Saturday, November 30, 2019

Blessing and Thanksgiving

Blessing is somehow built into the very fabric of the universe and so into the very fabric of our lives. In the first chapter of Genesis it’s obvious that God calls forth everything and everyone into existence and then affirms the goodness of it all. And fundamentally that’s what blessing is. Whenever we bless in expressing thankfulness for anything or anyone, we both recognize and strengthen a goodness that’s there. And in so doing we participate in bringing it into being and in generating more of it. This is most evident when parents bless their children. For in doing so they both affirm and strengthen who they essentially are and seek to call forth goodness from and for their future.

According to the story of creation, this practice, this possibility of blessing comes from God who creates in order to bless. God seeks the world’s goodness first by calling it forth: ‘Let there be light’; and who acknowledges the world’s goodness by first recognizing it and then strengthening it: ‘and God saw that it was good, and God saw that it was very good’. Yes, blessing is truly built into the fabric of the universe. The poet John O’Donohue says something similar: "Despite all the darkness, human hope is based on the instinct that at the deepest level of reality some intimate kindness holds sway. This is the heart of blessing. To believe in blessing is to believe that our being here, our very presence in the world, is itself the…primal blessing."

Everything deserves to be blessed and received with gratitude. Offering thanks in the midst of tragedy and trusting God to be God, is not a new idea at all. Actually 3000 years ago the Jewish people formulated blessings, berakoth, for every circumstance in life. If it were good news “Blessed be he who is good and does good.” If it were bad news, “Blessed be the judge of truth.” As they viewed reality, human beings had a duty to pronounce a blessing on the bad, as well as the good, because all life came from God. The Talmud says, “It is forbidden to taste of this world without a blessing.” Fr. Michael Himes will speak of the sacramental principle -  “If something is always and everywhere the case, it must be noticed, accepted and celebrated somewhere, sometime. What is always true must be noticed as true at a particular time and in a particular place.” Indeed God is always offering us times and opportunities to bless and to be grateful. Nothing is too big, and nothing is too small to evoke a blessing of gratitude.

And so Himes asks the question, “What can be sacramental?” His response, “Anything. How many sacraments are there? As many as there are things in existence in the universe. There are, of course, the seven great communal sacraments, those seven special moments in the Church’s life which the community has set apart as particular celebrations of God’s grace. But all of us have personal sacraments: people, places or events which speak to us deeply and richly of the love of God which we know surrounds us always but of which we are not always aware.” Nothing is too small or insignificant. 

Photograph by Brother Anthony Khan. Meditation by Abbot Damian.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

In Gratitude

We remember our parents tugging at our sleeves when were given a gift or a small treat and reminding us, “What do you say?” Recognizing all we have been given by God in his love and mercy, on this Thanksgiving Day we gather to pray and feast and remind one another what to say.

Thank you, thank you Lord from the bottom of our hearts for all you have given so freely, so lavishly. Our hearts are full, filled to overflowing. For what do we have that we have not received? Wonder, praise, thanksgiving become one.

And so fittingly, wonderfully, jubilantly we celebrate Eucharist on this day. Eucharist means thanksgiving. God never stops giving God’s very Self to us. God is love. Love never ends. And even as we come to thank and praise God for all he has given us, it is he who is gathering us at this Eucharist to feed us once again with himself. Our thanksgiving overflows.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Our King

The rulers sneered at Jesus and said,
"He saved others, let him save himself
if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God."
Even the soldiers jeered at him.
As they approached to offer him wine they called out,
"If you are King of the Jews, save yourself."
Above him there was an inscription that read,
"This is the King of the Jews."

We find today's Gospel passage particularly moving, as we celebrate this solemnity. For what we celebrate is Jesus' crucified love and self-forgetfulness; his dominion has nothing to do with pushing others out of the way so that he can be number one and have control. He has entered Jerusalem meek, riding on a little donkey colt and soon received the only crown we could manage to offer him - one of woven thorns. And so we may call him king, if we understand that He has turned the whole idea of power and majesty absolutely upside-down, inside-out, for his power is made perfect in littleness and weakness.

His kingdom does not belong to this world. He refuses to fight evil with evil, absorbing hurt because of hope and trust in One who is at his side. Jesus embodies the strength that comes from this confidence in his Father’s love. And he invites us into this same place of deep trust and freedom. 

