Mar 12, 2012

On My Knees

I have always wanted a kneeler for my home. Sitting in a chair or kneeling by my bed, just doesn't do anything for me. My dogs think that I want to play and getting up from the floor just isn't that easy anymore. So I scoured the internet for instructions on making one. Well since I have very very limited tools in which to make one, most plans that I found were way beyond my capabilities and buying one isn't an option. I did find a crude YouTube video with plans for a very simple, very basic prie-dieu (aka kneeler). My trusty teenage son declared that he could build it for me. I discovered that Lowes is a very bad place to find cheap (or straight) wood. Eventually I found what I was looking for at Menards. My son's motto for building anything is "Close enough, is good enough," so anything expensive was out. I convinced him that we would do a test model before we went with the expensive wood. Considering we only have a drill and box saw, cutting the boards to length was rather difficult. The edges weren't exactly straight and the measurements were questionable, but it went together nicely. It's not exactly straight, and there are gaps in places, but it's sturdy and works beautifully for praying. I had a stray throw pillow that fits perfectly on the kneeling end so for now I don't have to venture into figuring out how to pad a board without a staple gun or a hammer. (I know I have a hammer, but I'm not sure where it disappeared)  The shelf is the perfect size to hold my bible and my breviary. And on the top, I have Mother Theresa's (or is that Blessed Theresa of Calcutta) instructions on humility. After all of the hard work that my son went into making this prie-dieu for me, even with all of it's unique characteristics, I wouldn't trade it for a better model.

Mar 4, 2012

Can I Go Back Yet?

This weekend was another grace filled weekend. Seminarian Andrew Jasper (who looks barely out of highschool, but is really in his 30's) led the retreat. There is such a peace about Andrew that is rarely found. His backup was Monsignor Mahold (or something like that). He's a jolly old priest who seems to have been everywhere and met every saint of the 21st century and has a story to go with it.

This retreat was focused on the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius, who I'm guessing was a type A personality. The exercises themselves have a definite format and rely to a great deal on imagery, as in picture yourself at the foot of the cross with Mary and John. For me, the imagining things is really easy. Sticking to a specific format was a little more difficult. I get far better results from spontaneous prayer as opposed to formatted prayer. When I was at BroomTree in November, I had great conversations with God while out walking. This time, there were only a few. The few I had were spectacular, but I felt like it was work to get those few. I did do considerably more writing this time. In fact, I ran out of pages before the end of the retreat. Between notes and journaling I went through quite a bit of paper. I will give it a few days and go back through to see what gems I can glean from those pages. The notes will be of use if I decide to give some of the exercises another try, which I expect I will.

I wish it had been longer so that I could really get a grasp on the exercises, but I accomplished quite a bit in the little bit of time I had there. I'm not sure when my next visit to BroomTree will be, but I'm sure it will not be soon enough.