September 14, 2014
Exaltation of the Holy Cross
Saint Benedict was very closely connected to the cycle of the seasons and in writing his Rule we see that the rhythm of daily life of the time of the Rule for meals and work is established with a mindfulness of the change of seasons. Mid-September is only one instance of that. The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross is placed on the liturgical calendar close to the autumnal equinox, and holds a place comparable to Easter and the vernal equinox. As Catholics, we now draw near to the end of the liturgical year. In contrast to the markers of our popular culture of football games and new television programs and the latest fashion designs, the monastic world adjusts with the seasonal changes of light and darkness, warmth and coolness, sound and silence. As a football fan and a lover of autumn weather, I am still more grateful for the monastic coordinates in place in my life rather than those of the popular culture.
Of course with the fall Marmion Abbey Farms has its Pumpkin Daze. This coming weekend, Sept. 20-21, will be the opening of the Abbey Farms event and it will be the first year when the Nagel Emporium will be open, as well as a variety of new and improved attractions that Adam Voirin has introduced. I encourage you to come out some time in September and October and see for yourself.
Since our last letter, there have been some new developments in the monastery. Brother Oscar Hernandez has been dispensed of his temporary vows and left the community on Aug. 29. We wish Dan Hernandez well and pray that the Lord will continue to help him discern his call. At the same time, Eric Knott has been accepted by the Abbey Chapter for the novitiate as a claustral oblate. Eric is a young man from Indianapolis who has visited us over the last year and lived with us the past three months. He will be invested with the habit on October 3 at Vespers.
Abbot John will be visiting Fr. Thomas Bailey at Conception Abbey this coming week and from October 6-20 he will be in Guatemala for the graduation and end of the academic year for our school and to have time with the members of the Priory.
Br. Dominic celebrated his 80th birthday on Sept. 11. He joins the “80-something”
Club of our oldest monks: Abbot David at 88, Fr. Mario at 87, Fr. Christian at 86, Fr. Philip at 84, and Fr. Bernard at 83. Please pray for them all.
I also commend to your prayers deceased Oblate Phil Moore Sr. Phil’s death on September 2 was unexpected, however the faith that accompanied his visitation and funeral liturgy was stirring. I know I speak for Phil’s wife Marian and their family when I thank all those oblates who took time to come to the visitation or the funeral Mass.
I want to remind you that we will be meeting on Sunday, Sept. 21. At 2:30 we will gather in the Day Room for some lectio divina. All new oblates in particular are invited to this. At 3:30 we will meet in the library for a short business meeting and then Oblate Kathleen Behrens will give a presentation on a retreat she attended this July with Kathleen Norris at Mount St. Scholastica Monastery in Atchison, Kansas. I want to thank Kathleen in anticipation for offering to do this and I hope that in subsequent meetings we might have some others step forward.
On that subject, I want to tell you that through Fr. Basil and the Theology Dept. at school we have just issued a new edition of the Let Us Pray book. If any of you are interested in having one, I will have some of them at the Sept. 21 meeting. At the same time I want to invite any oblates who would like to make a donation to help defray the cost of the printing of these books to direct it to me and I will be sure that it gets used for that purpose.
In mentioning the possibility of financial donations, I want to add that the monks are quite willing to have oblates donate time and talent for everything from serving as reader at daily Mass to driving monks to medical appointments. If you are willing to do any of this, please let me know.
Finally, I want to have you put on your calendars the date of Sunday, October 19 as our next Oblate Meeting and for next summer I want to encourage some of our oblates to attend the annual Oblate Directors Meeting in Subiaco, Arkansas, in the second week of July. Since I am unable to attend this meeting, I feel it important that someone from Marmion be present.
As a reminder, I invite you to send to me any prayer requests for sick or deceased that you may have. May this “Ordinary Time” of entry into the many activities of fall not keep us from our daily rhythm of prayer and participation in the liturgy.
In the peace of Christ,
Fr. Joel, OSB