Sunday, 28 February 2010

Mount Tabor

  • At the memory of the Transfiguration today, I asked Fr. Raymond of his visit to Mount Tabor. He recalled that as the Pilgrims from Edinburgh (2006) arrived at the top of the Mount of Tabor they were amused to see a large group of young soldiers sprawled on the ground. They were exhausted from the military exercise of walking/running the height of the Mountain.

  • A FMM Sister remembers that she had the benefit of spending a week's Retreat at the Carmelite Convent on Mount Tabor.

  • Listening to the Gospel of the Transfiguration may prompt less exalted reminiscences. 2003, I kept a Journal on the Holy Places. After we desended from Tabor my Journal was missing. The people on the coach were full of concern and they were kind enough to have me taxied back up Tabor. By good fortune, the missing book was found in the Carmelite Shop.
  • 2004. Two brothers, N & D, in front of Basilica.

  • In the Crytpt are represented the symbols of the Transfiguration of Christ: in his birth, in the Eucharist, in his Deat and Resurrection.


Gospel: Luke 9:28b-36 Year C

Jesus took with him Peter and John and James and went up the mountain to pray. As he prayed, the aspect of his face was changed and his clothing became brilliant as lightning. Suddenly there were two men there talking to him; they were Moses and Elijah appearing in glory, and they were speaking of his passing which he was to accomplish in Jerusalem .

Peter and his companions were heavy with sleep, but they kept awake and saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As these were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is wonderful for us to be here; so let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah." - He did not know what he was saying. As he spoke, a cloud came and covered them with shadow; and when they went into the cloud the disciples were afraid. And a voice came from the cloud saying, "This is my Son, the Chosen One. Listen to him." And after the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. The disciples kept silence and, at that time, told no one what they had seen.

From a homily by Saint Cyril of Alexandria
(Hom. 9 in transfiguratione Domini: PG 77, 1011-1014)

This sermon is one of a series of homilies on Saint Luke's gospel. Of the original Greek only three sermons and some fragments remain. In this extract Cyril develops Luke's teaching that suffering is the way to glory. Moses and Elijah are witnesses to the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy concerning Jesus.

With three chosen disciples Jesus went up the mountain. Then he was transfigured by a wonderful light that made even his clothes seem to shine. Moses and Elijah stood by him and spoke with him of how he was going to complete his task on earth by dying in Jerusalem . In other words, they spoke of the mystery of his incarnation, and of his saving passion upon the cross. For the law of Moses and the teaching of the holy prophets clearly foreshadowed the mystery of Christ. The law portrayed it by types and symbols inscribed on tablets. The prophets in many ways foretold that in his own time he would appear, clothed in human nature, and that for the salvation of all our race he would not refuse to suffer death upon the cross.

The presence of Moses and Elijah, and their speaking together, was meant to show unmistakably that the law and the prophets were the attendants of our Lord Jesus Christ. He was their master, whom they had themselves pointed out in advance in prophetic words that proved their perfect harmony with one another. The message of the prophets was in no way at variance with the precepts of the law.

Moses and Elijah did not simply appear in silence; they spoke of how Jesus was to complete his task by dying in Jerusalem , they spoke of his passion and cross, and of the resurrection that would follow. Thinking no doubt that the time for the kingdom of God had already come; Peter would gladly have remained on the mountain. He suggested putting up three tents, hardly knowing what he was saying. But it was not yet time for the end of the world; nor was it in this present time that the hopes of the saints would be fulfilled-those hopes founded on Paul's promise that Christ would transform our lowly bodies into the likeness of his glorious body.

Only the initial stage of the divine plan had as yet been accomplished.

Until its completion was it likely that Christ, who came on earth for love of the world, would give up his wish to die for it? For his submitting to death was the world's salvation, and his resurrection was death's destruction.

As well as the vision of Christ's glory, wonderful beyond all description, something else occurred which was to serve as a vital confirmation, not only of the disciple’s faith, but of ours as well. From a cloud on high came the voice of God the Father saying: This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Listen to him.

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Lord's Prayer Comment


----- Forwarded Message ----
From: William . . .
To: Fr Donald . . .
Sent: Wed, February 24, 2010 7:24:27 PM
Subject: Re: [Blog] Tuesday's Gospel

Dear Father Donald,
I love the sensitive commentary of Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross [St. Edith Stein] on The Lord's Prayer.

I would like to share with you extracts from the [1,380 word] commentary in the 'Christian Community Bible' (Claretian Publications, St Pauls - Philippines). I enjoy the delightful simplicity and directness of the commentary that runs alongside the text:

In Matthew’s text there are twelve verses expressing seven petitions: two perfect numbers: three (God’s number) that refers to God, four (earth’s number) that refers to our needs... Holy be your name! The Father only wants to seal us with his Name so that we will be united with him, like the Father and the Son united by the Holy Spirit... In the language spoken by Jesus, the key word is come: Your Kingdom come. With the coming of Jesus, that Kingdom has come near to us. The believers now perceive him not as a God who imposes obligations, but recognize him in the gift of his Son, in the humiliation of the Son and in their mutual love... On earth as in heaven. It reminds us that everything in this world that is created and subject to time depends on another, uncreated world, where time does not exist and which is nothing less than the mystery of God. There the Father sees the universe unified in Christ and his will fulfilled and glorified by all... What should we say? The bread “we need” or our “daily” bread or sustenance? The original text uses a difficult word that has different meanings. Many have understood that the children of God feel the need of much more than what is asked for the body, and that the eucharist was already meant as it is in the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves... When we forgive someone who asks for forgiveness, we free ourselves from some rancor or hatred that is poisoning us. Inasmuch as we stick to our rights, we hold fast to this world. God wants to forgive us and bring us closer to him, but how can he if we remain anchored to the things of this world?.. We will be more prudent if we know that the enemy is not simply evil, but the evil one. Somebody stronger than ourselves is watching to deceive us, to make us lose faith and fall, as soon as we feel sure of ourselves and abandon the means given by Jesus for perseverance in the faith and in the Church.

Rather more mystical and affective are the readings (laid out in the Divine Office, Vol 3, Office of Readings, Week 11) from the treatise of St. Cyprian 'On the Lord's Prayer'. On Tuesday, I had thought this series of readings was beginning, for the reading was from the early chapter of this treatise.. but it was only the introduction that was appointed for the day, to correspond with the Gospel passage! So I contented myself with other commentaries until your Blog posting showed that exquisite reflection of St. Edith Stein.
Thank you for all the delights you discover to us!
. . .
+ + +
Thank you, William.
The Eucharistic wonders go on with the unfolding by the Saints and the grace of the Holy Spirit.
Quite unending as more light shines . . .

Meister Eckhart, On the Lord's Prayer

English Translation and Commentary

Tuesday, February 16, 2010 - This is very much work in progress - so please feel free to comment, suggest corrections asf.

International Association of Lay Cistercian Communities


About us

Cistercian Oblate
Gabriele Franziska Heitfeld-Panther

The „Weggemeinschaft St. Benedikt“ is an open Christian community:
People of different origin seeking God in connection with the Cistercian monastery Zisterzienserkloster Langwaden.
In 2002 the community was inititated by Gabriele Franziska Heitfeld-Panther (Cistercian oblate). We hold regular meetings.
Monthly day retreats and two weekend retreats a year give us the opportunity to get to know the Cistercian spirituality and to let it bear fruit in our everyday life.
The aim of each meeting is to be on our way with Christ, praying, learning more about our faith and trying to become familiar with the Rule of St.
Benedict and Cistercian roots. Celebrating the eucharist marks the centre of each meeting. The membership is open, there is no promise.
The community is supported by monks of the Zisterzienserkloster Langwaden, as well as by other monersteries and by several extern priests.
Since spring 2007 Father Heribert Weinbrenner,Cistercian Secular Oblate, has been supporting the community as spiritual advisor.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Forty Days of Lent

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: Gabriele . . .
To: Donald Nunraw . . .
Sent: Wed, February 24, 2010 12:35:15 PM
Subject: Lent Meditation

Thank you, Gabriele.
It was good of you to use the Nunraw Cloister Station scene with your Lent Meditation:
"The forty days of Lent can be a fruitful time, when we look at ourselves, our everyday lives, and when we accept, in places where we may be challenged, to go with this Jesus and bear his cross however short the distance may be".

Wishing you St. Benedict's blessing of the joy of the Holy Spirit of Lent.

Meditation: February / March 2010

And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene , who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus. (Luke 23:26)

How do I cope with situations like that in everyday life, when the usual routine is „crossed“ and when my plans are being thwarted? A sudden illness makes it impossible to go on holiday. Or, the partner has changed so much that everyday life can hardly go on because of his or her psychological problems? - But we also have to look at the small things in everyday life: someone is looking for help while you are having your break. How often do we think that whatever has just been put in our way, we want to get rid of it.

The forty days of Lent can be a fruitful time, when we look at ourselves, our everyday lives, and when we accept, in places where we may be challenged, to go with this Jesus and bear his cross however short the distance may be.

The piece of art shown above also brings into mind the words of the Holy Scriptures: „If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.“ (Matthew 5,41) That makes the matter even more radical: it means, not only to keep walking when you are convinced, it is doing you some good; much more, you are asked to keep going when it seems absurd and hardly bearable to share the next step with a certain person or to proceed in a particular matter, when you cannot expect anything or even have to fear scorn and derision.

The love Jesus is talking about is radical, indeed. What do I do with my colleague who is an alcoholic and gets on my nerves and leaves the work to me? What do I do with a student who is acting up all the time disturbing the schedule? What do I do with a good friend who has disappointed me because I know he acted in a very unethical way? You know someone has acted against you, you know it was defamation, yet, you are asked to stay polite, forgive, love, even bless?

Often it may hurt to walk the second mile; yet, this second mile is often the place where evangelization takes place, without words, „just“ acting. It is the chance to let the love of Christ become alive among people. Walking the way of patience transforms.

This Simon was a plain man, who was on his way back from the field. Thus he can be an image of how holiness can be achieved in everyday life. Following Jesus, helping him bear the cross, begins in the simple things and in moments, when we, although it may hurt, do not give up hope.

As long as we are living on earth we are again and again invited to join Jesus on his path, the path we joined through baptism. Lent is also the time to fasten our steps on the path of communio with our fellow men, to firmly orientate our tasks and decisions in this world towards Jesus, to strive for deeper decisiveness, for a stronger Christian orientation and to find strength.

Photo: Sancta Maria Abbey, Nunraw / Scotland , Stations of the Cross

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Lent Tuesday First Week

Seven Petitions in the Lord’s Prayer

Tues 23 Feb 2009

Opening Comment was on the 7 petitions in the Lord’s Prayer, as in the Gospel and as in the Mass pre-Communion.

. . . Mat 6:12-13 And forgive us our debts, As we also have forgiven our debtors; And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil.

The following prayer answers closely to the Petitions, “Deliver us, Lord, from ever evil, and grant us peace. . .”

It strikes the chord expressing the Eucharistic significance of the Lord’s Prayer. The words from St. Benedicta of the Cross, (EdithStein), reflects the sensitivity of a priest preparing the Communion.


dailygospel org
«Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.» John 6,68

23 February 2010 Tuesday of the First week of Lent

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 6:7-15.

This is how you are to pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and do not subject us to the final test, but deliver us from the evil one. If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.

Commentary of the day :

Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross [Edith Stein] (1891-1942), Carmelite, martyr, co-patron of Europe

The Our Father and the Eucharist

All that we need to be received into the communion of saints is summed up in the seven petitions of the Our Father, which the Lord did not pray in his own name, but to instruct

us. We say it before communion, and when we say it sincerely and from our hearts and receive communion in the proper spirit, it fulfills all our petitions.

Communion delivers us from evil, because it cleanses us of sin and gives us peace of heart that takes away the sting of all other "evils." It brings us the forgiveness of past sins and strengthens us in the face of temptations. It is itself the bread of life that we need daily to grow into eternal life. It makes our will into an instrument at God's disposal. Thereby it lays the foundation for the kingdom of God in us and gives us clean lips and a pure heart to glorify God's holy name.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Lenten Reading comment

Lenten Reading Comment
----- Forwarded Message ----
From: William
Sent: Fri, February 19, 2010 7:45:11 PM
Subject: Re: [Blog] Lenten reading

I am very interested to read of the Lenten book - being for you a 'return' retreat of Dom Eugene Boylan, for you will have witnessed the 1961 visit and remember him. The extract on your Blog, of his "Confidence in God" speaks very directly..."what Christ meant to say to His Father is to be found in the message of His whole life"... "Our Lord's share in the partnership is specifically designed to fill in all our shortcomings".