He holds us in love, empowering us to go forward in courage and faith because nothing can really harm us; we belong to him. The worse may happen, truth be told, it already has, and in Christ we are the victors, because he has made us a kingdom of priests, and kings. Baptized into the resurrected, victorious Christ we are of his kingly line.

Photograph by Brother Daniel of a Renaissance glass fragment in an Abbey window.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Presentation of Our Lady in the Temple

- Rejoice, ladder set up from earth to Heaven, on which the Lord came down to us and returned to heaven again, as seen in the vision of the great Patriarch Jacob!
-Rejoice, miraculous bush where the angel of the Lord appeared in flames of fire, where the flame burned without consuming, as Moses realized, who alone saw God face to face!
- Rejoice, shining golden lamp radiating light, from which the inaccessible light of God has shone out on those in darkness and the shadow of death, according to the inspired Zechariah!
- Rejoice, “light cloud where the Lord dwells,” according to Isaiah, who spoke the most sacred things!
- Rejoice, locked gate, through which the Lord God of Israel comes in and out, according to Ezekiel, who gazed on God!
- Rejoice, unquarried mountain-peak, higher than human hands, from which that rock was cut which became the corner-stone, according to Daniel, that great teacher about God!

We rejoice as we celebrate Our Lady on this feast as chosen dwelling place of the Lord Most High God. She gave her flesh to God, so that God in Christ could make his dwelling place in our midst. Rejoice and be glad.

Prayer by Saint Theodore the Studite

Monday, November 18, 2019


When I was ten I fell about 20 feet from a tree in our back yard and smashed my wrist to pieces.  I had to wear a cast all summer and fall.  It drove me crazy to have to wear that thing: no swimming, no hunting, no games, no bike.  My mother's answer to my getting very antsy about it was her classic, “Tommy, patience is a virtue.”  I guess I didn't have any: patience, that is.  The last line of today's gospel used to have a famous saying explicitly about patience: “In your patience you shall possess your souls.”  It is an important saying in the history of spirituality.  The present translation leaves me cold: “By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”  What would Mom say about that!

The early Church needed patience. It was white hot with expectation of the Lord's imminent 2nd coming.  St. Paul and St. Luke had to calm Christians down like in this morning's reading from 2nd Thessalonians where Paul tells them to get back to their day jobs and make an honest living.  It will be a while before it all comes to an end.  Saint Luke is writing at a time when the magnificent Temple of Jerusalem had been destroyed by the Roman army.  It seemed like a sure sign of the end of the world.  The Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles told them and us: hold your horses. The times of the Gentiles must be fulfilled, that is, the Gospel must be preached to all peoples and become their way of salvation, the way of living in a community of love towards God in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.  In other words, be patient, beloved, until the coming of the Lord, as St. James says in his epistle.

Luke's Gospel has another saying about patience similar to “In your patience you will secure your souls.”  It comes in the eighth chapter, “The seeds on the good ground, are they who in a good and perfect heart, hearing the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit in patience.”  When the gospels talk about bringing forth fruit they are referring to deeds of love from hearts made loving: good and perfect by the infusion of God's love into them, as I said before, by Christ in the Holy Spirit.  Patience is usually called upon in our lives because of the many hardships any one of us experiences even on a daily basis.  For this reason St. Luke, alone among all the evangelists, inserts the  word “daily” into the saying of Jesus about the cross.  “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”  Hardships are part of life, and the virtue of patience, which is an aspect of charity, helps us to bear with them.  St. Thomas Aquinas says that Pope St. Gregory the Great described patience as the root and safeguard of all the virtues not because it is the greatest, but because it removes the obstacles to the other virtues, the greatest obstacle being our anger at things or people for not cooperating with our personal grand plan for the universe—O! How I suffer!  A dear friend of  my family who grew up with my little sister has MS.  Her husband walked out on her because his wife's illness was too great a hardship for him to deal with.  Love is imperfect when it does not include patience in the face of hardships.  In St. Paul's classic description of love, patience comes first: “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”

Indeed, for all of us, whether married or religious or dedicated in the single life, it is usually our false perception of other people that is the greatest hardship calling for patience.  In the case of the husband of my sister's friend, he was offered by God and by his wife the chance for self-transcendence and the perfection of the image of Christ in him, but he chose his false self and his imagined comfort—probably the story of my own life.  Saint Benedict, who wrote the rule we follow, saw patience as one of the most important monastic virtues: first, because it is part of the imitation of God whose own patience, says St. Benedict and St. Paul, is leading us to repent; second, simply because it is a much needed virtue that has to be practiced daily, daily, daily in the community as we all rub up against a variety of characters that we did not choose to live with, God chose them. The worst character we run up against is, of course, our own miserable self.

