Friday, November 02, 2007

Time Off to Rock and Roll And Pray

I will be out of the office Friday and Monday. Some of this time will be spent at the Abbey of Gethsemani where I will be part of a group playing hosts to other guests from around the USA. About 20 years ago I was part of a small group that began a relationship with the monastic community. We created a community of lay people who wanted to live more spiritual lives while also living in the world in the midst of the everyday challenges of marriage, family life, work, and our modern culture. We wanted to adapt some monastic practices to our lives. The monks would be our mentors and spiritual companions. Our original group has grown tremendously and other such groups have also begun throughout the United States and the world. In the summer of 2005 I went to France for a meeting of such people from twelve different countries. It was a wonderful experience. A similar meeting will take place next summer in Spain. The meeting this coming weekend is partly to prepare for the meeting in Spain. The monthly meetings I attend at the monastery are part of all of this as well.

Halloween night in my neighborhood was a slow night for witches, ghosts, and other creatures of the night. I had a grand total of two princesses knock on my door. I gave each of them two large handfuls of candy trying to empty the large ceramic pumpkin sitting by the front door. The five pounds of candy that I have left are just what a diabetic needs sitting around. Chloe, who I am told dressed up like a black cat, didn't make it to my house. She went trick or treating with some of her cousins on her mother's side of the family. I hope Dad remembered to take some pictures.

Yesterday was a day the Catholic church called All Saints Day. It is a long tradition in the Catholic church to publically recognize holy men and women. All Saints Day remembers not just these well known and recognized lives of holiness but all the many, many more who are not known. This day calls to mind the quiet holiness and daily perseverance of all those people who will never be known by name except in the mind of God. Today is a day called All Souls Day. On this day we remember all who have died, not just in our own personal lives but throughout history. I wonder how many people have lived and died through all the millennia of history? Considering that number, very few have made it into the history books. Most of us live quiet lives and then we are gone, only to be remembered by the ones we touched.

Last night I got a dose of rock and roll. My friends and I had tickets to see Leon Russell at a local bar. Leon's star has faded a bit but he is still a great entertainer. Many of you may not have heard of him. He is perhaps most famous for being part of George Harrison's "Concert for Bangladesh" benefit concert and Joe Cocker's "Mad Dogs and Englishmen" tour. Both of these events were made into films that were released way back in the 70's when many of your parents were young. Leon is mainly a songwriter, arranger, and band leader. However, many of you have probably heard songs that Leon wrote. This was today's rock and roll history lesson.

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