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What sign can this be?
Saturday, December 24, 2016 - 10:59

What sort of sign were the shepherds given? You will find the child wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. . . .What kind of sign, then, can this be?

          Indeed it is a great one, if only we understand it rightly. Such understanding will be ours if this message of love is not restricted to our hearing, but if our hearts too are illuminated by the light which accompanied the appearance of the angels. The angel who first pro­claimed the good tidings appeared surrounded by light to teach us that only those whose minds are spiritually enlightened can truly under­stand the message.

          Much can be said of this sign; but as time is passing, I shall say little, and briefly. Bethlehem, the house of bread, is holy Church, in which is distributed the body of Christ, the true bread. The manger at Bethlehem is the altar of the church; it is there that Christ's creatures are fed. This is the table of which it is written, You have prepared a banquet for me. In this manger is Jesus, wrapped in the swaddling clothes which are the outward form of the sacraments. Here in this manger, under the species of bread and wine, is the true body and blood of Christ. We believe that Christ himself is here, but he is wrapped in swaddling clothes; in other words, he is invisibly contained in these sacraments. We have no greater or clearer proof of Christ's birth than our daily reception of his body and blood at the holy altar, and the sight of him who was once born for us of a virgin daily offered in sacrifice for us.

Christmas Discourse, Aelred of Rievaulx

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Sunday, August 14, 2016 - 13:36

"IN ALL I SOUGHT REST." Rest is welcome to the  weary. It is welcome, then, and it comes as a most opportune interlude to you who are weary, this day of rest and leisure. Therefore while we celebrate the rest of God's holy Mother not only may our bodies be refreshed by this rest of a day from the work of the harvest but also our hearts may draw breath in remembrance and love of that eternal rest.

          O you who toil, O you who bear the day's burden and its heat; in the shade of Jesus' wings you will find rest for your souls, firm support, shelter when the hot wind blows, shade at noonday.

Blessed Guerric of Igny, 3rd Sermon for the Assumption

Juniors at Mepkin Abbey Seminar- South Carolina April 11-23rd, 2016
Friday, June 3, 2016 - 08:09

A total of 17 Juniors attended the 2 weeks’ seminar at Mepkin Abbey. The 13 monks and 4 nuns were from 9 houses of the American Region.

The first presenter was an Augustinian priest, Fr. Martin Laird, who teaches patristics at Villanova University. He conducted a silent prayer retreat for the first week. It included  4 and a half hours of silent prayer in common spread throughout the day, each hour divided into (2x25 minutes; 5 minutes walking meditation in between.) There was a conference and discussion each afternoon. The purpose of the silent prayer retreat is to enable the stillness of heart, to negotiate the world of inner chatter and to help meditator to be here, to be present to the now which is always changing. We have to learn to be focused and invest in the now. We have to learn to meet distractions and enter our mind into the quiet and be still. The monk or nun who continues and persevere with this inner stillness will be a great gift to the community through their inner changes. God is hidden within the soul and the true contemplative will seek him there in love.

The 2nd week was Scripture sessions with our Cistercian Sister Anne Elizabeth Sweet from Tautra Maria kloster in Norway. Sister’s theme was on St. Luke’s Gospel and Acts of the Apostle. We learned to identify different themes and title found in Luke-Act such as Prayer, theme of the Heart, the Holy Spirit, compassion, repentance, joy. There were passages that are unique to Luke’s Gospel such as genealogy of Jesus, John the Baptist’s teaching, signs of the time and the Emmaus encounter amongst other passages. What is Luke’s message for me and my monastic community?

David George, the Mepkin Infirmarian, presented information about the Mepkin Wellness program on two afternoons. He drew our attention to food, nutrition and care of our body. He specified “brain food” nourishment for the brain with an emphasis on eating more fruits, vegetables, grains, olive oil, nuts, and seafood. He also spoke about the importance of exercise and posture.

Account by Br. William Chng of Vina

Jesus is the Face of God's Mercy
Monday, February 15, 2016 - 11:05

God shows himself ever rich in mercy, ever ready to treat his people with deep tenderness and compassion, especially at those tragic moments when infidelity ruptures the bond of the covenant, which then needs to be ratified more firmly in justice and truth. Here is a true love story, in which God plays the role of the betrayed father and husband, while Israel plays the unfaithful child and bride. These domestic images – as in the case of Hosea (cf. Hos 1-2) – show to what extent God wishes to bind himself to his people.

            This love story culminates in the incarnation of God’s Son. In Christ, the Father pours forth his boundless mercy even to making him “mercy incarnate”. As a man, Jesus of Nazareth is a true son of Israel; he embodies that perfect hearing required of every Jew by the Shema, which today too is the heart of God’s covenant with Israel: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might” (Dt 6:4-5). As the Son of God, he is the Bridegroom who does everything to win over the love of his bride, to whom he is bound by an unconditional love which becomes visible in the eternal wedding feast.

From the Lenten Message for 2016 by Pope Francis

Going Green: Cistercian Monastery in the News
Monday, December 28, 2015 - 15:25

Catholic News Agency has this story:

Years before Pope Francis’ recent ecology encyclical was published, a Trappist monastery in Virginia went back to its spiritual roots by embracing environmental stewardship.

“This really is a re-founding,” Fr. James Orthmann of Holy Cross Abbey in Berryville, Va. told CNA, a “real renewal and a re-founding, and in a real sense getting back to our traditional roots.”

Since 2007, the community has taken concrete steps be better stewards of the earth in the tradition of the Cistercian Order, while also reaching into the outside world to draw more Catholic men to their monastic life.

You can read it all at http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/meet-the-monks-who-decided-to-go-...

Come, Lord Jesus
Monday, December 7, 2015 - 09:06
Exaltation of the Holy Cross
Monday, September 14, 2015 - 13:40

I have been crucified with Christ, and the life I live now is not my own; Christ is living in me. I still live my human life, but it is a life of faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I will not treat God's gracious gift as pointless.

          Christ has delivered us from the power of the law's curse by himself becoming a curse for us, as it is written: ''Accursed is anyone who is hanged on a tree." This has happened so that through Christ Jesus the blessing bestowed on Abraham might descend on the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, thereby making it possible for us to receive the promised Spirit through faith.

          May I never boast of anything but the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ! Through it, the world has been crucified to me and I to the world. It means nothing whether one is circumcised or not. All that matters is that one is created anew. Peace and mercy on all who follow this rule of life, and on the Israel of God.

From St. Paul's letter to the Galatians

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