Sometimes I will stay home to sleep, then return to the monastery in time for Vigils at 3:30 am. Most people think I’m nuts for getting up at 2 am, but it is my favorite time of the night/day…not much going on. Even the coffee tastes better at that time.
Some mornings God rewards me with something special. Occasionally it is snow on the ground that is reflected in the moon’s light or there has been rain and the droplets are still falling slowly from the large grasses besides my house. These simple visions of nature actually serve as an invitatory Psalm of sorts and prepare me to go to the monastery and pray with the brothers.
Other times it is something so spectacular I want to tell everyone I know about it. That happened today on the Feast of the Assumption of Mary. I noticed as I left the house the air was cool and clear (it is still August right? Coulda’ fooled me). That meant the stars would be out in full force especially when I got to the monastery where there is no surface light to block them.
I put the Tallis Scholars on my radio as I drove up and wasn’t disappointed as I turned down Cool Spring Lane. With the corn about six feet high on either side of the road I knew exactly where I would stop on the road, leave my music on, and step out of the car to look up. And when I did…OMG x infinity (as my granddaughter would say)…there in the heavens was a light-show beyond anything a human could create. And added to the show was a shooting star every few seconds (what is a shooting star? I’ll have to ask Brother Google). Cecile B. Demille couldn’t have done it better than this (you kids can ask Brother Google who he was). The sky was literally ablaze with stars…the Milky Way so thick with stars it looked like a band of light across the night sky. No matter how I turned, in whatever direction, there in the sky was a vision of beauty and glory I obviously can’t even describe well.
Fr. James says I’m a romantic, which is true, so I’m not ashamed to tell you I began to cry. It was just too magnificent. It was just too much evidence of God’s love and God’s majesty. It was one of those experiences that makes me want to grab someone and say ‘NOW do you see why I believe in God?!’
It was overwhelming. And it was a wonderful prelude to a day at Our Lady of the Holy Cross. And the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady.