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.

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