Perhaps, if we can learn to be patient with ourselves, we will learn to be patient with others in the community—or with our wives, our children, our husbands, our boss, whatever, whomever.  As St. Benedict writes in Chapter 72, “This is the good zeal which monks must foster with fervent love: They should each try to be the first to show respect to the other, supporting with the greatest patience one another's weaknesses of body or behavior.”  Get that! “support with the greatest patience one another's weaknesses of body or behavior.”)  St. Benedict, to encourage us amid the hardships of the life, tells us right off the bat about the reward of patience in the final verse of the Prologue: “Never swerving from his instructions, then, but faithfully observing his teaching in the monastery until death, we shall through patience share in the sufferings of  Christ that we may deserve also to share in his kingdom. Amen” We will now have a sublime foretaste of his kingdom in this Eucharist and its graces of love and patience we share together.     Photograph by Father Emmanuel. Sunday’s homily by Father Luke.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Praying with Saint Albert

I adore You, O Precious Blood of Jesus, flower of creation, fruit of virginity, ineffable instrument of the Holy Spirit... I am overcome with emotion when I think of Your passing from the Blessed Virgin's heart...

I adore You enclosed in the veins of Jesus, preserved in His humanity like the manna in the golden urn, the memorial of the eternal Redemption which He accomplished during the days of His earthly life. I adore You, Blood of the new, eternal Testament, flowing from the veins of Jesus in Gethsemane, from the flesh torn by scourges in the Praetorium, from His pierced hands and feet and from His opened side on Golgotha. I adore You in the Sacraments, in the Eucharist, where I know You are substantially present....

I place my trust in You, O adorable Blood, our Redemption, our regeneration. Fall, drop by drop, into the hearts that have wandered from You and soften their hardness.

O adorable Blood of Jesus, wash our stains, save us from the anger of the avenging angel. Irrigate the Church; make her fruitful with Apostles and miracle-workers, enrich her with souls that are holy, pure and radiant with divine beauty. 

Photograph by Brother Brian. Lines from a meditation on the Blood of Christ from the writings of Saint Albert the Great.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Brother Meinrad's Funeral

“People were bringing little children to Jesus…” “People were bringing even little children (babies) to Jesus…” This word ‘even’ suggests that something unusual was taking place. And it helps explain why the disciples were disapproving. At that time and in that culture children were seen very much as second-class citizens. They had little, if any, social status. And the disciples thought they were doing Jesus a favor by discouraging their presence. But as so often happens in the gospels when the disciples make such assumptions, they receive a rebuke from Jesus and a lesson in the upside-down nature of the coming of God’s kingdom. No, don’t prevent them, let them come to me, he says, “for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.” In fact, “whoever does not receive the kingdom as a little child will never enter it.” This is strong language. Now, we are familiar with these words and so they don’t shock us. But for these first disciples and would-be disciples these words of Jesus were very counter-cultural and quite disturbing.

So, what is Jesus actually saying here? What is it about a little child that is so essential for entrance into the kingdom? At bottom, it has to do with dependency. Now I realize that the word dependency itself probably makes many of us very uncomfortable. Maybe it’s like the uncomfortableness that the disciples felt when Jesus told them to “let the little children come to me.” When we hear the word ‘dependency’ we think of dependent personalities or dependency on drugs or alcohol. I think we all realize that little children can be angels and rascals. But either way, they are highly dependent on others for survival, usually parents. The dependency that Jesus is getting at is an underlying, foundational reliance on God rather than self. Dependency, in the sense of receptivity and radical trust, is the necessary condition for the in-breaking of God’s kingdom into our lives and world. Jesus’ call to such a radical receptivity and trust isn’t about God callously asking something unfair or unreasonable. Becoming like a child isn’t a call to be childish. It’s all about life and our capacity to receive life in all its fullness. It’s about the radical freedom that comes from knowing, really knowing that we are children of God. And this knowing isn’t just a matter of information. It’s fundamentally about relationship. It’s about the real, new possibility of being related to God as Jesus was and is. It is a dependency that frees us from ourselves and allows us to trust God’s loving care for us completely.

