From a talk by the Prior to the monks of New Clairvaux on the glorious Hail Mary:
Good evening brothers. Tonight I want to talk about a prayer we are all very familiar with. In fact, we pray it 9 times a day as a community, at morning, noon, and night, albeit silently; and judging from the number of rosaries I would find left in brothers’ pockets when I was community launderer, far more often than that as well. I’m speaking of course of the Hail Mary.
Fr. Thomas on Monastic Fountains: “Fountains and pools are popular these days during intense heat where there is no access to ocean beaches. Sacred Scriptures propose water as a source of life and a means of renewal. A powerful symbol in a Cistercian cloister quadrangle was the splashing fountain, giving a sense of peace, abundance, and refreshment. The monastic fountain was not only an earthly symbol of the font of life and a source of spiritual refreshment.
Br. Christopher on Practical Discernment: "What is the Meaning of Life? Even if many people today could not give an explicit answer to this question, it is inevitable that every one of us, shaped by our own personal experiences and life history, will form underlying attitudes toward the world which will, in turn, shape the course of our lives. Often these attitudes are unspoken and unexamined, but nevertheless have their unconscious effect on all our decisions and relationships.
Fr. Placid’s take on the Sower and the Seed: “The parable of the sower as found in the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 8 is usually interpreted as being about the preaching of the Kingdom of God and the various reactions to it. There is another way of seeing it though, and that is to understand the seed as a religious vocation and the reply to its call.
The seed that falls on the hardened path and is eaten up by birds is one response to the vocational call. In this case, the person does not listen and lets the "seed" be taken away by other concerns and fancies.
Some thoughts by Fr. Thomas on the importance of our Image of God: “When persons come into their own identity, they ask the question: To whom do I belong? The response to this question is central for us as we are created for relationships.
For Christians, “we belong to God” is the proper response. Accordingly, we need to proceed with a further question: what image of God do we have?
On August 15 we celebrate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Patroness of the Cistercian Order. Br. William presents a look at the life of Our Dear Lady: “Mary refers to herself as the Handmaid of the Lord. The term Handmaid comes from two Hebrew words (shiphchah and ‘amah) both meaning a female slave.
The Blessed Virgin used this term as a sign of humility and respectfulness in the presence of great men, prophets and kings. In that instance of the Annunciation from the angel Gabriel because he was a messenger of God.
Father Paul Mark comments on God's Harvest Bounty: "August inaugurates harvest season for us monks. We have been harvesting fresh fruit and produce for house use all summer, but August brings with it the grape harvest and ensuing crush, with a special harvest schedule, since all monk hands available need to be out in the vineyard picking grapes by 7:00 each morning. As the grape harvest is underway our prunes ripen and by the third week of August the harvesters arrive and begin their work shaking every individual tree. And finally, when September arrives, our walnuts are ready. Since t
Br. Peter Damian shares on God's Love and Christ as Our Mediator as taught by Blessed William of St. Thierry, a 12th Century Cistercian abbot:
William begins his treatise by speaking of the art of love and claims that the teaching of this art belongs exclusively to God. Love, as William puts it, is a power that carries the soul along by a natural tendency, as God created it to do, towards its end. For William, love is the motivation, the dynamic driving the soul to the God who is love.
Friends, a short post to share-
Heaven can be defined in only two letters: "us"
Hell can also be defined in only two letters: "me"
Reflect on this, then guide your life by it.
Br. Christopher and your brothers of New Clairvaux
FACEBOOK FRIDAY- A little lesson from life in the monastery- At a Saturday morning Mass some years ago, the brother assigned to read the Scripture passages forgot to recite the Responsorial Psalm after the first reading and promptly sat back down at his place in choir. Adjusting to the situation, the lead cantor speedily decided to step in and so got up to sing the Responsorial Psalm instead, but his fellow cantor whispered he was not familiar with the psalm melody. He had only been a cantor for a few months. The lead cantor said not to worry.
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