Cuyahoga River

Cuyahoga River
Cuyahoga River in the Valley

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


On my second day at Mount St. Benedictines, I enjoying the silence. What work it is to produce a fine novel, but that is what I am intending to do. I'm girded by God prayer, walks, and reading. I’m reading at morning, noon, evening, and night Thomas Merton’s spiritual writings in A Book of Hours. I read “Unnatural, frantic, anxious work, work done under pressure of greed or fear or any other inordinate passion, cannot properly speaking be dedicated to God because God never wills such work directly. He may permit that through no fault of our own we may have to work madly and distractedly, due to our sins and to the sins of the society in which we live. In that case we must tolerate it and make the best of what we cannot avoid. But let us not be blind to the distinction between sound, healthy work, and unnatural toil.” That is what I feel in my soul, the unnatural toil.

St. Benedictine Monastery allows people to reside here while they figure out what to do with the rest of their lives. The Benedictine Sisters Prayer for Vocations reads, in part, “Bless others with the courage to accept the invitation to seek you in community through prayer and ministry. May these seekers find fulfillment for the longing in their hearts: in communal life well-lived and in loving attention to the needs of your people.” What does God require of me? Brother Thomas, who lived at the monastery here in Erie for over twenty years and had studio on E. 10th Street in Erie, created beautiful ceramic art while the Artist-in-Residence. He wrote, “I am not doing art, I am doing theology.” One hundred pieces of his art are at the monastery, but his work is also at the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian, and The Vatican. He knew he was called to do art and he pursued it, with the blessings of the church.

The main character in my book is questioning her way of life as well. She's not me, but her spirit asks some of the same questions. The questions I ask in my book are: How do we trust in love? Is love what we need or will we always be disappointed? Is God to be trusted? What does God give us?  

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