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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

Assumption of Our Lady: OCSO Patronal Feast
Friday, August 14, 2015 - 14:39

          Today the glorious Virgin has ascended into heaven, surely filling up the measure of joy of those who dwell there. But it might seem more fitting for us to weep than to clap our hands. If heaven rejoices in Mary's presence, does it not follow that our world below should bemoan her absence? Nevertheless, let us make an end of our repining, for here we have no abiding city: we seek the very city to which blessed Mary has gone today. If we are enrolled as citizens of heaven, it is surely right for us to remember her and to share her joy even in our exile, even here beside the waters of Babylon. Our Queen has gone before us, and so glorious has been her entry into paradise that we, her servants, confidently follow our mistress, crying: Draw us after you and we shall run toward the fragrance of your perfumes. We in our exile have sent on ahead of us our advocate who, as mother of our judge and mother of mercy, will humbly and effectively look after everything that concerns our salvation.

          Today earth has sent a priceless gift up to heaven, so that by giving and receiving within the blessed bond of friendship, the human is wedded to the divine, earth to heaven, the depths to the heights. A sublime fruit of the earth has gone up to heaven, from whence the best gifts, the perfect gifts descend. The blessed Virgin has ascended on high and therefore she too will give gifts to us. And why not? Surely she lacks neither the ability to do so, nor the will. She is the queen of heaven; she is compassionate; she is the mother of the only-begotten Son of God. This more than anything proves the greatness of her power and love­ -- unless, perhaps, we do not believe that the Son of God honors his mother,  or unless we doubt that Love itself, which is born of God and rested nine months in her womb, evoked a response of love in her heart.

Bernard of Clairvaux, First Sermon for the Assumption

Junior Monks and Nuns Gather at Gethsemani
Wednesday, June 17, 2015 - 07:04

Many of our junior monks and nuns (those who have made simple vows), with several of our recently professed monks and nuns, gathered at Gethsemani Abbey from June 1 - 13. Fr. Michael Casey of Tarrawarra Abbey in Australia presented conferences on our OCSO Constitutions and our Cistercian patrimony, focusing on Bernard, Aelred, Guerric, and Beatrice of Nazareth.

Our juniors enjoy this time together, to get to experience life in another community, to share experiences with other juniors and to hike a new landscape. On our final evening together, we shared some music with our gracious hosts, the brothers of Gethsemani.

Come, Holy Spirit
Monday, May 25, 2015 - 07:12

On this feast it is love that we specially honor, and among human beings there is no word pleasanter to the ear, no thought more tenderly dwelt on, than love. The love we celebrate is nothing other than the goodness, kindness, and charity of God; for God himself is goodness, kindness, and charity. His goodness is identical with his Spirit, with God himself.

Aelred of Rievaulx, Sermon for Pentecost

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