What is the Apostolate of Monks?
All Christians are called to the Apostolate; to good works that build up the Kingdom of God in our world. What is the apostolate of contemplative monks? What do they do to benefit others? On the surface it could appear that monks living out their lives separated from the world by the cloister and who rarely if ever leave the monastery grounds contribute little or nothing to spreading the Good News of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Br. Christopher of Vina
1. What I love about being a monk!
Number one for me is being 100% devoted to Jesus, to live a life that makes cultivating our relationship with Him the top priority, both as an individual and as a community together. Number two is knowing that the graces of this life flow out with transforming power into our world, to people I know and those I don’t know; that our life makes a difference for others eternal happiness.
2. What would I tell anyone discerning a vocation?
Allow me this moment of mirth and jocularity. When I see the liturgical term Ordinary time after Pentecost, it tickles my Funny Bone. Ordinary, for some people might mean, just common or unimportant. Considering the meanings and nuances that English words take on, I would like to see liturgists use a little more imagination. Instead of "Ordinary time after Pentecost" how about the "Marvelous time after Pentecost"?
Once the Divine notary, the Holy Spirit, stamps us with the Seal of baptism and the Seal of confirmation, can anything be just ordinary for us after that?
On July 2nd, the 63rd anniversary of the founding of the Abbey, the Most Rev.
In one of the few times we leave the monastery property, at the end of May the monks of New Clairvaux had the opportunity for a special retreat in nature day at beautiful Paradise Lake located just north of Magalia, CA. The park officials were gracious enough to open the park for us on a day it is usually closed for maintence work so we had the whole place to ourselves, enjoying the silence, the natural alpine splendor and fellowship with the brothers. Many of us took the opportunity to hike the 4.5 mile lakeside trail. We are grateful for this unique chance to see and praise God's magni
Each year on the evening of the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart and gathered before the Blessed Sacrament exposed on the altar, the monks of New Clairvaux Abbey renew our vows and consecration of our lives, monastery and Order to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In the prayer we follow our patron St. Bernard of Clairvaux in professing Jesus as our Only King, Master and Lord, our Salvation and Hope, pledging all we have and are to Him and for His Kingdom, and asking His Grace to live out our calling in fidelity and love.
This year I celebrate 50 years of priesthood. Even before I was ordained, Mass has always been the core of my life. I am not aware of ever being bored at Mass. But certainly through sleepiness or fatigue or aches and pains, my empty head was not aware of the great reality taking place at the Altar. The One who made himself our Saviour, and allows us to call him our Friend and our Brother and our Divine Bridegroom, happens likewise to be infinite, eternal, immutable, the omnipotent One and the omniscient One, Absolute Being.
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.
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