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July 20, 2010

New Vocation Site

USCCB launches new vocation website: Click here 

July 10, 2010

Feast of St. Benedict

From the mouth of each Benedictine monk, nun, and oblate comes the antiphon, "Sustain me, O Lord, as you have promised that I may live and disappoint me not in my hope." Saint Benedict knew that everyone serious about a prayer life had to be sustained by the LORD. Early on in the monastic life, or in the life of anyone who seeks the LORD, there is an insatiable desire to declare the praises of God. Anyone, who catches a glimpse the LORD, never forgets it. Indeed, such a vision changes everything. This responsorial psalm paints a word icon of the unspeakable glory. The LORD is king and the sight of his glory takes away mere human breath. Indeed, to continue breathing in the presence of The Majesty, we need the breath of God, the Holy Spirit just to stand before His Splendor. The LORD is girt about with strength, the sight of which makes our legs tremble and our knees knock. Indeed, the LORD is the creator of heaven and earth. Upon his own majesty has he made the world firm, not to be moved. Reality is real. What we perceive is not mere perception; it is perception of what really exists. All that exists is contingent upon the will and mercy of the LORD. His Throne stands firm from of old, from ages past, the LORD is enthroned in majesty and splendor. Out of his greatness he speaks to us and his decrees are worthy of trust indeed. Only the LORD can provide the holiness we need to live and move and have our being with him for length of days, unto the ages of ages. When Isaiah looked up from the vacant throne of King Uzziah he caught a glimpse of the True King, the LORD, and he was filled with awe and wonder. In the presence of the Seraphim this newborn prophet dares to say aloud, "Here I am; send me!" The same Holy Spirit grasps those who follow the Master Christ our God. Indeed, we are not afraid to acknowledge the Lord Jesus before anyone. For we have seen the glory of the Father on the face of his Son, and this has changed everything. Such is the power of the Holy Spirit who instructs our hearts in holy wisdom day in and day out. It is the Word of God made flesh in Christ Jesus that is now made flesh in us, his body and blood, so that we become a living sacrifice of praise to the glory of the Father. Indeed, Our Father is faithful to his promises and he does not disappoint us in our hope.

Before we hear the Good News proclaimed at every Liturgy we join the not-yet-prophet Isaiah and touch our lips with the sign of the cross so that our wickedness might be removed and our sin purged. For indeed the glory of the LORD unfolding in the sacrament, called Church, and in the mysteries of the Liturgy has already grasped our hearts and summoned us to repentance. This vocation vision of Isaiah is a model of Liturgy. Indeed, it is a model of all our prayer, alone or with others in the Liturgy. With eyes of faith we gaze heavenward and see the LORD seated on his high and lofty throne, with the train of his garment filling the whole universe, his temple. The Seraphim model for us what it is like to worship the LORD in all his glory. We have no wings to veil our faces or feet. We cannot hover aloft because the holiness of God is so great that we would burn our feet. However, if the Seraphim are humble, how can we not humble ourselves? We, too, join in the praise they have fashioned. With one voice we cry out, "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts! All the earth is filled with his glory!" Such a powerful voice, heard in heaven and echoed on earth, fills our hearts with the incense of great praise and opens the doors of our mind to a whole new power. In this display of glory in the Liturgy, we are summoned to see ourselves, as we really are, unclean and living among the unclean. Indeed, just to sing his "hosannas" draws our attention to the holiness of God and our own lack of holiness. We are drawn up swiftly into a vision of the way things are. The reality of our wounded, distorted, and sinful hearts is painful, startling, and absolutely necessary. Without his kind of self-awareness we continue to excuse ourselves from growth and justify our avoidance of conversion. It is the Seraphim who recognize our need and reach out to help us. Heaven sees and responds to our cries for deliverance. The Bright One flies to the altar and takes the tongs to handle an even brighter ember; he then touches the unclean lips and proclaims this Proto-Evangelion, "See, now that this has touched your lips, your wickedness is removed, your sin purged." It is this conversion for Isaiah that finally models for us what it is to enter into the Liturgy and discover heaven on earth, the not-yet-Kingdom already present, the mystery of the Kingdom here and now in the celebration, song, conversion of those who become one in the Body of Christ, the Great High Priest who is offering the one sacrifice worthy of the Father in the Power of the Holy Spirit.

