On Sunday, following Mass, we set up Eucharistic Exposition in
the Archabbey Church through Vespers. We had half-hour time slots
available for two monks to pray and others made their way into the
church for this opportunity for prayer with the Blessed
On Saturday we enjoyed our first pizza lunch of the semester at
the UnStable. Yum!
Fr. Joseph served as our Mass heb this week. Some excerpts from
Sunday: Many people have a God experience where
they feel exceptionally close to God: in prayer, at Mass, at a
wedding, in other sacraments and even at the death of a loved one.
It is important to reflect on how we react to these experiences.
Some people grow closer to God and others grow bitter.
In the Gospel passages, people react in various ways: amazement,
fear, surrender, disbelief, anger, etc. Interestingly, demons
respond by recognizing Jesus' divinity. Peter, in today's Gospel,
reacts by recognizing his sinfulness and fear of Jesus'
When we recognize our sinfulness, we can hear Jesus in our
conversion say, "Repent and believe in the Gospel." Hopefully, an
experience of God will lead us into the person He wants us to be.
Peter saw God and saw himself for who he was. He did not flee, but
he was transformed. God invites us to surrender to our inner desire
to know Him and to find joy in knowing Him.
Tuesday: In a way, we bury the "A" word until
we resurrect it again on Easter Day. St. Benedict does not say much
about Lent. He says it is in the joy of holy desire that we look
forward to Easter. Our preparations are for new life.
Archabbot Justin presided at Mass on Ash Wednesday, where we
turned in our Bona Opera (good works). On a sheet he
provides to the monastic community, we submit to the abbot the book
we will read for lectio during Lent, as well as the good
works we will take up during Lent to grow closer to Christ. The
Rule encourages the monk to submit to the abbot these good
works for his approval and blessing. The abbot then returns the
Bona Opera to each monk with some written
We also received ashes at Mass on Wednesday, and some excerpts
from Archabbot Justin's homily: God, it seems, wants our hearts in
both ways: whole and torn apart. He wants our whole heart and all
our love, and He also wants our hearts that are torn apart due to
grief from sinning. It is the divide that can save.
We learn from Paul that it's not about what we can do for
ourselves but what we can do for God who has saved us. God has
healed our hearts and divided them from sin. The Gospel for which
we are called to repent encourages us to practice in secret:
prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Christ recreates in us a heart
pierced by his cross that is made whole and returned to God in his
In the afternoon on Wednesday, Archabbot Justin gave an Ash
Wednesday conference for the monastic community. We also heard read
Chapter 49 of the Rule (On the Observance of Lent) by Fr.
Micheas, an annual reading.
Be assured of our prayers for you for a fruitful and focused
Lent as you prepare for the joy of Easter. Thank you for your
prayers for our community.