easter to this world—to embody this power daily. We must become conduits of God’s love and energy. We are to be everyday reminders to people that sickness and death—in all its forms—is not the final word. Rather, to remember each day that we are called to life, to love, and to each day “begin again.” We are called to love God and to love others. Isn’t this what we have experienced: the love of God who doesn’t insist that we deserve this love, doesn’t demand that we get everything right, doesn’t demand us to overcome our fears and anxieties, and doesn’t require us to be cleaned up and shiny for Easter morning? We return each day to the practice of hope, the practice of resurrection. To remember “that is in God in whom we live and move and have our being,” (Acts 17:20). Continue returning to hope, returning to resurrection until our very beings are united with...

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Building update

Posted by on Jul 10, 2020 in News | Comments Off on Building update

We have had a whirlwind of weeks working on the new House Built of Sky at The Hermitage. From soggy spring footings in March to hot dry stuffing days in June and hotter days for framing in July, the building is now being readied for roof construction.  Over the two weeks of wall stuffing (June 9-20) we hosted two groups of volunteers, nine Guiding Light men, working two days, and 11 *cino Staff, along with 28 individuals. Some came for multiple days, and some for a single day, so we numbered 44 people stuffing the walls, giving 70 days of work. We were aiming to have 50 folks here for this project and we are so grateful for the people who worked so hard on each of the days. We were led by Thomas Hirsch of Bungalow Builders in  Benzonia, Michigan. Thomas’ gentle spirit, never-quit energy, encouraging talks and jokes just at the right time in the work day, kept the teams moving every day toward completion. What initially looked like a daunting task, became lighter work when shared by the assembled teams.   We began each day with a “Builders Circle” sharing our favorite stretches to get our bodies ready for the work day. Each group was invited to write blessings for the house and its future occupants on the framing. Several blessings are now hidden in the walls. The blessing for this house, introduced at the groundbreaking last August, was read to the assembled workers. Our prayer is that this be a formational blessing for all who work on this project and who one day come to live in this House Built of Sky. The blessing is by John O’Donohue from his book, Eternal Echoes. “Blessed be the longing that brought you here and that quickens your soul with wonder.May you have the courage to befriend your eternal longing.May you succumb to the danger of growth.May you live in the neighborhood of wonder.May you belong to love with the wildness of dance.May you know that you are ever-embraced in the kind circle of God.” Our hearty thanks goes to: Dan Truesdale, Margaret Wenger, Greg Lehman, Jay Budde, Joe Kreider, Maristela Zell, the Guiding Light group, Mary Catherine McDonald, Chuck Pieri, Linda Pieri, Karry Hostetler, Lisa Hostetler, the*cino group, Jeff Miller, Tim Lind, Janna Hunter-Bowman, Addie Hunter-Bowman, Nicole Bauman, Kristi Holmstrom, Dennis Gable, Ken Srdjak, Deanna Risser, Mary Asmonga-Knapp, Willard Fenton-Miller, Biff Weidman, Margie Pfeil, Jane Stoltzfus-Buller. David & Naomi Wenger worked alongside Thomas each day and we were served hearty meals by Ursula Hess, Kevin Driedger, Joel Hogan, Patty Hogan, and Verna Troyer.  To see a photo essay of the house work so...

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Discipleship in Shorthand – by Biff Weidman

Posted by on Jun 22, 2020 in News | Comments Off on Discipleship in Shorthand – by Biff Weidman

Discipleship in Shorthand – by Biff Weidman

(Originally published in the newsletter of the St. Peter Claver Catholic Worker House.) Years ago, I spent eighteen months living and working at The Hermitage. I experienced a way of life that was “sane and simple”. I was nourished in solitude. I glimpsed a simplicity I’d never known before. Seemingly everything about the setting and our rhythm of life encouraged mindfulness, alertness to God’s presence. Again and again I was called back to Jesus’ words: “Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me” (John 15:4). Each morning we gathered for prayer, reciting “The Hermitage Affirmation.” And these lines in the Affirmation have been written on my heart ever since: “The call to us here today are these words of Jesus: ‘Come, all who are weary and whose load is heavy; I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble-hearted; and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to wear, my load is light.”’ [Matthew 11:28-30] These few verses, it seems to me, distill the way of Jesus— discipleship in shorthand: Come to meRemain with meLearn from meRest in me Come to me On the eve of his death, Jesus assures his friends: “I will not leave you orphans. You will not be left alone. I will come to you.” [John 14:18] Daily we’re invited to rest in this promise: “You are not alone”. We’re called out of isolation and into communion. Jesus calls us to come to him, to live in him, and to set aside any thought that we can “live the Christian life” apart from him. As disciples, we’re to live our lives in the very same way that Jesus lived his. He lived by the indwelling life of the Father, doing nothing in his own strength, but “only what he saw the Father doing” (John 5:19). We’re not meant to weary ourselves trying to live by Jesus’ example. We’re meant to enjoy his presence, to be yoked to him, to participate in his life. The call comes anew to us each morning: “Come to me. Journey with me. Listen to my voice. Let me show you the heart of the Father. Let me show you what I see.” Remain with me/Take my yoke We are bound to Christ, united with him. Yet how easily we turn our attention elsewhere. We can lose sight of the treasure of his presence. We can “wander into a far country”. Jesus invites the “weary and heavy laden” to come to him. What leaves me “heavy laden”? So often I grow weary when I forget that “the Lord is near”, when I lean on myself rather than on Jesus, when I live “as if orphaned”. Theologian Geordie Ziegler suggests that “to be a Christian is to be—here and now—in the company of the risen Lord.”[i]  And when I forget, I falter. And I begin to think that what’s needed is more earnest effort to “be Christlike,” to conform my life to Jesus’ example. Instead of staying close to Jesus, who is the way, I live as if Jesus was the way, but is no longer. The Christian life becomes a disheartening attempt to imitate Jesus’ exemplary life. And that’s a sure path to weariness and discouragement. Learn from me In Isaiah 50, the servant cries out: “Morning by morning the Lord God wakens—wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught.” The...

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A Blessing from The Hermitage

Posted by on Apr 27, 2020 in News | Comments Off on A Blessing from The Hermitage

Blessing from “The Pattern of Our Days: Worship in the Celtic Tradition from the Iona Community” edited by Kathy Galloway.

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