If they call the all-holy Son of the Father, Beelzebul, what can we expect? If the all-wise Teacher of the Nations is ridiculed and mocked, what can we expect? If the Master of Heaven and earth is crucified, what can we expect? This startling and painful awareness of what it means to be a disciple of Christ is confronted by the surprising and difficult command, "Therefore do not be afraid of them." Do not fear and do not live in anxiety! The Kingdom of God, which is hidden from the view of our contemporaries, will not be revealed to the whole world. When Christ our King comes from his heavenly throne to take us into the New Creation and to sit with him at the right hand of the Father. When the fullness of the Kingdom is here, all that is concealed will be revealed. What the LORD speaks to us in the darkness of faith will be proclaimed in the light of the New Day. What we hear in the tiny whispering wind will be shouted from every rooftop. No one who follows the Lord Christ needs to fear. If the Father knows every sparrow; will we be ignored? If the Lord Jesus acknowledges us before the Father, will we be ignored? Only if we ignore the Lord Jesus will the Father in heaven ignore us. How could we ignore someone who so loves us? How could we ignore the voice that speaks to us deep within at every liturgy: "Come children hear me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD?"

July 7, 2010

Pope on Priesthood

During Pope Benedict's homily for the ordination of 14 priests on Sunday for the Diocese of Rome, he emphasized that the vocation of the priesthood, must not be viewed as a way to achieve social status in life, but rather as a way to “rediscover the ever-new face” of Christ.
In his homily for the ordination, which took place Sunday morning in St. Peter's Basilica, the Holy Father cautioned that the priesthood “must never represent a way to achieve security in life or to attain social position”

“Anyone who aspires to the priesthood in order to increase his personal prestige and power has radically misunderstood the significance of this ministry,” explained the Pope.

He noted that if a priest's main goal is to “achieve success,” he will say “what people want to hear” and “adapt to changing fashions and opinions.”

“In this way, he will deprive himself of the vital relationship with truth, reducing himself to condemning tomorrow what he praises today,” Benedict XVI warned.

"A priest who sees his ministry in these terms,” he continued, “does not truly love God and neighbor, he loves only himself and, paradoxically, ends up by losing himself.” The vocation of the priesthood “is founded on the courage to say yes to another will, with the daily-growing awareness that” by “conforming ourselves to the will of God ... we increasingly enter into the truth of our being and our ministry.”

Pope Benedict also encouraged the priests to “rediscover the ever-new face” of Christ through prayer.

“Only one who has an intimate relationship with the Lord can be seized by Him, can bring Him to others, can become His envoy. This involves a kind of 'remaining with Him' which must always accompany, and be the core of, priestly ministry, also and above all during moments of difficulty when it seems that 'the things to be done' must take priority.

“Wherever we are, whatever we do, we must always 'remain with Him'."

The Pontiff drew his homily to a close by asking God to give the priests the grace “to be able to live this ministry coherently and generously, everyday.”

July 4, 2010

God Bless America

Almighty God, You have given us this good land for our heritage. We humbly ask You that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of Your favor and glad to do Your will. Bless our land with honorable endeavor, sound learning and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion, from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties and fashion into one united people the multitude brought here out of many nations and tongues. Endow with the Spirit of wisdom those to whom in Your Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that through obedience to Your law we may show forth Your praise among the nations on earth. In time of prosperity fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble do not allow our trust in You to fail. Amen. 
- President Thomas Jefferson 

July 1, 2010

Prayer Request

Please pray for our incoming novices: Mr. Joshua Morgan, Mr. Daniel McMullen, Mr. Joshua Zimmerman, Mr. Jefferey Wright, and Fr. Richard Loch who begin their 9 day postulancy retreat today before they recieve the holy habit on July 9th.  Please also remember our present novice class: Br. Romuald, Br. Matthew, Br. Michael, and Br. Isaac as they prepare to profess first vows on July 9th during 5 PM Solemn Vepers in the Archabbey Basilica (All are welcome to attend).  Our current junior monks will also renew their vows during the ceremony giving us 13 junior monks and 5 novices for the upcoming year...indeed the Lord is good.  May our Holy Father St. Benedict and Our Lady continue to intercede for these men a they strive to do the will of God in their lives.

Some of our young monks and incoming Novices pose for a picture last year in Fr. Sebastian's garden.

Pax et Gaudium

O.S.B. Vocation Awareness

O.S.B. Vocation Awareness