My Lenten book came as a complete surprise. . . .friend knew of my interest in Thomas Merton, and he discovered a newly published book via Amazon. It is written by Christopher Pramuk, and is entitled "Sophia - The hidden Christ of Thomas Merton". It links so many strands of recent paths I have followed (which came from leads in Merton's writing), and explores so many of his journal entries. . . .
Thank you for all that you share with me.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Eugene Boylan Cistercian

Lent Reading - Partnership With Christ by Abbot Eugene Boylan

The RSB Lenten Book for the Reading Observance

One of the favourite observances for Lent is the St. Benedict prescribed distribution of the Book to each monk.

Maybe there can be a Hobson Choice on Dom Eugene Boylan’s “Partnership with Christ – Cistercian Retreat or NOT Cistercian Retreat”.

There are in fact two versions of Dom Eugene’s Book.

The original was published by Mercier, Cork, 1964.

In 2009 Cistercian Publications has published the same title with the sub-title ‘Cistercian Retreat’.

If a monk would like to select Eugene’s “Partnership with Christ” for his monastic reading at Lent, he will find a fascinating lectio of compare-and-contrast interest, - 125 pages in the 1964 neat volume and the 216 pages of the Cistercian Retread.

Dom Eugene made his first visit to Nunraw Abbey 1940’s to conduct the Annual Retreat of the monks. Part of the myths of Eugene’s story was about his long walks and he set a unique kind of record to break the monastic enclosure. He made the hill-walk to the summit of the three mile away Traprain Law about three miles away from Nunraw. The word extended regarding his swimming prowess for which he discovered the reservoir in the upper slopes of the abbey.

He was to return to Nunraw in 1961 for the encore of his Retreat, i.e., after a number years conducting Retreats in countless monasteries in Europe, Australia and US.

Very soon he was elected as Abbot at Roscrea 1962. Tragically, within seventeen months, he died following a severe car accident.

Partnership with Christ
A Cistercian Retreat
Edited by Chaminade Crabtree OCSO; Introduction by Nivard Kinsella OCSO
"This is the best retreat we ever had at Gethsemani," commented Thomas Merton of the talks reproduced in this volume. Recorded in 1958 at Holy Spirit Abbey in Conyers, Georgia, transcribed, and now printed, Dom Eugene's meditations include stories of...
ISBN: 978-0-87907-016-8

Partnership with Christ (Boylan 1964)
‘Confidence in God’ pp.46-47.

The one great sacrifice - that of which all others are but faint and imperfect shadows - is the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. It was by this sacrifice that Christ redeemed the world. By it He gave His Father perfect worship, perfect praise, perfect thanksgiving, perfect reparation for all sins and obtained for all of us all necessary graces.

That same sacrifice is made available for us at each Mass. St. Thomas summed up the essential nature of the Mass when he described it as the perfect sacrament of the Lord's Passion. To understand this, we must first consider the meaning of the word 'sacrament.' A sacrament is a sign which not only signifies something, but in some way produces or effects what it signifies. It owes its power to do so to its institution by Our Lord. In the sacrament of Baptism, the sign includes both the act of washing and the saying of the words which define the meaning of the washing. The whole rite signifies washing from original sin, and actually does liberate the person baptized from all sin. It has other effects which we pass over here.

Christ offers Himself to God His Father on every altar where Mass is said.

This adds a new significance to our assistance at Mass, for the sacrifice we therein offer now means what Christ meant by it. And what Christ meant to say to His Father is to be found in the message of His whole life. Therefore, our assistance at Mass commits us to an imitation of Christ, into living by the same principles and for the same purpose as He did. The fact is underlined by the teaching of Pius XII when he tells us in his encyclical on the Mystical Body that on the Cross Christ not only offered Himself, but also each one of us, His members, whom He carries most lovingly in His Heart: If this is true of the Cross, it is also true of the Mass. At each Mass Our Lord is offering up to His Father each one of us with every single one of our good deeds. It only remains for us to con­firm His offering.

