Homily #579: Shaping a Vision

Solemnity of St. Benedict

Mt. Angel Abbey, July 11, 2015


My dear friends in Christ,

Over the past month or so, our monastic community has spent four and a half hours in two meetings with a professional facilitator in an effort to craft a so-called “vision statement” that would capture—in a phrase that the facilitator said needs to be concise, inspiring, memorable, compelling and attractive—the essence of who or what Mount Angel Abbey aspires to be as a Benedictine monastery, and what its “draw” or influence may hopefully be for present and future friends who come to know and experience and support the monks of Mount Angel. To produce a memorable and compelling “one-liner” that articulates such a vision is no simple challenge!

"To seek God… and share his peace… on this holy mountain… "

“To seek God… and share his peace… on this holy mountain… “

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#55 The Spiritual Elders (RB 46:5)

Let us pray. Raise up, O Lord, in your Church the spirit which our blessed Father the Abbot Benedict served, so that, filled with the same spirit, we may strive to love what he loved, and practice what he taught. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

My dear confreres.

As you know, there are in the Holy Rule two sets of chapters—23 to 30, and 43 to 46—that are referred to as the Rule’s “penal code,” those chapters that deal with making satisfaction for the faults that are part and parcel of the lives of even professional God-seekers like ourselves. Right at the end of that first set of chapters there is a particularly beautiful Gospel-inspired directive in just two words that indicate what should be the purpose and spirit behind any Christian penal system, namely “ut sanarentur—that they may be healed” (RB 30:3). Such is the hope that should underlie the imposition of a penalty: that the person may be healed…

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#54 Frater Acediosus: No Brother So Apathetic (RB 48:18)

My dear confreres.

Recently someone gave me a book entitled The Noonday Devil: Acedia, the Unnamed Evil of our Times , originally published in French in 2013, and just published this year (2015) by Ignatius Press.

The author of this book is Dom Jean-Charles Nault, O.S.B., Abbot of the ancient Abbey of Saint-Wandrille of Fontenelle in France. It is quite a fine study of a phenomenon which isn’t much heard of nowadays—ACEDIA—but which may just be one of the great evils of our times, as the subtitle of his book proposes.

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Acedia copy

Homily #573: In the Breaking of the Bread

Mass of Christian Burial of Father Paschal Cheline, O.S.B.

Mount Angel Abbey, March 23, 2015

My dear friends in Christ: Most Reverend Archbishop and Bishops[1], Right Reverend Abbots, Reverend Monsignors, Reverend Clergy, Confreres, Seminarians, Family, Relatives, Guests, and Friends of Father Paschal. You are many(!), and your very number is such a telling tribute to Father Paschal and to his influence in the lives of so many people over the P1080960 copyyears… and in my life, too, for he and I journeyed together on this holy mountain for 63 years as classmates and close friends. We were in the same class in the seminary that he joined as a high school sophomore in 1952, the first of those 63 years. Later, in 1957, we entered the monastery together, made our monastic profession together in 1958, were ordained to the priesthood together in 1964—kneeling, I might add, on these very steps where I now stand—and last May, 50 years later, we shared the joy of celebrating our golden jubilee of ordination to the holy priesthood. I am so very pleased that two other original classmates of ours, Bishop Emeritus William Weigand of Sacramento and Al Miller of Portland, are with us this morning as we lift up our dear friend to the throne of the Divine Mercy and celebrate his birth into everlasting Glory! Two other classmates of ours, Father Norbert and Father Meinrad, who shared seminary, Continue reading

RB 49:7 Look Forward to Holy Easter

#14 (Revised — February 17, 2015)

My dear confreres.

reading_brjesusAbout four years and 39 Words ago, just before Ash Wednesday of 2011, I shared with you A Word from the Abbot entitled “Look Forward to Holy Easter,” and this morning, with Ash Wednesday only hours away, I would like to repeat that same Word with little change. That title comes, of course, from chapter 49 of the Holy Rule on “The Observance of Lent” and is such a beautiful exhortation and guiding Word for Lent: “LOOK FORWARD TO HOLY EASTER… with joy and spiritual longing” (RB 49:7). Indeed, we may find in these words the truest motivation for our Bona Opera, our “Good Works,” the real reason for that “extra something” that we choose to offer to God during the holy season of Lent. Continue reading