December 9, 2010

Yesterday was the feast of the Immaculate Conception. It is the patronal feast of the United States. It is the only solemnity in Advent and yesterday we had a very beautiful celebration of it. What struck me during our Mass was how much we prepared for the celebration to make it so beautiful. 'Prepare' is a major theme in Advent and we were preparing the way of the Lord by celebrating the feast. For the Communion hymn 4 sisters sang a Marion hymn in parts that I had never heard before. It was amazing how their voiced blended to make such a joyful sound. The post Communion was Schubert's Ave Marie on organ and violin. Neither of these things just 'happened'. They took practice and preparation. There was also a flower arrangement under the altar. I can tell you about that as I arranged it. We don't spend much money on flowers, during the summer it is not a problem as I have a large flower garden and can pick them; but in December it is a problem. Flowers are expensive so I try to find them on sale or ½ price. I was grocery shopping so I checked out the flowers. The only ones I could afford that were ½ price were white, not what I really had in mind but I bought them as I needed something. When I got home I cut some pine branches and put them in a vase and then the white flowers. I added silver swirly things that came from a poinsettia plant that someone gave us last year and then added a white and silver and blue bow off of another arrangement we received several years ago. It turned out quite nice. One of the advantages of having limited resources is that it brings out your creativity.

The other thing that struck me was how we take the time to celebrate the feast, and really all feasts. It is a blessing to take the time and care to celebrate what is important to us. People wonder what we do since we do not watch TV. Well we pray a lot and we do things like this; simple things that cost little or no money, deliberately done to put beauty into our lives and to give glory to God. This is our very busiest shipping week in the whole year. Nevertheless, we stop and celebrate instead of working. Today we are working hard but not yesterday. It is well worth it.

Sister Maggie