From the moment my friend Cindy emailed me about Holy Name Monastery I was intrigued by the idea having really no idea at all what I might experience in such a place or what to expect. Coming from the cold of Canada, the setting here …
Surrounded by fields of hay bales is postural and soothing to the soul and, of course, birds abound here and as a birder my eye is always directed upward. The eastern bluebird makes its nest just feet away from the lovely wicker furniture outside my guest room where I sit each afternoon with binoculars. I pinch myself at the good fortune of landing here in what appears to me to be as close to Paradise as one can come on Earth. It is a thrill to hear the sound of the Mockingbird and the melodic singing of hosts pinch and tiny palm warblers feeding on the ground with tails bobbing up and down. A momentary visit of a pine warbler in breeding plumage sets my heart aglow. Surely the Creator has kissed this place with such beauty and bounty as I bask in the sunshine surrounded by palm trees and beautiful roses in bloom tended by the Sisters.
I looked forward each day to being in the presence of these dear Sisters and their fellowship over such a banqueting table. Surely the Lord is in this place. I sampled different experiences with the Sisters going to Daystar to work for the morning, being invited to do a little job in the greenhouse, attending a Bluegrass Mass at the Abbey, a lecture at the Abbey, explored the Saint Leo University campus across the street. I got account of some 15 bird favorites being the sandhill crane and the anhinga as well as a mature bald eagle and pear of osprey circling over the lake. This is a beautiful part of the world!
On Wednesday afternoon I meet Heather, another guest, who was reading Henry Nowlin’s book and I knew I had to get my hands on that small book with a powerful message. By the time I finished reading it, I began feeling the Holy Spirit wooing me back to him with a gentle conviction to come into that solitude, that place of intimacy with Him again where we meet face-to-face with the Living God. As is written in the Book of Ecclesiastes all else is vanity. To know God and to love him who first loved us with all our heart, mind, and soul is to be our pursuit. Deep calling, drawn back to the source so that once again the Springs of Living Water John 7:37 can bubble-up in us and overflow onto others. And so, my heart’s cry is for the Lord to light the fire that once burned bright and clear that all else might be received. In the stillness I will wait to hear your voice and be satisfied.
Thank you for this beautiful, quiet place of rest and reflection that draws one deeper into the heart of His love. Fear God and keep His Commandments.
Carol Klar – March 2018