Here is found the whole program for the spiritual life of the Catholic. To carry out this program without Christ's help would be impossible. But the very transubstantiation by which He presents us with His Sacrifice is also used by Him to give Himself to us to be our permanent Partner in carrying out our joint offering of ourselves to God. We have already suggested that one part of this program consists in the complete acceptance of ourselves as we are. This becomes easier to accept when we remember that Our Lord's share in the partnership is specifically designed to fill in all our shortcomings.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Lent Reflection

Lent Reflection

Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund
(paste in,

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: Anne Marie . . .
Wed, February 17, 2010 8:33:58 PM
Subject: Video

If you go on to the SCIAF website- then the Youth part of the site you will see a link on the right for Videos
Click on the link for video and then choose the very first video- Lent Reflection.

Happy Lent- I am still struggling to find something useful to do for Lent, so I am waiting on a sign..............Hope it comes.
Anne Marie [Photo above]

Lent Reflection
A thought-provoking resource for use in classrooms and during prayer services and assemblies.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Cistercians HK

Courtesy of
Catholic News Asia Daily
cathnewsasis com
Hong Kong Cistercians (Trappists)
New monks double the number of HK Trappists

New monks double the number of HK Trappists thumbnail

Published Date February 8, 2010
Hong Kong’s “Our Lady of Joy” monastery has doubled the number of its monks following the perpetual vows of two new Trappists on January 30.

There was immense joy at the ceremony, not only because after so many years the monastery which had only two elderly monks has two new vocations, but also because their religious profession was held during the Diocesan Year for Priestly Vocations, Fides reports.

As Abbot Anastasius Li Sun affirmed, before hundreds of participants in the ritual: “I hope that everyone will especially remember vocations for the diocese, religious institutes, and the monastery.”

According to reports from the Hong Kong diocese Chinese bulletin, the two monks, who visibly moved, took their vows before the congregation, firmly reiterating their commitment to devote themselves to the contemplative life “by observing silence, prayer, work, and a life of holiness.”

The Abbey of Our Lady of Joy in Hong Kong is highly regarded and respected on the island and also on the continent.

The 16 original monks built their own beautiful monastery on the mountain that was once the most remote desert island, a gift from the Hong Kong government to the monks when they fled from the mainland in 1950, taking with them no more than the tunics they were wearing.

The Trappist-Cistercians, founded at Citeaux in 1098, arrived in China’s He Bei Province in 1883 and founded the “Our Lady of Consolation Abbey,” who was the first Cistercian monastery in Asia. In 1928 they founded another, “Our Lady of Joy Abbey,” also in He Bei.

The order was dissolved by force in July 1947 and the monastery was destroyed in August of that year. But the monks did not give up, and in 1947 they moved to the city of Cheng Du, in the Province of Si Chuan, and then to Hong Kong in 1950, with the 16 remaining monks who rebuilt the Our Lady of Joy Abbey.

In 1986, they opened the monastery of “The Holy Mother of God in Nan Tou, Taiwan. Today, living in the monastery in Hong Kong are 17 monks: 9 priests and 8 brothers.


Trappists in Hong Kong celebrate long-awaited perpetual vows of two monks (Fides)


Trappist Haven Monastery (Wikipedia)

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Saint Scholastica Feb 10


Born in Nursia (Nurcia), Italy, c. 480 (?); died near Monte Cassino, Italy, c. 543.
Almost everything we know about Saint Scholastica comes from the Dialogues of
Saint Gregory the Great.

Saint Scholastica, twin sister of Saint Benedict of Nursia who founded of the
Benedictine order, was consecrated to God at a very early age but probably
continued to live in her parents' home. It is said that she was as devoted to Jesus
as she was to her brother. So, when Benedict established his monastery at Monte
Cassino, Scholastica founded a convent in nearby Plombariola, about five miles
south of Monte Cassino. The convent is said to have been under the direction of
her brother, thus she is regarded as the first Benedictine nun.

The siblings were quite close. The respective rules of their houses proscribed either
entering the other's monastery. According to Saint Gregory, they met once a year
at a house near Monte Cassino monastery to confer on spiritual matters, and were
eventually buried together, probably in the same grave. Saint Gregory says, "so
death did not separate the bodies of these two, whose minds had ever been united
in the Lord."