There was always a certain childlikeness about Br. Meinrad. Several things struck me about Meinrad. One of them was his joyful uncomplicated freedom. He was free enough to be playful. For instance on his first night in the hospital when I was leaving I said, “Meinrad, I’ll see you tomorrow.” He immediately responded with, “Thanks for the warning.” And with all his playfulness he always exhibited a dedication to whatever task he was engaged in. Whether the task was weaving stoles, clerical work, tailoring, welcoming people to the monastery, playing bluegrass guitar music or creating origami.

One particularly noticeable facet of his dedication was his devotion to the saints; countless saints but particularly St. Therese of Lisieux. On his application form to enter when asked to put in his own words why he wanted to be a Trappist he wrote: “I wish to love Jesus with my whole heart and soul, to be united with Him, to help quench His thirst for souls…” That is pure St. Therese.

I’ve accented what I saw as the fruit of Br. Meinrad’s long-standing relationship with St. Therese. But more fundamentally (and I think St. Therese would agree with me) it’s the fruit of a long-standing, freedom-filled, trusting relationship with God. Br. Meinrad knew what it was like to be a child of the Kingdom.

I’ll let St. Therese and Fr. Thomas Keating have the final words. Therese expressed her conviction in this way: “Even if I had on my conscience every conceivable sin, I would lose nothing of my confidence. My heart overflowing with love, I would throw myself into the arms of the Father, and I am certain that I would be warmly received.” Fr. Thomas’s comment on this conviction of Therese was: “This is one of the greatest insights of all time into the nature of God and our relationship with him.” “See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called children of God. Yet so we are.” May the soul of the child of God Br. Meinrad and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.

Photograph by Brother Brian. Excerpts from Abbot Damian's homily for Brother Meinrad's funeral.

Sunday, November 10, 2019


This morning we listen as the Sadducees try to stump Jesus with an impossible dilemma- “If she had seven husbands, whose wife will she be?” It’s an outlandish “what-if” scenario, the absurd possibility of six of the so-called “brother-in-law” marriages prescribed in the Book of Deuteronomy. What makes it even more ridiculous is that the Sadducees don’t believe in the resurrection anyway. For them the dead are dead, period. It seems pretty clear- they only want to taunt Jesus. “Let’s see how he gets out of this one.”

Jesus is undaunted. With characteristic beauty, integrity and directness; he takes the Sadducees’ crazy story, flips it around and draws them and us into a more astounding revelation. Marriage in its beauty, intimacy and commitment is appropriate to this present age, but it will come to an end. (Joseph Fitzmeyer) And raising up heirs, so that family and race may endure, will be inessential in the age to come. Something new, breathtaking in its beauty, is to come- the reality of eternal life, unending intimate relationship with God and with those we have loved, in God’s Kingdom.

What is essential is connectedness, the relationships of love and real intimacy with God and one another that we are made for. All the rest is a lot of babble, a smoke screen. It may remind us of the current political blathering, which can distract us from something very deep and sincere, something about who we are- that is value-driven, and if you will, even compassion and mercy-driven- loving, everlasting interconnectedness. This is what Jesus reminds we’re built for. The essential question is simply, “Where is your heart? What is your deepest desire? What do you want?” That is the most haunting question. - What do you want? And put even more directly for us as women and men of faith: Who do you want? This is the question that cuts through all the yammering.

For Jesus one thing is true- we live for God; and those who live for God are truly alive, forever. (Alois Stoger) God is the God of the living. And we are made for eternal life. Jesus’ vision of our destiny is something ample and full of delight- vast and truly beyond our full understanding. He beckons us toward the reality of eternal life and everlasting relationship with God and with one another, a reality beyond even the beauty and communion of marriage. Indeed all human connection and friendship, all our loving here and now, give us glimpses, beautiful glimpses, but only glimpses of the union and communion with God in Christ, with one another and with all creation that we are destined for, a communion that far surpasses anything we’ve experienced. And “those who are deemed worthy,” says Jesus, “will be raised up like angels; for they are the children of God.”

