Saint Meinrad Archabbey

A catholic monastery devoted to the teachings of St. Benedict

February 5-11, 2016

On Sunday, following Mass, we set up Eucharistic Exposition in the Archabbey Church through Vespers. We had half-hour time slots available for two monks to pray and others made their way into the church for this opportunity for prayer with the Blessed Sacrament.

On Saturday we enjoyed our first pizza lunch of the semester at the UnStable. Yum!

Fr. Joseph served as our Mass heb this week. Some excerpts from his homilies:

Sunday: Many people have a God experience where they feel exceptionally close to God: in prayer, at Mass, at a wedding, in other sacraments and even at the death of a loved one. It is important to reflect on how we react to these experiences. Some people grow closer to God and others grow bitter. 

In the Gospel passages, people react in various ways: amazement, fear, surrender, disbelief, anger, etc. Interestingly, demons respond by recognizing Jesus' divinity. Peter, in today's Gospel, reacts by recognizing his sinfulness and fear of Jesus' power. 

When we recognize our sinfulness, we can hear Jesus in our conversion say, "Repent and believe in the Gospel." Hopefully, an experience of God will lead us into the person He wants us to be. Peter saw God and saw himself for who he was. He did not flee, but he was transformed. God invites us to surrender to our inner desire to know Him and to find joy in knowing Him.

Tuesday: In a way, we bury the "A" word until we resurrect it again on Easter Day. St. Benedict does not say much about Lent. He says it is in the joy of holy desire that we look forward to Easter. Our preparations are for new life.

Archabbot Justin presided at Mass on Ash Wednesday, where we turned in our Bona Opera (good works). On a sheet he provides to the monastic community, we submit to the abbot the book we will read for lectio during Lent, as well as the good works we will take up during Lent to grow closer to Christ. The Rule encourages the monk to submit to the abbot these good works for his approval and blessing. The abbot then returns the Bona Opera to each monk with some written encouragement.

We also received ashes at Mass on Wednesday, and some excerpts from Archabbot Justin's homily: God, it seems, wants our hearts in both ways: whole and torn apart. He wants our whole heart and all our love, and He also wants our hearts that are torn apart due to grief from sinning. It is the divide that can save.

We learn from Paul that it's not about what we can do for ourselves but what we can do for God who has saved us. God has healed our hearts and divided them from sin. The Gospel for which we are called to repent encourages us to practice in secret: prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Christ recreates in us a heart pierced by his cross that is made whole and returned to God in his resurrection.

In the afternoon on Wednesday, Archabbot Justin gave an Ash Wednesday conference for the monastic community. We also heard read Chapter 49 of the Rule (On the Observance of Lent) by Fr. Micheas, an annual reading.

Be assured of our prayers for you for a fruitful and focused Lent as you prepare for the joy of Easter. Thank you for your prayers for our community.

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.