Thursday, September 3, 2015

Gregory the Great

As the Church celebrates the holiness of Pope Saint Gregory the Great, we recall his longing to return monastic life all during his papacy. Devoted to the solitude and silence of his Benedictine monastery on the Caelian Hill in Rome, he nonetheless responded generously and readily when appointed to the papacy. As monks we want to follow the Lord with open hearts, ready for all that he asks of us day by day.
Inspired by this morning's meditation by Father Nickolas of Collegeville.  

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation

Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience. - Pope Francis, Laudato Si’

Pope Francis has asked that September 1st be designated as a new annual commemoration - World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. In his encyclical Laudato Si’ he states: “The life of the spirit is not dissociated from the body or from nature, but lived in communion with all worldly realities. The ecological crisis, is a summons to a profound spiritual conversion and to a way of life that clearly shows that we are believers. It is a time to reaffirm our personal vocation to be stewards of creation, to thank God for the wonderful handiwork which he has entrusted to our care, and to implore his help for the protection of creation as well as his pardon for the sins committed against the world in which we live.”

Praise be to Thee, my Lord, with all thy creatures, above all brother sun who illuminates the day. - Saint Francis of Assisi, Hymn of the Creatures

Friday, August 28, 2015

Late

Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you!  You were within me, but I was outside.

Which of us, having experienced the tenderness and love of Christ no matter how briefly or intermittently; would not agree with Saint Augustine that no matter how much we may love or long to love our Lord, it is always too little and too late?

Like Augustine, we have tasted the Lord and now hunger and thirst for more of Him.  He has touched us, and we burn for His peace.


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Unlimited Love and Life

Father Robert reminded us in this morning's homily that Jesus is trying to reveal to us "what unlimited love looks like."  He continued, "Jesus is offering an alternative to the inevitable death of our world of limits." The Lord Jesus is, indeed, inviting us to a "new level of intimacy which goes beyond experiences that come to an end." It is as if He were saying to us: "Do not be satisfied with your limited level of life. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood will abide in me and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of him. So you who eat me will live with unlimited life because of me."

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Mary our Queen

Mary, as an ordinary human being, represents all of us and each of us. Mary represents every human being who attempts to respond to God’s loving summons. Julian of Norwich the 14th century visionary, saw the Blessed Virgin Mary in one of her visions. And Christ revealed to her the “high, marvelous and singular love: he has for “this sweet Maiden his Blessed Mother.” Julian understood that in Mary “our Lord speaks to all humankind that shall be saved as if it were all to one person, as if he said ‘Do you want to see in her how you are loved?’" Julian adds that in contemplating Mary, her truth, wisdom and love, “I may learn to know myself.” Julian invites us to contemplate Mary, not so much in order "to see in her what we must do" but “to see in her how we are loved.” 

As Christians we love the Mother of God because, beyond all desire or deserving she was made the Mother of God. Where Mary is, we are to be. As Mary is, we are to be. We are loved by God with the same love that he loves Mary.

Madonna by Sandro Botticelli. Reflection by Father Damian.
            

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Solemnity of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

Love is the only one of the movements of the soul, of its senses and affections in which the creature can respond to its Creator, even if not as an equal, and repay his favor in some similar way... Although the creature loves less, being a lesser being, yet if it loves with its whole heart nothing is lacking, for it has given everything.

How well Saint Bernard speaks to our experience. Baptized into Christ we are one with Christ, one with Christ in mysterious relationship forever. He calls us to love Him with all our heart, all our soul, all our strength, all our mind, our very being. But how can we? We can love because God gives us the love with which to love. 

Text from Sermon 83: On the Song of Songs

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Extravagance

Then Peter said to him in reply,
“We have given up everything and followed you.
What will there be for us?”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you
that you who have followed me, in the new age,
when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory,
will yourselves sit on twelve thrones,
judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters
or father or mother or children or lands
for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more,
and will inherit eternal life.


Each time we hear this Gospel, we are embarrassed by Peter's question. It's as if he were saying, "What's in it for us?" But Jesus is not put off. The generosity, the mercy of God are prodigious, extravagant. And so Jesus promises us "a hundred times more" than what we have given up for him. 

So it is that we have heard the older brethren encourage the younger brothers not to be afraid to give their all.  "God will not be outdone in his generosity," they tell us. The meaning is clear- Do not fear to give up everything for love of Christ. He notices and wants to recompense us to overflowing.

Photograph by Brother Brian.