Wednesday, August 31, 2011

His Body

Your hand holds up the world
and the universe rests in your love.
Your life-giving body is the heart of your Church;
your sacred blood protects the Bride.

Supplication to God by Cyrillonas, Syrian, 4th century.

Corpus from a Crucifix
Italian, Doccia, ca. 1745-50
Hard paste porcelain, h. 25 3/8" (67 cm)
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Used with permission.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Liturgy

Liturgy is our life and our joy. Seven times a day we gather to pray the Hours. And for the celebration of the Eucharist on solemnities there is much preparation. All we do is worth our effort. It is our business to spend our time and energy in the work of praise.

The spiritual character of the community is especially evident in the celebration of the liturgy. The liturgy strengthens and increases both the inner sense of the monastic vocation and communion among the brothers. Each day in the liturgy God's Word is heard. A sacrifice of praise is offered to God the Father, there is a sharing in the mystery of Christ and the Holy Spirit's work of sanctification is accomplished. The changing seasons of the liturgical year have great power to nourish and enrich the contemplative life of the brothers.

from the Constitutions

Friday, August 19, 2011

Servant & Master

Jesus tells us in the Gospel that he has come to serve not to be served. Part of our work as disciples is always to allow Christ Jesus near enough to care for us, heal us, forgive us and console us. With this in mind, it seems, our Cistercian Father Blessed Guerric of Igny puts the following words on Jesus' lips:

I will serve you," his Creator says to man. "You sit down, I will minister, I will wash your feet. You rest; I will bear your weariness, your infirmities. Use me you as you like in all your needs, not only as your servant but also as your beast of burden and as your property. If you are tired or burdened I will carry both you and your burden..."

Detail of The Descent from the Cross by Rogier Van der Weyden, c. 1435. Text from The First Sermon for Palm Sunday, Blessed Guerric of Igny.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Brother Stephen

On this past Sunday, August 14 in the Abbey chapterhouse our Brother Stephen made his Simple Profession, pronouncing simple vows for a period of three years.

Brother Stephen reads his handwritten copy of the vows.

Dom Damian removes the novice's cloth belt and scapular.

Dom Damian clothes Stephen in the black scapular and leather belt of the Professed.

Brother Stephen kneels before the Abbot as he blesses him.

The brethren come forward to embrace the newly professed.

A photo of those who are in formation with their directors. From left to right: Brother Joseph; Fr. James, Dean of the Simply Professed; Peter Lynch, an observer; Brother Simeon, Submaster of Novices; Doug Enzor, an observer; Brother Stephen; Brothers John and Timothy, Father Paulinus and Father Luke, Novicemaster.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Our Lady's Assumption

Today we rejoice as we celebrate the titular feast of our Order. This morning we processed through the cloisters chanting to Mary and venerating her icon pictured above. We love Mary and seek her love and protection always.

Blessed is she: within the bounds of her body was contained the Boundless One who fills the heavens, which cannot contain him.
Blessed is she: she has born the mighty giant who sustains the world, she has embraced him and covered him with kisses.
Blessed is she: for to her Son the saints owe all their happiness.

Icon of our Lady written by Brother Terence. Lines by James of Sarug.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Late summer

At this point in August, we always notice a distinct change in the weather. Nights are cooler and the intense heat of summer seems to have passed. Flocks of crows invade the orchard behind the Abbey church to peck at fallen apples. And already some plants are drying and yellowing. The lore passed down by generations of the monks is that after Our Lady's feastday on August 15th the summer is really over.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Cottage

The stone Cottage at the Abbey provides accomodations for our candidates as well as special guests of the Abbot. Built in about 1929 with stones from the walls bordering the Alta Crest Farms property, it was a honeymoon cottage for the son of the dairy farmer and his new wife. As the monks adapted the farm buildings for monastic purposes in 1950, the cottage became the first abbatial dwelling. By the 1970's it was used to house vocational candidates.