Saint Meinrad Archabbey

A catholic monastery devoted to the teachings of St. Benedict

January 29-February 4, 2016

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. Blaise:
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 the world.

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:

  1. Faith-sharing with one another (Sometimes difficult in a men's community)
  2. Encourage one another in our roles, prayer and assignments
  3. In a gentle and creative manner, give peer correction
  4. Be unconditionally hospitable

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 pizza!

As we approach Lent, here is what St. Benedict has to say in Chapter 49 of the Rule: On the Observance of Lent (from

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 abstinence.

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.

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.