Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The greatest gift

As you drive north on scenic highway US 31 in Michigan's lower peninsula, you pass through a little town called Conway. There's not much in Conway except a Post Office. Not much, however, except a monastery that sets back off the highway. You'll miss it if you don't make a point of looking. For years I drove past it, wondering that was and what happened in there.

And then one day, in my second career, that of selling church organs, I learned that the nuns in this beautiful little facility needed a new organ for their chapel. The old one was emitting sparks and smoke. Doug to the rescue.

We sold them a beautiful little ALLEN organ (the best name in the business), and my dad joined me in driving it up there and hauling it into the chapel. What a time we had, as each of the sisters had a different idea as to where the organ should be placed. My dear friend Sister Rosemary finally uttered in exasperation, "Lord, help us all!"

Through all of this I learned more about the Augustine Center and the Sacramentine Monastery. I learned that the sisters in this little order of nuns were committed to a lifetime of prayer. That's all these beautiful little ladies do. They pray. They don't get out of that facility for any more than a few days a year. Their daily routine rarely changes. They believe that they've been called to pray, and they very much appreciate things to pray for. As our friendship deepened, I encouraged the male chorus that I directed at the time---HIS MEN---to rent the monastery for a weekend retreat. It was marvelous. We then sang for their Sunday morning mass as a token of thanks. The nuns were keenly interested in my third career, which took me into prisoner advocacy. How they prayed for Maurice Carter. And after he died, they continued to pray for HUMANITY FOR PRISONERS.

What a ministry!

How much we can learn from those who have devoted a life to the practice of prayer!

And as I received a check from these poor/wealthy ladies today in the amount of $10.00 for HFP, which comes from their skimpy funds, I again felt so much gratitude. For the financial gift, yes.

But especially for the greater gift: the gift of prayer. And it never stops.

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