Saint Meinrad Archabbey

A catholic monastery devoted to the teachings of St. Benedict

July 31-August 6, 2017

Father Lambert presented the Day of Recollection on Monday during the Alumni Reunion and Father Denis Robinson preached and presided at the Alumni Reunion Mass on Tuesday in honor of his 10th anniversary as president-rector. 

On Wednesday and Thursday, we commended our confrere, Father Barnabas, to the loving care of our merciful God. Wednesday night Brother Benjamin offered a remembrance for Father Barnabas at the Office of the Dead; Thursday morning Father Godfrey offered the homily at the funeral liturgy. May the soul of Father Barnabas, and the souls of all the faithful departed, rest in peace. The news story about his prayer and work.

The latest blog post from Brother Francis: Presence (a prayer).

Brother Nathaniel, a certified personal trainer, offers a reflection on exercise and hospitality:

This week I want to share some of my fairly recent musings concerning exercise. Therefore, I offer a very brief reflection. Hopefully it can serve as a springboard for further thought…

Our modern minds view exercise through the lens of production. We want results. Moreover, achieving these results is heavily focused on the amount of effort we bring to the experience. We tell ourselves the harder we work, the stronger we will become, or the more closely we stick to this diet, the more weight we will lose.

Coming from a results-driven working culture, this sort of mindset makes sense. Promises of losing 20 pounds and 7 inches off your waist in less than three weeks by following the latest diet trend most certainly supports our need and desire for immediate results. But what if we are missing the point? Could the end goal of exercise lie in something greater than results? 

When we solely focus on our personal effort and dedication, we are blind to a deeper reality. We fail to perceive what exercise offers us in return. I do not mean that we fail to achieve a trimmer waistline, a more buff physique, lower cholesterol levels, or a healthier heart. Those things are quantifiable results. Rather, we fail to receive a graced opportunity for hospitality when we so fervently focus on and strictly sacrifice for those seemingly elusive results. 

In his Rule, Benedict challenges us to receive every guest as if he were Christ. I am realizing more and more that hospitality is rooted in the act of receiving (whether it is receiving another individual or an experience) rather than whatever I can bring to the encounter or whatever atmosphere I can try to create.

Yes, we bring something to the encounter (e.g., a smiling face, an open mind), but without openly receiving the gift, the story, the dignity of another, we fail to cultivate that truly graced moment of hospitality. The opportunity to cooperate with grace flies by, and we may not have even realized it!

Exercise offers us a strong sense of stability and centeredness, a keener awareness and deeper understanding of the gift of our body, an almost childlike wonder and awe about the beauty of God's creation, an ever-growing and deep-rooted oneness with the physical world, and…dare I say it…conversion toward the ways of Christ. Exercise is an expression of hospitality. If we are not mindful about receiving what this graced opportunity has to offer, exercise may be nothing more than a sick form of punishment. 

Perhaps that last statement is a little drastic, but my point is that when we shift our results-driven focus (which can no doubt be extremely motivating) to one where we are diligently mindful of every breath, every step, every action we make, we realize that the greatest joy in exercise comes from the actual act of doing it.

All these other measurable results are mere consequences of our good actions. In being fully present and mindful to the struggle, the exertion, the difficulties, the positive accomplishments of our workouts, we are confronted with the opportunity for hospitality. If we surrender our own need for results and take some time to listen, we can start to unravel the numerous graces the act of physical exercise offers us.

Candidate Father Noel was invested with the habit and began his novitiate on Saturday. Pray for our brother, Novice Noel. Here is a brief story about his journey before beginning the novitiate here in the monastery.

Father Raymond published an article titled "Intergenerational Living: Challenges and Strategies for Monastic Communities" in The American Benedictine Review, Volume 68, Number 2, June 2017.

The Herald, a local newspaper, wrote an article about our restoration of Monte Cassino Shrine -- the restoration kicked off by a generous donation from an anonymous donor. Here is a link to the news story. If you happen to read this About the House on Facebook or Twitter, we encourage you to share your memories of Monte Cassino Shrine through the comments feature.

Each day the monks of Saint Meinrad Archabbey write another page in the long history of Benedictine monks throughout the world. Here are recent events chronicled at Saint Meinrad.