Friday, February 26, 2010
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
This past week end a friend and I had the supreme privilege to make a retreat with the monks of Most Holy Trinity Monastery of the Maronite Catholic Rite. Situated deep in rural Massachusetts, the monks live out their blessed days calling on God's Mercy for themselves and for all of us. It's so very edifying!
We began our retreat Friday evening shortly before the monks chanted Compline. The melodies and voices take you right up to God in a way that seems only the Church's sacred liturgy can. At the end of Compline the monks sing a hymn to our Blessed Lady, in a beautiful melody interchanged with polyphony, then the Abbot blesses all with an image of Our Lady of Gaudalupe.
Next day, Saturday begins at 5:20 for morning prayer and Holy Mass/Divine Liturgy at 7:30. The rest of the day for the retreatant is spent attending the Divine office with the Monks, private prayer in the Church or in our cells or out in the beautiful and secluded countryside. The monks have a wonderful retreathouse with rooms for 8 men at a time. Each room is very comfortable with bed, dest and chair, chest of drawers and a full bathroom. the retreat house has a common room with tea, coffee and snacks available. Meals are taken with the monks in their refectory and in silence, with table reading. I hope I have many more retreats there to come.
Posted by tomt at 9:42 AM
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Dear Reader, I hope this lent is for you a growing closer to our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ. Pray for me and I will pray for you.
We Adore you O Christ, and we Bless You,
Because by Your Holy Cross, You have Redeemed the world. Amen.
St. Leo the Great on Lent
Dear friends, at every moment the earth is full of the mercy of God, and nature itself is a lesson for all the faithful in the worship of God. The heavens, the sea and all that is in them bear witness to the goodness and omnipotence of their Creator, and the marvelous beauty of the elements as they obey him demands from the intelligent creation a fitting expression of its gratitude.
But with the return of the season marked out in a special way by the mystery of our redemption, and of the days that lead up to the paschal feast, we are summoned more urgently to prepare ourselves by a purification of spirit.
The special note of the paschal feast is this: the whole Church rejoices in the forgiveness of sins. It rejoices in the forgiveness not only of those who are then reborn in holy baptism but also of those who are already numbered among God's adopted children.
Initially, men are made new by the rebirth of baptism. Yet there is still required a daily renewal to repair the shortcomings of our mortal nature, and whatever degree of progress has been made there is no one who should not be more advanced. All must therefore strive to ensure that on the day of redemption no one may be found in the sins of his former life.
Dear friends, what the Christian should be doing at all times should be done now with greater care and devotion, so that the Lenten fast enjoined by the apostles may be fulfilled, not simply by abstinence from food but above all by the renunciation of sin.
There is no more profitable practice as a companion to holy and spiritual fasting than that of almsgiving. This embraces under the single name of mercy many excellent works of devotion, so that the good intentions of all the faithful may be of equal value, even where their means are not. The love that we owe both God and man is always free from any obstacle that would prevent us from having a good intention. The angels sang: Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth. The person who shows love and compassion to those in any kind of affliction is blessed, not only with the virtue of good will but also with the gift of peace.
The works of mercy are innumerable. Their very variety brings this advantage to those who are true Christians, that in the matter of almsgiving not only the rich and affluent but also those of average means and the poor are able to play their part. Those who are unequal in their capacity to give can be equal in the love within their hearts.
From Sermo 6 de Quadragesima, 1-2: PL 54,285-287)
Posted by tomt at 9:10 PM