We are often asked if there is a way lay persons living in the world can affiliate with and live out the Cistercian charism in their own state of life, in much the same way as the Benedictine Oblates, Third Order Franciscans, Secular Carmelites, etc., do with the charisms of these religious families. I’m pleased to say that such a group has received official affiliation with the monks of New Clairvaux known as the Lay Cistercians. Our group is recognized by the International Association of Lay Cistercians, which has member groups around the world.
If ever two lives were bound up together in thought and purpose and love it was the lives of Jesus and Mary. From the moment of Mary's YES to the angel Gabriel, the Holy Spirit infused the Soul of Jesus into the miraculous Body being formed in the womb of Mary. Their Union did not cease at Jesus's Birth, but their communion of mind and heart continues into Heaven.
Lessons from a Monastery: Now that we are in the new gothic church we are currently in the process of dismantling our former church. For monks who profess a vow of stability, we consider the passing of an era in the life of a monastery from the viewpoint of eternity or at least try to if at all possible for a human. Our elder monks have witnessed moving from worshiping and praying in the upper room of the old Stanford mansion to the church structure that is currently being torn down.
Because Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week occurred on March 25th, the feast of the Annunciation of Mary had to be transferred to today, April 9th.
The Archangel Gabriel was sent from heaven to ask the Virgin Mary to be the Benefactor of the human race. She was to be the chosen method and the chosen Woman who would enable God to become a member of His created human race.
Who, we might ask, actually witnessed the moment when the soul of Jesus re-entered his body and escaped from the tomb? Certainly all the angels in heaven. And probably all the souls that Jesus had just that hour freed from the "prison" of Sheol.
From a homily by Fr. Paul Jerome Konkler: As we approach Palm Sunday and Good Friday, we are watching Jesus preparing for his death by which he redeemed us. Most monks follow St Benedict's advice to be mindful frequently of their death. Far from being a morose thought, this mindfulness enables us to escape wasting our precious time on the trivialities of life, and to live with richer meaning. By offering our difficulties and pangs and sacrifices in prayerful union with Jesus, we are bound to him in saving the souls he loves and wants to bring to his Heavenly Father.
A Lenten Homily by Fr. Paul Jerome - Jesus carrying his cross through Jerusalem to Calvary, a mystery of our faith: Jesus eagerly receives the cross from his executioners. He falls at least three times, and gets up each time for our encouragement. He meets his grieving Mother, and the other holy women who have been following him. He revealed to St Bernard his most grievous pain came from the cross rubbing on his shoulder until all the flesh and muscle tissue was torn down to the bone. He gave us the example of receiving help from Simon the Cyrenian when he needed help.
After many, many years of patient waiting for the Lord's Time, the monks of New Clairvaux Abbey began worship in our new/reconstructed Spanish midieval church on Monday, Jan. 29, 2018. The seed of the project began in mid 1950's when a young Fr. Thomas Davis was being driven to the foundation in Vina from our motherhouse in Gethsamne to join the brothers here, and on the way from the airport viewed the delapedated ancient stones gathering Moss in Golden Gate Park, and being told they were from a monastery of our Cistercian Order that had been carted to the U.S.
We celebrate the Founders of the Cistercian Order, Saints Robert, Alberic & Stephen.
A poem on Renunciation by a Monk of New Clairvaux
The Relentless Tock
"Tick-Tock", says the Clock,
"Go and Do what you Ought!"
Stop! A new thought:
Is this the Gospel I was taught?
Is this what God has wrought?
To be a slave to the relentless tock?
I cast down the idol of the Clock!
God Alone be my peace, portion and my lot!
--A monk of New Clairvaux
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