During the celebration of Mass on this 1st Sunday of Advent, our three junior monks, Brother Stephen, Brother Francis, and Brother Christopher, all received the ministry of acolyte. Our abbot bestowed this ministry on the brothers which enables them to handle and prepare the sacred vessels in which the Body and the Blood of Christ are contained and distributed to the faith community in our daily Mass.
Today, the Church celebrates the beginning of a new liturgical year. The Advent wreath is symbolic of the hope we have in the coming of Christ for whom the entire Church is waiting. As is the custom of our monastery, the blessing of the Advent wreath took place in the refectory before our noon meal. Our abbot is pictured blessing all four candles representing Christ our light who comes to illuminate our world in darkness. And so we sing our response with the whole Church, "Maranatha, Come, Lord Jesus."
To celebrate the solemn feast of Christ the King, the monastic community held an early Vespers service integrated with Eucharistic adoration and the renewal of vows of our professed monks. It was also the occasion to conclude our retreat week with Sister Kathy Huber, OSB. We were especially blessed to have her join us in choir and take part in our daily liturgy.
The monks of New Clairvaux will be on retreat this week from the 14th to the 20th. Sister Kathryn Huber, our retreat director, is a Benedictine sister from the Monastery of Immaculate Conception in Ferdinand, Indiana. She brings a wealth of experience serving in education ministry and as prioress of her community for many years. Sister Kathy will lead us in a series of reflections focusing on the theme of "Expanding Our Hearts in Christ".
Perhaps our hearts may expand just like the sky capable of embracing both light and dark, turbulence and calm, storm and stillness.