All during this month of November we’ve been enacting this breathtaking connectedness between heaven and earth, as we pray to all the saints and pray for the departed. We are in relationship with them all, for the heavens have been opened, and there is now easy interchange between heaven and earth. God’s dream of intimacy with his creation has come true in Christ Jesus.

Saturday, November 9, 2019


Solitude…is experienced, first of all, at the fine point in the heart where each person is ceaselessly created within a dialogue, in the course of which he receives his own name from God. This is…continuous prayer, which is the monastic form of prayer par excellence.  Solitude is next experienced in all the deaths to the self which constitute the numerous, daily decisions that oblige us to choose … to remain faithful to the call we have received from Christ. This is what is known as continual conversion.  It is also experienced in all the concrete demands the arise from our commitment to live the Gospel with others under a common rule.  This is obedience...Solitude is neither Christian, nor even real, if it is not the other side of communion.  

Reflection by Dom Armand Veilleux.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Brother Meinrad

Very early this morning our Brother Meinrad passed away to the Lord. Meinrad brought joy and gentleness. He began his monastic journey at the Abbey of Gethsemani and came to our community about twenty years ago. Like all the monks Meinrad had worked at a variety of different jobs during his monastic life and as a young monk at Gethsemani had been one of Thomas Merton's typists. Origami was one of his favorite past times, and a few years ago Brother Meinrad made enough delicate white cranes to cover our enormous Christmas tree. Meinrad's distinctive country guitar music was always a special part of our annual Christmas gathering. A man of prayer and deep devotion, Meinrad will missed by his brothers of Spencer. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2019


It is indispensable to regard the world in light of the resurrection...And yet God's creation is still something in its own right: it lies before our eyes and wants to be looked at. It is what it is, itself, and it must not be constantly asked about where it is going. It is precisely in its purposelessness that it glows before us.

Photograph by Brother Anthony Khan. Lines by Gerhard Lohfink.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

With Zacchaeus

Again, this morning Jesus is caught making friends with a tax collector. As we remember, tax collectors were among the most despised members of Jewish society. They took money from their own people for the Romans, and they were despised for this collaboration with an alien power. But this morning we watch as little Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector, climbs a tree to gaze down at the famous rabbi Jesus who is visiting his town. Jesus notices Zacchaeus noticing him, and invites himself to Zacchaeus’ home. 

We cannot help but notice with admiration this desire of Jesus to befriend a sinner and the openness of this notorious outsider to the presence of Christ. Jesus always praises the readiness of these outsiders - prostitutes and collectors of the tax - to change their minds and hearts. They are available – broken enough to know who they are. They have no illusions about themselves and so do not refuse an invitation to change, reform. They know they’re a mess, they know it all too well. They’ve got nothing to lose; they’ve lost it all already. And so, this morning we watch and listen as Zacchaeus makes his very generous promises to change.

This is always the case, when we sinners dare to open our homes, our hearts to Christ Jesus. In the brilliant light of his awesome beauty, of his divine presence, we see clearly who we are, what we need to do to be more faithful to him and his gospel.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

On All Souls Day

In the miracle of adoration we are already with God, entirely with God, and the boundary between time and eternity is removed. It is true that we cannot now comprehend that adoring God will be endless bliss. We always want to be doing something. We want to criticize, intervene, change, improve, shape. And rightly so! That is our duty. But in death, when we come to God, that all ceases. Then our existence will be pure astonishment, pure looking, pure praise, pure adoration - an unimaginable and unnameable happiness. 

Lines from Gerhard Lohfink.

Friday, November 1, 2019

With The Saints

"Who are these wearing white robes?” says an elder in heaven to the narrator in today’s First Reading from the Book of Revelation. The elder then answers his own question, “Why, these are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb.” Now anyone who has ever tried to remove even a small blood stain from a piece of clothing can understand that it must have been a near impossible task in first century Palestine, long before OxyClean or Shout. And we can only wonder at the perfectly ridiculous image of robes made radiantly white by washing them in lamb’s blood. But this is not just any lamb. And the offbeat beauty of these words reveals the truth of the dazzling, unprecedented victory of the Lamb of God. It is Jesus’ self-forgetful love that has created this radiance.

