Monday, June 04, 2007

Tragedy In The Neighborhood

It was a mostly busy weekend that started with sadness. Friday night I looked out my window and noticed most of the local news media parked outside my home and up and down my street. I found out later there had been a murder-suicide right around the corner, just hundreds of feet from where I live. I did not know the people and was not aware of any problems. I live in an old and quiet neighborhood. It is an integrated collection of elderly folks, working people, and young families. I know I am fortunate to live in a neighborhood where such violence, and even crime, are very rare. This sad event is another reason to pray for peace in our families and in our neighborhoods.

Yesterday I crept out of bed as quietly as I could in the early morning darkness trying not to wake my wife and Chloe who were sleeping beside me. Being the first Sunday of the month, I was committed to going to the monastery. I live about 50 miles from the Abbey of Gethsemani and feel very fortunate to have such easy access to such a holy place. I go there once a month to meet with a group of like minded individuals. I am not really their leader. I am more an organizer and facilitator of our monthly gatherings and discussions. Part of the experience is to also attend mass with the monks. After a short prayer called Tierce, guests are invited to sit up front near the monastic community. It is quite uplifting to walk up the long nave of the abbey church while Father Chrysogonus plays jubilantly upon the huge pipe organ. In the world of liturgical music Father Chrysogonus is something of a rock star. Sitting near the monks and participating in their community prayer one can strongly smell the sweet aroma of incense. It always reminds me of the Psalm that goes "Let my prayer, O Lord, rise before you like incense"! After mass I finished my visit with a simple but tasty pot luck lunch with my friends. After our good-byes we parted and headed in our different directions. The drive home was enjoyable and the overcast morning had turned into a beautiful and sunny day. When I pulled in my driveway, young Chloe was standing in the doorway.

Speaking of Chloe and other small children......Chloe is quite active and can be a handful. As a general rule she is usually well behaved but, like me, she has a short attention span. Her restless pursuit of activity can be exhausting. We have discovered something that is worth every penny of money that it cost. It is a DVD called "Madagascar". It is a Disney cartoon about some zoo animals who escape the zoo and end up in Madagascar. It holds Chloe spellbound. We were in great need of a new DVD because I have watch the "Doodlebops" DVD at least 457 times in recent months

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