Saint Gregory tells the charming story of the last meeting of the two saints on
earth. Scholastica and Benedict had spent the day in the "mutual comfort of
heavenly talk" and with nightfall approaching, Benedict prepared to leave.
Scholastica, having a presentiment that it would be their last opportunity to see
each other alive, asked him to spend the evening in conversation. Benedict sternly
refused because he did not wish to break his own rule by spending a night away
from Monte Cassino. Thereupon, Scholastica cried openly, laid her head upon the
table, and prayed that God would intercede for her. As she did so, a sudden storm
arose. The violent rain and hail came in such a torrential downpour that Benedict
and his companions were unable to depart.

"May Almighty God forgive you, sister" said Benedict, "for what you have done."

"I asked a favor of you," Scholastica replied simply, "and you refused it. I asked it
of God, and He has granted it!"

Just after his return to Monte Cassino, Benedict saw a vision of Scholastica's soul
departing her body, ascending to heaven in the form of a dove. She died three
days after their last meeting. He placed her body in the tomb he had prepared for
himself, and arranged for his own to be placed there after his death. Her relics
were alleged by the monk Adrevald to have been translated (July 11) to a rich
silver shrine in Saint Peter's Church in Le Mans, France, which may have been
when Benedict's were moved to Fleury. In 1562, this shrine was preserved from
the Huguenots' plundering.

Some say that we should only petition God for momentously important matters.
God's love, however, is so great that we wishes to give us every good thing. He is
ever ready to hear our prayers: our prayers of praise and thanksgiving, and our
prayers of petition, repentance, and intercession. Nothing is too great or too trivial
to share with our Father. The dependent soul learns that everything we are and
have is from His bountiful goodness; when we finally learn that lesson we turn to
Him with all our hopes and dreams and needs. Saint Scholastica is obviously one
of those who learned the lesson of her own helplessness (Attwater, Benedictines,
Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Husenbeth, Walsh, White).

Saint Scholastica is usually depicted in art as a habited nun, holding a crozier and
crucifix, with her brother. Sometimes she may be shown (1) with Saint Justina of
Padua, with whom she is confused though Justina was never a nun; (2) receiving
her veil from Saint Benedict; (3) her soul departing her body like a dove; (4) with a
dove at her feet or bosom; or kneeling before Saint Benedict's cell (Roeder,

She is the patroness of Monte Cassino and all Cassinese communities (Roeder).
She is invoked against storms (White).

saintbenedict org/ stscholastic htm

Monday, 8 February 2010

Munkeby Founders

Munkeby Mariakloster.

A letter from Brother Joel

Feast of our Holy Founding Fathers Robert, Alberic and Stephen at Munkeby.

It is a new experience for us to celebrate the feast of our Founding Fathers so far from Citeaux. Over the years, while we were living in the place of the original foundation, we were able to evoke their memory and sometimes even sense their palpable presence. At Munkeby we sometimes feel exiled, far from our holy fonders and far from Citeaux, the name that resonates in a special way among those who feel themselves Cistercian.

But looking at it more closely we have a particular affinity with our Founding Fathers. In the beginning, before the name of Citeaux was in common use, one spoke about the New Monastery. And, small as we are
we are only a pre-foundation we are also a new monastery. Although our present living quarters are going to be the guesthouse later, we pray in the oratory there, meditate on the Word in our scriptorium, and work in our cheese factory, just like in a monastery. Another affinity is that we also are founders, although on a small scale, and that the work of God, which is in its early beginning here, is blessed, just as the work of our Founding Fathers was blessed.

But these are external factors: how do we relive the experience of our Founding Fathers in a particular way? We are in a period of gestation, that strange time when the future is unknown; we believe in the future and the promise, but do not yet know how things will be: we are in the desert. That period was long and difficult for our Fathers in Citeaux, until the explosion-expansion period that followed the arrival of Saint Bernard and his friends. That rough period meant abandonment, detachment and poverty. We know how much our Fathers sought poverty, and how they were able to connect the poverty of their history with that of Christ. Of course, we do not live in material insecurity, but still, at certain moments, since there are only four of us here, we feel that we must tackle a lot of different situations, find good solutions, make sure that we do not go astray. That is when the Rule (of Saint Benedict) becomes a guide for us, as it was for our Fathers who wanted to restore it in its integrity; there is need of a leap of confidence and trust in God, just as it was for the Israelites in the desert. And it is true that quite often answers are found, help is given, and it leaves us amazed.

