Sing to me
And beat upon my whorled ear
Pipe me to pastures still and be
The music that I care to hear.
--Gerald Manley Hopkins
Wow, it's been nearly ten years since I joined the monastery. I look back, trying to remember those first few days...not much comes to mind. I vaguely remember the distinct country smell of the place. That's about it. But this doesn't surprise me; I don't have a stellar recollection, in general (my fellow community members will agree). I guess, in that sense, I was made for monastic life. St.
The first thing that is often overlooked is that God really, really loves His Holy Angels! We think of them as His messengers and servants and that is true, but like us they also are His children and He knows and loves each one in special unique way. That is what makes it so amazing that He sends them to be our helpers and guardians: it shows how much He loves us to send his precious ones and it shows us how much He loves them that He sends them on a mission so close to His Heart.
We just finished celebrating the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord Jesus into Heaven. We celebrate this special day here at the Abbey with all the ‘bells and whistles’ as they say: copious incense, special hymns and rubrics, day off from ordinary work, etc. Why so?
As monks we are keenly aware of the call to mission. Certainly there are different ideas about this call: for example, some seem to think of their life vocation as something written in stone, inscribed from all eternity in the Mind of God in Heaven, and that their job in discernment is simply to discover and live it out what that undeviating, eternal intention is, whether this be the priesthood, religious consecration, monasticism, marriage & family life, etc.
On May 5 our Br. Pierre completed his mission on earth and was called to his eternal Home. I had the great honor of serving as Brother's caretaker these last few months. At this time I wanted to post again some of the wisdom Br. Pierre shared with us before his passing:
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT BEING A MONK: “To gradually realize the Love Jesus & His dear Mother Mary have for me personally; being with a community of men who strive to Love God and one another; the simple life of Prayer, Work, Lectio Divina- the simple life Jesus live for 30 years.
When people ask what my main duties are at the monastery and I respond that I am the Infirmarian, I can usually tell by the look on their face that the thought, “That sounds impressive, but what does it mean?” may be going through their head.
I would like to share with our friends a Lenten reflection based on the very important Gospel we heard a few weeks ago, on the 1st Sunday of Lent (I know that was a while back, and I beg your pardon, I am a slow thinker!). If you recall it was the Temptation of Jesus in the Desert (Matt. 4:1-4). I feel that we can learn a lot from the conversation between Jesus and the devil, as it reveals two completely opposite mindsets. Let me explain.
It is one year since our dear Fr. Anthony Bellesorte passed over to the Lord, on March 22, 2018. In memorial of his passing I have a special treat for you: I had the honor of being Father's caretaker in his last months, and before he passed I asked him some questions, and he wrote down his responses which I now share with you below; our last opportunity to receive the wisdom of our beloved friend and brother, Fr. Anthony.
1. WHAT I LOVE ABOUT BEING A MONK-
I'd like to share a little about the Regional Meeting our Abbot Fr. Paul Mark and I attended at Mepkin Abbey in South Carolina Feb. 21 – 26. I had accompanied the abbot to serve as one of the secretaries. For those who are not aware, the Regional Meeting is the yearly meeting at which all the superiors of the 15 houses of the US Region of the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance, both abbots & abbesses, gather at one of the monasteries to discuss and address common concerns and pastoral needs.
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