Saint Meinrad Archabbey

A catholic monastery devoted to the teachings of St. Benedict

September 18-24, 2015

The Office of the Dead and funeral Mass for Br. Benedict  took place last Thursday evening and Friday morning. Here are some of my notes from the remembrance and homily.

Br. Maurus, Remembrance of Br. Benedict: Br. Maurus, who supervised Br. Benedict for several years, shared that Br. Benedict was creative, inspiring, helpful, kind and generous. Br. Benedict shared all these gifts with so many people. He was also a genius in many ways.

He saved the Abbey Press bundles of money by repairing many of its machines in unique, creative and efficient ways. He was very shy, but very helpful. He helped people understand the best way to approach a problem. He was a great example of a humble and obedient monk, and he was loving, kind and dependable. His charming smile was present all through his life.

He would write on a typewriter long notes to help improve a situation. He was very close to Br. John Miller, and Br. Maurus shared a letter written by Br. Benedict after Br. John died, which was shared at Br. John's Remembrance. They were close friends, and Br. Benedict shared that friendship can be supportive in community life, especially when it's open to God's grace. Br. Maurus closed the remembrance stating that Br. Benedict was a wonderful example of what it means to seek God in the monastery.

Archabbot Lambert, Homily at funeral Mass of Br. Benedict: (The Gospel for the Mass was the story of Zacchaeus climbing the tree to see Jesus.) Br. Benedict was a lot like the items he produced at the Abbey Press -- quiet, kind and a bit stiff. As Zacchaeus was called down from his tree dwelling, he was called to give a strong example to his fellow tax collectors of what it meant to go the Lord's way.

Zacchaeus learned lots from his tree-top experience, and he moved to conversion as he met Jesus on the ground. Br. Benedict wrote letters convincingly to Abbot Gabriel and his committee around Vatican II to "forcefully, but gently" encourage the monastery to embrace all in the community as "monk" without classification.

Br. Benedict looked forward to winning his eternal crown. The reason he came to the monastery was to seek Christ, and we pray that he now knows the fullness of Christ. Our brother monk, Benedict, and our brother monk he was, he heard God's voice calling him home on Tuesday. By the way, Benedict, when you meet St. Paul, tell him you wrote letters, too.

Fr. Christian was out last weekend on a Saint Meinrad Sunday in a local parish. Our Saint Meinrad Sunday program is a program that has been a place for quite some time, and it is our way of sharing with local parishes about our prayer and work for the Church, particularly our Seminary and School of Theology apostolate.

Ordained monks celebrate Mass and give homilies at local parishes, sharing about our prayer and work. Fr. Christian, in his homily this weekend, shared about the Gospel, our Seminary and School of Theology and tied it in with Br. Benedict's life. Check out that homily and some of his other homilies here.

Fr. Adrian gave a retreat last weekend at the Guest House: "Sleeper Awake."

Fr. Sean served as our Mass Heb this week. Here are some excerpts from his homilies:

Sunday: Fr. Sean looked at God's call in the scripture readings -- particularly the Gospels the last couple weeks. We often think as human beings do and not as God does. Despite our brokenness, God journeys with us to help us think and act as he does. In the Kingdom that Jesus is inaugurating with his life, death and resurrection, he is modeling for us how to think and act as God thinks. Many elements of Jesus' life point to living with humility - a way of living and responding that is important for us to consider.

Monday, Feast of St. Matthew: Matthew was a tax collector and was despised by the people. He might have been seen by some as a traitor. Yet, Jesus said, "Come follow me," and Matthew did. Jesus came to save sinners and not the righteous. Matthew surely served as a good model for others to follow Christ. Jesus calls unique individuals then and now. Matthew's story is our story.

On Wednesday, Abbot Justin convened the community for an Abbot's Conference. The topic surrounded strengths and weaknesses of convenience in monastic life. Ours is a life of vigilance. Cultural conveniences affect our attitudes and judgments. He shared a quote he heard, "A necessity is a luxury you've had twice." When inconvenience works its way into our excuses, convenience has trumped conversion.

One translation of chapter 5 of the Rule of St. Benedict might read it as "unhesitating obedience is convenient to those who prefer nothing to Christ." Convenience can smooth the way. Obedience can and should be convenient. However, when convenience pulls us away from obedience, we are heading down the wrong path -- especially if it's to take the easy way out. He also cited chapter 13. Convenience has a communal dimension to it, and it helps us navigate thorns of contention. Preference for one's own convenience grows thorns rather than trimming them. Our monastic life is God's gift to us, and it is convenient to use it for our true good.

Sister Genevieve Glen, OSB, is a member of the Abbey of St. Walburga in Virgina Dale, Colorado. She will spend Friday and Saturday with us, giving two conferences on monastic liturgy. She will share insight based on some of our community's discussion on our own liturgy, as well as bridging that with the broader Catholic liturgy. We look forward to her presentations.

On Saturday we will also have one of our favored and much-anticipated pizza lunches at the UnStable. Mmm!

In closing, here is some inspiration from Pope Francis from his address to the United States Congress: "It is important that today, as in the past, the voice of faith continue to be heard, for it is a voice of fraternity and love, which tries to bring out the best in each person and in each society." Let us continue praying for God's vision to shine in the Vicar of Jesus Christ, Pope Francis.

Each day the monks of Saint Meinrad Archabbey write another page in the long history of Benedictine monks throughout the world. Here are recent events chronicled at Saint Meinrad.