He is the radiant, blood-stained Lamb, who is seated on the throne at God’s right hand. We live now in the period of his sovereign rule over us. But it is a reign that is, nonetheless, far from complete. And ultimately the Beatitudes describe those who are helping to make the kingdom happen. And as all the saints would remind us, it’s all about Christ Jesus - losing ourselves for him, in him, and ultimately becoming transparent to him. Today is this great feast of transparency and transformation.

Jesus tells us, “How blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven;” he invites us to recognize ourselves among the lowly and insignificant - those who look to God for everything (see Dennis Justison.) He speaks as a wisdom teacher, faithful to his Jewishness (see Daniel Harrington). Indeed, the Beatitudes are replete with wisdom from Torah. For our Jewish forebears, Torah was the Way. But it is Jesus who affirms and completes Torah in all that he teaches, in all that he accomplishes, in all that he is. Jesus is Torah perfectly fulfilled and enfleshed, for he is the way, the truth and the life. The Beatitudes are ultimately then not his philosophy but a way to be kingdom, a way to live as if God were truly in charge, the way to live in him, who is our Beatitude, our way to true happiness.

My brothers and sisters, the way of the Beatitudes continues to be counter-cultural, counter-intuitive. It is the way of doing the opposite of my first inclination. And each time I hear these Beatitudes, I see too clearly how far away I am from all that Jesus calls blessed and happy. I am not dependent enough on him alone; I too readily seek consolations beyond him; I can too often be haughty, silly and unrecollected, self-absorbed and caught up in my own pettiness; too quick to judge and withhold compassion; and very often I don’t want to forgive or make peace, I just want to have things my way.

So, like the apostles, I want to say, “Then who can be saved?” Or better still like Peter, “Leave me Lord, for I am a sinful man.” Perhaps that’s the grace - to realize humbly, even joyfully, my inadequacy. The Beatitudes are not a checklist for the holy, but a call to imitate the wounded Christ and allow him to reform our hearts, so that they conform to his broken heart. This is the grace of Beatitude - a way to imitate him, who is all mercy, all peace, all mourning turned to joy, imitate him in whom we are becoming Beatitude. We are invited to take on the mind of Christ in our embrace of our own poverty and neediness and inadequacy. The saints are here to remind us, “Don’t be afraid. It’s not about you. It’s about him; let him transform you.”

Jesus invites us to step into the poverty and helplessness we need no longer fear and flee or deny - because we will find him and our brothers and sisters down there. What Jesus enumerates are attitudes and ways of being that come from relationship - with him and with one another - attitudes arrived at by the hard road of humility, vulnerability and doing the opposite of what my first snarky reaction might be. For when I finally recognize how poor and mercy hungry I am, maybe, just maybe I notice that I am not alone, that others are needy like me; hopefully my heart gets broken open.

In the kingdom proclaimed by Jesus this morning, a revolution is happening, with vulnerability at the center. Inadequacy, vulnerability are the keys to Beatitude, the source of all that gives us life and joy, love, belonging and connectedness. For when I am vulnerable, I realize that I desperately need God; I realize that I desperately need others. I come to understand that I am imperfect, inadequate and on the way along with my brothers and sisters, and so I am connected (see Jamie Arpin-Ricci on BrenĂ© Brown). It is this loving connectivity that is true Beatitude. To be poor, merciful, to mourn over all the tragedy that surrounds us, to allow ourselves to be rejected for doing the right thing - this was Jesus’ way; it is to be our way, as it was for all the saints. But bear in mind, when you love like this, you bleed like Jesus did and your robes get stained - but in the process absolutely radiant.

Our way is imitation, imitation of Christ, not dumb impersonation, but likeness that will lead to transformation. I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I that live, but the wounded Christ living in me; the life I now live in the flesh I live in faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me. This is what the saints wanted with all their hearts, what Jesus longs for, for each of us, this deep inter-subjectivity and connectivity. 
Detail of painting by Fra Angelico. Reflection by one of the monks.