No surprise that there is not as much spiritual value from the picnic table of monks as you can find from the Abbot’s table. Our picnic day is a relaxing day outdoor after the grape harvest. It is not much like our daily routine: Lectio Divina, studying or praying which nourish our spiritual life. Yet spending time together is something important for us too. It was a chance for the junior monks and the senior monks to talk and to mutually understand each other and to deepen our human relationship and companionship on the way to heaven, although a single day doesn’t assist us to enter heaven. Jesus Christ could show His mercy at any moment and says, “Today you will be with me in Paradise” (Lk 23:43). But none of us died or crying out to God’s mercy on the picnic day! Just as we are nourished by the spiritual food around the Abbot’s table every Sunday with his chapter talk, we enjoyed the foods hosted by the Abbot with the “Beloved disciple” at the picnic table this time, as we take turns to serve one another in our community. After the mealtime, we also spent time to enjoy the beauty of nature at the picnic site at Loafer Creek, Recreation Area, Oroville, CA, about 50 miles away from our monastery. Here some brothers liked hiking along the trails; some liked playing games; the other liked to take a walk to see the beautiful view from Lake Oroville. Still others liked to lay down on the green grass to take a nap. In the late afternoon before returning home, we prayed together with the informal Vespers around the picnic table and concluded with the chanting of the Salve Regina hymn to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was simply a relaxing day after working hard in the vineyard and thanks to our Creator that mother nature provided the beauty for us. --Br. Peter Damian
Cistercian monastic life gives primary place of chanting the Opus Dei or Divine Office in community as well as personal time spent in sacred reading which fulfill the monk's sacred duty of seeking God.
Cistercian monastic life allows rooms for guests because all guests are to be received as Christ. We never know if we have entertained angels.
Life in Common
Cistercian monastic life is communal: We share all things in common as did the early Christian community so as to live in greater charity and union with Christ.