May we be able to walk in the footsteps of Robert, Alberic and Stephen, since we have been called to revive something of their appeal

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Miraculous Catch


The Mass Opening Comment was on the start of Catholic Education Week when we thank God’s gift of education and for the many teachings who have inspired us through our lives.

In the Gospel, Luke 5: 1-11, we will hear of the Miraculous Catch and the Calling of the First Disciples. In the encounter with Simon we hear Jesus says, “Do not be afraid, henceforth you will be catching men”.

The words are a metaphor or inspiration for us in the ‘fishing’ or the calling for teaching.

Earlier we heard in the Night Office the commentary of Saint Augustine of the “fisherman” Peter.

From a sermon by Saint Augustine
(Sermo 43, 5-6: PL 38, 256-257)

Our Lord's choice of Peter, an uneducated fisherman, may seem surprising but it was the only way to insure that the spread of the gospel would not be attributed to human eloquence or power but only to divine grace.

While he was on the mountain with Christ the Lord in company with the two other disciples James and John, the blessed apostle Peter heard a voice from heaven saying: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to him. The apostle remembered this and made it known in his letter. We heard a voice coming from heaven, he said, when we were with him on the holy mountain; and he added: so we have confirmation of what was prophesied. A voice came from heaven, and prophecy was confirmed.

How great was Christ's courtesy! This Peter who spoke these words was once a fisherman, and in our day a public speaker deserves high praise if he is able to converse with a fisherman! Addressing the first Christians the apostle Paul says: Brothers and sisters, remember what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise according to human standards; not many of you were influential or of noble birth. But God chose what the world regards as weak in order to disconcert the strong; God chose what the world regards as foolish in order to abash the wise; God chose what the world regards as common and contemptible, of no account whatever, in order to overthrow the existing order.

If Christ had first chosen a man skilled in public speaking, such a man might well have said: "I have been chosen on account of my eloquence:" If he had chosen a senator, the senator might have said: "I have been chosen because of my rank" If his first choice had been an emperor, the emperor surely might have said: "I have been chosen for the sake of the power I have at my disposal." Let these worthies keep quiet and defer to others; let them hold their peace for a while. I am not saying they should be passed over or despised; I am simply asking all those who can find any grounds for pride in what they are to give way to others just a little.

Christ says: Give me this fisherman, this man without education or experience, this man to whom no senator would deign to speak, not even if he were buying fish. Yes, give me him; once I have taken possession of him, it will be obvious that it is I who am at work in him. Although I mean to include senators, orators, and emperors among my recruits, even when I have won over the senator I shall still be surer of the fisherman The senator can always take pride in what he is; so can the orator and the emperor, but the fisherman can glory in nothing except Christ alone. Any of these other men may come and take lessons from me in the importance of humility for salvation, but let the fisherman come first. He is the best person to win over an emperor.

Remember this fisherman, then, this holy, just, good, Christ-filled fisherman. In his nets cast throughout the world he has the task of catching this nation as well as all the others. So remember that claim of his life. We have confirmation of what was prophesied.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Saint Bridget (2)

See previous Post: MONDAY, 1 FEBRUARY 2010

Lumen Christi - Roscrea Abbey
www msjroscrea ie light from the monastery html
Your February 2010 Light from the Monastery

Window of St Bridget.

The window shows Bridget as founder, holding her Church (Cill) in her hand. Growing beside her is the famed oak (dara) with its acorns, from which we have the name Cilldara, Kildare. Fable tells us that the king assented to her request for ground for her monastery, just as far as her mantle would cover.

When the mantle was spread it covered the entire Curragh! In the window we see beside her foot the perpetual fire – of our faith, lit by Saint Patrick on the hill of Slane, and still burning away in each of our hearts. The sanctuary lamp in our Churches keeps it alive today, perpetually glowing to the honour of God.

Fr. Laurence