Saint Meinrad Archabbey

A catholic monastery devoted to the teachings of St. Benedict

January 1-7, 2016

Did you see Br. Francis' Christmas and New Year blog?:

I also meant to mention a neat story from Christmas time: Several novices and juniors signed Christmas cards for monks in our infirmary. Br. André dressed up as Santa Claus. We all got a kick out of visiting each monk in the infirmary and delivering the cards. Fr. Augustine was about ready to nap, and he said, "Golly, now I don't know if I can fall asleep!" He and the others had an enjoyable time when we stopped in.

The juniors and novices went on a movie and lunch outing to Jasper on Saturday. Many saw the new Star Wars movie.

Last Friday we celebrated the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. Fr. Prior Kurt was the principal celebrant. In his homily he shared: Monks and Christians start a new year differently. Bishop St. Augustine told his parishioners about the new year: Let pagans give gifts and you should give alms, let them rush to the theater and you should remain in prayer, let them get drunk and you should fast.

For us, this first day of the year is given to something else -- rather this day is given to someone else: Mary the Mother of God and Mother of us all. We Christians do it differently. We don't celebrate a New Year so much as we celebrate the woman through whom the bringer of our salvation was born. As the infant Jesus took his first breath, Mary gave our redeemer to the world. And as Jesus took his last breath on the Cross, He gave us our Mother. We can ask Mary to pray for us now and throughout the days ahead.

On Sunday, Abbot Justin presided for the Epiphany and preached: Somewhere along the way, faith must move us beyond what we grew up knowing as the Christmas story. Today's story of the Magi foreshadows other epiphanies to follow. The feeding of the 5,000, the Transfiguration on Mt. Tabor, the Cross. All these epiphanies are rooted in one story: political strife.

The Magi's question about where to find the newborn king of the Jews struck fear in Herod, who was not ready to give up the throne as king of the Jews. The Magi's story can help us face troubles we experience every day. In searching for answers, we can look in the wrong places. Our current political climate is heated where some see immigrants as a threat. The magi teach us to follow the light -- they looked to the star for guidance and left behind the dominance of political power found in Herod.

Sometimes we grow discouraged in our search for God. However, it is God who reveals. God's wisdom helps us look beyond empty promises to see the deeper design of things. The wisdom of the crucified is the prism through which all is to be viewed. We breathe most deeply of God's divinity and power through the brokenness of Christ crucified.

We enjoyed colloquium (talking) at our midday meals on Friday and Sunday.

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

Monday, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton: Fr. Christian recalled the time he was fortunate to spend St. Elizabeth Ann Seton's feast at her shrine. The homilist, he said, noted that everyone could identify with the different facets of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton's life. By raising up St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, we are reminded that God continues to work in our time and in our country. May God continue raising up saints and working in us.

Thursday: Ordinary time begins twice -- at the Baptism of our Lord and at Pentecost -- and they are linked. The Holy Spirit comes upon Christ and the apostles to equip both for their missions. Surely our own work is to be part of that. We are also beginning a Year of Mercy. Our beautiful door reminds us that our Archabbey Church, like many churches, is a place of mercy. The "year acceptable to the Lord" will require us to act out mercy and challenge us to continue doing so beyond the Year of Mercy. May we know Christ's mercy and be strengthened to share it.

J-Term has started in the seminary, with many monks helping teach mini-courses this week and next. Several of our visiting confreres returned and are settling back in from their time away for the break.

Have a good weekend!

Here's a repeat line worth pondering from Fr. Prior Kurt's homily: As the infant Jesus took his first breath, Mary gave our redeemer to the world. And as Jesus took his last breath on the Cross, He gave us our Mother.

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.