Wednesday, June 29, 2011

You are Peter

Today we celebrate the great Apostles Peter and Paul. During Communion at this morning's Eucharist, we sang the ancient Latin hymn for this feast, Aurea Luce. One stanza of this lovely chant follows in translation:

O happy Rome!
Ruddied by the noble blood of these princes;
It is not your praise,
But their merits which excel
All the beauty of the earth.

photograph of Abbey stained glass by Brother Daniel

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Summer Morning

The Birthday of John the Baptist,
the beginning of summer.
The Great Forerunner comes
to prepare the way for the Light
who will lead us in ways of peace.
photograph of sunrise over Abbey hillside by Brother Jonah

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Preferring Christ

The organisation of the monastery is directed to bringing the monks into close union with Christ, since it is only through the experience of personal love for the Lord Jesus that the specific gifts of the Cistercian vocation can flower. Only if the brothers prefer nothing whatever to Christ will they be happy to persevere in a life that is ordinary, obscure and laborious.
And may he lead them all together into eternal life.

from the Constitutions of the Monks

Thursday, June 9, 2011


The Gospel chosen by the Church for this Pentecost Sunday takes us back fifty days to the evening of the Resurrection. Jesus wounded and risen has snuck in on the frightened apostles, as if on tip-toe, on cat’s feet, very quietly to introduce God’s consoling presence in the Spirit.

The disciples are in hiding, confused and probably feeling tremendously guilty, especially Peter. What should they have done to save Jesus? What could they have done? In all ordinariness Jesus seeks those whom he loves. He shows them his wounds, and he says, “Peace.” And then he breathes the Spirit on them, gently, most intimately, the warm breath of God.

Bestowing his Spirit Jesus empowers them to forgive, for through his passion and death he has absorbed all recrimination, all reproach. God’s forgiveness is now abundant and free. God in Christ breathes the Spirit as in the beginning of creation, for this is "the beginning of new life for all believers in the risen Lord."*

*Gerard Sloyan

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

In Heaven

Christ Jesus, truly human, truly divine, is seated at God's right hand. He has taken our flesh to heaven. Earth and heaven are one. This is marvelously expressed in a hymn we sing these days.

Yes, angels tremble when they see
How changed is our humanity;
That flesh has purged what flesh has stained
And God, the flesh of God, has reigned

Photograph of Abbey meadows by Brother Jonah

Friday, June 3, 2011


Jesus has ascended to the right hand of the Father but promises to be with us always. He promises us an absence that is brimming over with divine presence. “It is better for you that I go,” he has said, not to abandon us but to be with us always in the Spirit, not time bound or Palestine-bound but always, “always, until the end of the age.” We are left to learn how to appreciate an emptiness that makes us available to a greater but truly mysterious divine fullness.

We begin the novena of prayer to the Holy Spirit in these days of Ascensiontide preceding Pentecost.