Wednesday, February 25, 2009

As the 40-day Lenten journey to Easter commences with the recieving of ashes on Ash Wednesday, we are reminded that no authentic return to God begins with us. For it is God who first comes to us through His Son, and it is God who's loving mercy forgives us our sin and opens the door to the freedom of new life in Him - to a deeply fulfilling and intimate relationship with Him. It is God who desires and initiates this and it is God who invites us to respond. What we are primarily called to do then is to get out of our own way, so-to-speak, and allow God to retake the lead in our lives once again; to recieve Him as our True Vine and reaccept ourselves as His cherished branches ... no matter how far or how often we have gone astray.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

For over fifteen centuries now, the Rule of St. Benedict has provided to countless monks a powerful time-tested guide to living the apostolic life in Christ in a profoundly unique and intimate way. The opening words of its Prologue attest to the loving intention and sincere concern of its author: "Listen carefully, my son, to the master's instructions, and attend to them with the ear of your heart. This is advice from a father who loves you; welcome it, and faithfully put it into practice." With the Rule and an abbot to govern them, the monasteries endeavor to become "schools of the Lord's service" ... communities where, by God's grace, charity is grown and cultivated. St. Benedict's gaze stretches forth like a watchman from the stained glass window which overlooks the Abbey's barn chapel.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Nestled in the heart of the enclosure, our candidate's cottage offers to men who might be considering a vocation to the monastic life, a precious place of solitude for prayer and discernment with ample opportunities to experience the life and meet some of the monks. Our vocations director is always nearby and readily available to meet with and listen to those who find themselves feeling an attraction to this way of life. For those who might be interested in arranging to make a visit, our Abbey website (accessed by the link to the right) provides contact information. Current dates and information about our next "monastic experience weekend" can also be found there.

Friday, February 6, 2009

How many monks does it take to remove the abbey's Advent wreath? On this occasion the answer was: Close to a dozen. Weighing well over a hundred pounds, the wrought-iron candle holder, garnered with pines and ribbons during the Advent and Christmas season, remains a fixture in the abbey church until just after the Feast of the Presentation (February 2nd) - the last time it sees its candles lit. Usually a day or two later, after the brothers finish praying the Office of None, many stay close by and lend a helping hand before heading off to their daily afternoon work.