St. Benedict's Rule for Monastics: chapter 72
Friday, March 21, 2014 - 09:24

Just as there is an evil zeal of bitterness
which separates from God and leads to hell,
so there is a good zeal
which separates from vices and leads to God
and to life everlasting.
This zeal, therefore, the sisters should practice
with the most fervent love.
Thus they should anticipate one another in honor (Rom. 12:10);
most patiently endure one another's infirmities,
whether of body or of character;
vie in paying obedience one to another --
no one following what she considers useful for herself,
but rather what benefits another -- ;
tender the charity of sisterhood chastely;
fear God in love;
love their Abbess with a sincere and humble charity;
prefer nothing whatever to Christ.
And may He bring us all together to life everlasting!

Crozet is planning a new church!
Friday, February 28, 2014 - 08:46

The American Region rejoice in this good news from our sisters at Crozet:

"We share with you our joy and gratitude for God’s many blessings on our monastery since its beginning 25 years ago.  A special cause for thanksgiving is the expansion of our community.  We have outgrown our temporary chapel!   And with the increasing number of guests who come to pray and worship with us, we are greatly encouraged that now is the time to complete our monastery by building the monastic church.

"This will be much more than another construction project, since the whole life of our community revolves around the church.  We gather there seven times a day in communal worship, to praise and thank God and to intercede for all the human family.  From the church we go out to our various forms of work here at the monastery, and to the church we return for our most essential work – the life of prayer.  You are present and a part of this life of prayer.

"In keeping with our long tradition of Cistercian architecture, we hope to build a church where the glory of God is revealed in beauty, harmony and simplicity – a sacred place where all who wish may come for personal prayer and for communal worship that is both reverent and joyful.  In keeping with Cistercian practice in the use of local materials and labor, we are envisioning a simple but beautiful structure of brick and native stone."

You can read more here.

Presentation of Our Lord
Tuesday, February 4, 2014 - 09:19

On February 2, we remember the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple as recounted in the second chapter of the gospel of St. Luke. Simeon and Anna both come to witness to the Lord's Presence.

During this time we also renew our own consecration to the Lord. John Paul II wrote an apostolic exhortation on the consecrated life which is good to read (and re-read) at this season.

Bl. Cyprian Michael Tansi
Monday, January 20, 2014 - 07:39

O God, in the priest Blessed Cyprian Michael

you joined the apostolic zeal of a pastor

to the way of life of a monk.

Grant us by his intercession that, persevering in prayer,

we may seek untiringly the coming of your kingdom.

We ask this through our Lord, Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.


Here, at the web site for Mount Saint Bernard Abbey, you can read more about Blessed Cyprian Michael.

From Holy Spirit's Facebook post for January 17
Saturday, January 18, 2014 - 08:35


Take your faith into the desert

Anthony headed out into the desert around the year 270 and spent the rest of his long life there. He soon attracted a following, and the desert monasticism movement was underway, which later influenced the entire monastic movement in the church. The next time you visit a monastic community or walk through an abbey somewhere, reflect on how it all began with someone taking the first step into the unknown wilderness in faith. Are you ready to step out in faith in your own life? Who knows where it might lead you?

To trust God one needs to risk.

January 15: Maur and Placid
Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 08:12

Lord our God,

you have filled us with wonder

by the example of monastic observance

in the lives of blessed Maur and Placid.

As we follow in their footsteps

may we come to share in their reward.

We ask this through our Lord, Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.

Merry Christmas
Wednesday, December 25, 2013 - 09:41

A meditation from Our Lady of the Mississippi, on one of the antiphons we sing at Vespers late in Advent:

O Root of Jesse, you stand as a sign for the peoples; before you kings shall keep silence and to you all nations shall have recourse.  Come, save us, and do not delay.
One of my favorite Mary Oliver poems is one entitled “Can you Imagine?”
“Can You Imagine?”

“For example, what the trees do
not only in lightning storms
or the watery dark of a summer’s night
or under the white nets of winter
but now, and now, and now – whenever
we’re not looking.  Surely you can’t imagine
they don’t dance, from the root up, wishing
to travel a little, not cramped so much as wanting
a better view, or more sun, or just as avidly
more shade – surely you can’t imagine they just
stand there loving every
minute of it, the birds or the emptiness, the dark rings
of the years slowly and without a sound
thickening, and nothing different unless the wind,
and then only in its own mood, comes
to visit, surely you can’t imagine
patience, and happiness, like that.”
I think of it sometimes when we have today’s antiphon, and think how hard it is to imagine that God chose to reveal his salvation in this way – in one man, rooted in one family in one nation. I mean can you imagine?  Surely you can’t imagine he didn’t want to travel a little, not cramped so much as wanting others to have a better view of him, or to tell more people about his Father’s mercy, or to get to someplace where his message would be better received –where he could live a long life healing and teaching.  Surely you can’t imagine that he wanted to pass from this earth leaving nothing behind but a small band of scared followers to spread the good news.      
            God rooted himself by his incarnation.  The all-powerful Word willed to be confined to a place, to a family, to a body.  God chose a particular human life, and a short one at that, and one many today would consider extremely confined (even sheltered)– no great career arc, no great romance, no children, never going beyond the bounds of his provincial little country.  He didn’t experience “everything” as people often say he did – not being a woman, not growing old.  Yet in that one limited life we see the gathering of the whole of human history and the whole of divinity.  This is the mystery.  And in sharing that life, all of human experience somehow is contained in Him.
            Can we imagine that this was his joy? That although he could have picked any number of other ways to manifest himself  in the world, he chose this way because it seemed the most beautiful to him?  That he delighted in how one limited life could open onto eternity?  Even harder, can we imagine that he delights in dwelling in the cramped spaces of our own being, for no matter how much room we make for him, it is not much space for the eternal Word.  That he wants to be rooted in us, that his growth in us might be our own.  That whatever our individual limitations are they don’t take away from his happiness, but are part of it.  That our historical particularities are part of what makes us appealing soil for the Word.  All we have to do is, being rooted in him, stand there loving every minute of it, the birds or the emptiness, the dark rings slowly thickening, and the occasional wind, even when the tree we are rooted to is the cross.  



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