For many year a ground hog has lived in a burrow in our backyard. Season after season he waddles around and lived peacefully with the other wild life on the property; the raccoons and the deer with a few stray snakes. But recently a skunk appears to have taken over the ground hog's home. the last few nights Petunia (the name I've given the skunk) has been working hard dragging something into the burrow. This evening at dusk I got the picture that is up on the right. It's a bit blurry, but I wasn't about to ask her to pose for me for a closeup portrait.
The deer do not seem to be phased by the skunk or the other wild life. They graze quite close to the friary and seem to have accepted us and the raccoons as peaceable neighbors. We have a herd of deer on the property and there is another one across the street in My Airy Forest. What effect Petunia will have on the overall balance of nature on our property is yet to be seen. I have a feeling the human animals will feel her presence the most!
(I apologize for the quality of the pictures. I took them at dusk when there was little light and they came out blurry. Sorry.)
Today, April 16, is the annual Day of Renewal of Vows for us Franciscan Friars. It was on this day that Saint Francis made his profession in the hands of Pope Innocent III. So it has been a long standing tradition that each of us in our local friaries renew our commitment to our Franciscan way of life on this date.
This takes on special meaning during these three years of Pilgrimage (2006 - 2009) as we prepare for the 800th Anniversary of the approval of our Franciscan Charism in 1209.
Please remember all of us Friars in your prayers and all of those young men discerning a calling to our way of life.
Let us also remember in our prayers all of those affected by the tragedy at Virginia Tech.
Since I last posted I have been in Texas visiting prospectives and attended a Day of Renewal for the staff of our Provincial Offices. Busy week, but there have been many graces involved.
I flew to Houston on Easter Monday to begin a two day, 750 mile trek through Texas hitting places like Glen Rose, Austin, and League City. I flew back to Cincinnati Easter Thursday evening. While in Texas, I visited with four men who are considering the possibility of a vocation to our way of life. Visits like these are always a blessing because I get to listen to the hopes and dreams of young men who want to make a difference with their lives. They are on fire with the idea of serving God and the Church and, whether they do that as a Franciscan or as a layman, they are an inspiration to me. With all the bad news we hear today, it is refreshing to meet such good men. I come back from these trips tired, but very happy.
Friday the lay and Franciscan staff of our Provincial offices met for a day of renewal. We spent the day looking at the charism of the Franciscan movement in the world; especially at the charism of Saints Francis and Clare. That same day, our Postulants and Brother Scott left for a quick, weekend tour of our missions in Appalachia. This is an annual trip; part of the Postulancy Program which introduces the Postulants to some of our men and their work for the poor in Kentucky.
This week I travel by car to northern Ohio to visit with more prospectives. God is blessing us with some great young men. Our (your) prayers for vocations are being answered by our Risen Lord.
By the way, the weather here in Cincinnati is still more suitable for Christmas than Easter. :-(
May the Lord give you peace and joy
throughout this Triduum and Easter
This evening the weather in the Cincinnati area is making a drastic change. We have been enjoying daytime highs in the 70s with lows in the 50s. This evening it is storming and the temperature is dropping. For the rest of Holy Week we are expecting highs in the 40s and lows in the 20s. BUT, last week was GORGEOUS. I took a couple of days at our house at Lake Lorelei about an hour east of Cincinnati. The shot at the left was taken off our back porch as a duck slowly swam through the lake. on the right you can see a shot of our Lake Lorelei Friary.
I found the time at the lake to be very relaxing and prayerful. I guess that is the Franciscan in me; nature turns my mind naturally to thoughts of God and prayer. My preference are the mountains or the desert of the southwest, but I can't always get to the ideal spot. I need to find God and commune with him wherever I am. And Lake Lorelei is a good spot in this part of the country.
Out on the point at the edge of our property someone has created a setting for a statue of Saint Francis. (I'm not sure which friars did this, but it is a very nice setting out where all on the lake can view it.) I find it very curious that that is the spot where a couple of geese have decided to make their nest and hatch their eggs. Sitting out there in the open with Saint Francis overlooking their nest, the two of them alternate sitting on the eggs and warding off intruders--including any friars who may want to get too close to get a better view.
Time for R and R always seems too short and goes by quickly, but I enjoyed the 48 hours I had there. I found God and myself in fruitful conversation about the mysteries of this Holy Week. I'm thankful for the opportunity.