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Blog

Seeking God at this place of New Clairvaux, we are a community of Cistercian monks living the Rule of Saint Benedict. We witness God's love for the world according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ by a life of prayer, labor, and sustainable stewardship of our resources in a simplicity and openness to the signs of the times. Our monastery welcomes all people in the spirit of hospitality, and engages others in collaborative relationships.

Br. Luis shares a Christmas Story: “I take an occasional turn caring for our 90-year-old, wheelchair-bound, Fr. Lawrence.  He increasingly suffers from the effects of dementia and memory loss.  Early this month, it was my turn to roll him into the dining room and set him up for the noon meal.  I asked him: Will you have your usual milk and buttered bread? He struggled to respond, so I gently reminded him that this is what he wanted.  He muttered to himself sadly, shaking his head, “Gee, I can’t even remember what I want anymore.” 

At the monastery we celebrate Holy Epiphany on the traditional date January 6, the Twelfth day of the traditional ’12 Day of Christmas’.  Br. Peter Damian enlivens the day with a special reflection on Treasures of the Magi:   

And on entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. They opened their treasures and offered Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” (Mt 2:11).

Father Paul Mark speaks on how to greet the New Year: "I don’t remember ever making a new year’s resolution but for many years I greet the arrival of the new year with hope.  It is a new beginning, new opportunities and experiences beckon and I hope I am ready to welcome these even with they appear disguised in “work clothes”.  A new year is the chance to review the past year, the lessons learned, the mistakes made, and the decisions that have borne fruit.  A new year is, above all, the chance to give thanks for the past even if perchance events seemed to turn my life upside down and inside

It is our tradition at the Abbey to keep Advent as its own liturgical season, as a time of preparing for the coming of the Lord.  So now, in the past few days the Postulants (those men who have entered the community this past year) have been busy putting the trees and decorations in place, but we will not be turning on the lights and seeing the monastery in its full Christmas splendor until this evening, when we begin the celebration of the Lord’s Nativity with the First Vespers of Christmas.

Brother Christopher shares an Advent message on kindness: “ Of all the apostolates open to us, the most effective, the most far-reaching, the most consoling is… kindness. Kindness is one of God's best gifts to the world. It drives gloom and darkness from souls. It puts hope into fainting hearts. It sweetens sorrow. It lessens pain. It discovers unsuspected beauties of human character. It calls forth a response from all that is best in souls. It purifies, glorifies, and ennobles all that it touches. 

As we inch closer to Christmas, Fr. Placid shares on the selflessness service of St. Joseph:  "By his actions and decisions as seen in the Infancy Narratives, St. Joseph displayed that he was a man remarkably free of covetousness. This quality allowed him to be ready to meet Jesus, not allowing his own desires to get in the way of doing  -humbly, quietly and unreservedly- what God asked of him.  He had a peace about him because of the lack of insisting on his own desires. 

Brother Luis shares on The Work of Waiting: "Waiting is such a waste of time, right?!  Think about it.  Sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s office or waiting in a long line at the grocery store.  Never mind “waste of time,” it can be downright painful to wait for things nowadays.  To ease the pricks, stabs, and bludgeoning of passing seconds and minutes, we have recourse to our personal inventory of remedies.  And thank goodness for these palliative means—some colorful and handheld (starts with an “i” and ends with a “phone”), and some, perhaps, more innate and natural (i.e., daydre

Br. William shares on the way of self-emptying love: “Fr. Cyprian Consiglio, the prior of New Camaldoli Hermitage in Big Sur, California was our retreat director for our annual community retreat week, held this Nov. 14 -20. The theme of the conferences were a Spirituality of Kenosis. The American scholar and poet Christian Wiman wrote, that kenosis “refers to the kind of self-emptying that God” in Jesus “performed in both the incarnation and the crucifixion.”

Fr. Thomas issues a call to consider our vocation to be Who We Are: “To receive a vocational call is an exceptional grace. Indeed, every vocations is a unique and magnificent grace from God.  I hear, I obey, I bear the crucifying consequences (because every vocational call is a challenge, in one way or another), for intimacy with the crucified Christ. At the moment of our death, (or to use a monastic term, ‘transitus’ - a passing over into…), it will be important to be like Christ crucified. This is our tremendous judgment day.

Fr. Paul Mark reflects on Autumn: “We move into autumn, a new season, a season of evocative, poignant memories, at least for me.  There is the completion of harvest and the bringing in of the last garden produce for those of us who make a living off the land.  There are the unique colors of the Fall season as deciduous trees and vines gradually lose their leaves.  And there is the return of cooler weather with the smell of rain in the air again (at least for us in California, we hope).