Several of us were able to take advantage of the warm weather
this week with bike rides, runs and walks around campus.
Br. Francis wrote two blog posts this week:
Bearing the Flame (On Pentecost)
How to Deal with Difficult People
Some excerpt notes from homilies this week:
Fr. Thomas, Sunday:
Jesus likely anticipated rejection. He told his listeners that
they do not really know him. They say he is the son of Joseph, but
he is the Son of God. The prophets foretold the Messiah's coming
and our imaginations run wild about what the Messiah will be like
and what the kingdom will be like. We find ourselves sometimes
angry with God for unanswered prayers, or maybe we are bored with
God-expecting no miracles.
When we lower our expectations of God, we may be surprised at
what we find. Seeking, longing and desiring are amazing human
gifts. They expand our hearts and growth. If seeking is preferable
to finding, how do we deal with Christ's presence? Although Christ
is coming again, he is already here present in the Eucharist, in
the Word, and in our prayers.
Who can be bored at the Cross? Who can be bored at the God who
wants to save us? This great mystery is not boring. He is the
neverending fulfillment of the neverending promise. When we find
ourselves getting bored or angry with Christ, it is probably an
idol, and it's a good idea to kill it.
Fr. Thomas, Tuesday, Feast of the Presentation (Fr.
Prior Kurt presided):
Jesus: humanity enflamed by divinity. Throughout his life, he
burns with God's glory for a short while. He then departs and
returns again to the temple, where his light shines again. The
light shines so brightly on the Cross that it burns down completely
as a holocaust for the Lord. At the Resurrection, the light
reignites with a perpetual flame. We can be like these candles we
held in church today. We can be bright and glorious and, other
times, we can be unlit and cold, waiting for the next flame. If we
wish, we can be all flame.
Fr. Thomas, Wednesday, Feast of St.
Our tradition on the feast of St. Blaise points to the kind of God
we worship and that miracles may be more frequent than we see.
Jesus is amazed at the lack of faith in his fellow townsmen in
today's Gospel. Would he be amazed at our lack of faith today? God
not only changes hearts, he can change matter, too. Behold the
Eucharist today. It is a miracle day in and day out where the
matter is changed, not just our minds. This kind of faith amazes
Fr. Thomas, Thursday:
In planning a trip, we immediately anticipate what we might need
on our journey-coat, laptop, books, etc. When God invites us on a
journey, we leave behind our expectations and imaginations in order
to live in the present moment. It's good to reflect on what we can
leave behind as we approach Ash Wednesday and Lent.
Fr. Adrian, Friday, Feast of St. Agatha:
Many in the early Church, like St. Agatha and John the Baptist,
show for us what it means to live and die for love-that is, the
Gospel. Our innermost self is attracted to the Gospel. Herod is
attracted to the Gospel in John the Baptist's preaching. Herod
is also like us and we are like him; he is deluded in his
power. We have our own thrones and inflated sense of self. We must
turn to our inmost self to listen to the Truth and lay down our
lives for the sake of others out of love. When we lay down the
false self, we find the truth that sets us free.
The junior monks, in their weekly conference this week, were
encouraged to do four things:
with one another (Sometimes difficult in a men's
one another in our roles, prayer and assignments
a gentle and creative manner, give peer correction
At table, we are reading Learning to Walk in the
Darkness by Barbara Taylor Brown.
Several monks are helping with different sessions and
conversation with the Board of Overseers meetings this weekend.
Finally, this weekend, we are looking forward to our first
UnStable visit for the semester. Bring on the camaraderie and
As we approach Lent, here is what St. Benedict has to say in
Chapter 49 of the Rule: On the Observance of Lent (from www.osb.org).
Although the life of a monk ought to have about it at all
times the character of a Lenten observance, yet since few
have the virtue for that, we therefore urge that during the
actual days of Lent the brethren keep their lives most
pure and at the same time wash away during these holy
days all the negligences of other times.
And this will be worthily done if we restrain ourselves
from all vices and give ourselves up to prayer with
tears, to reading, to compunction of heart and to
During these days, therefore, let us increase somewhat the
usual burden of our service, as by private prayers and by
abstinence in food and drink. Thus everyone of his own will
may offer God "with joy of the Holy Spirit" (1 Thess.
1:6) something above the measure required of him.
From his body, that is he may withhold some food, drink,
sleep, talking and jesting; and with the joy of spiritual
desire he may look forward to holy Easter.
Let each one, however, suggest to his Abbot what it is that
he wants to offer, and let it be done with his blessing and
approval. For anything done without the permission of the
spiritual father will be imputed to presumption and
vainglory and will merit no reward. Therefore let
everything be done with the Abbot's approval.