In one of the few times we leave the monastery property, at the end of May the monks of New Clairvaux had the opportunity for a special retreat in nature day at beautiful Paradise Lake located just north of Magalia, CA. The park officials were gracious enough to open the park for us on a day it is usually closed for maintence work so we had the whole place to ourselves, enjoying the silence, the natural alpine splendor and fellowship with the brothers. Many of us took the opportunity to hike the 4.5 mile lakeside trail. We are grateful for this unique chance to see and praise God's magni
Each year on the evening of the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart and gathered before the Blessed Sacrament exposed on the altar, the monks of New Clairvaux Abbey renew our vows and consecration of our lives, monastery and Order to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In the prayer we follow our patron St. Bernard of Clairvaux in professing Jesus as our Only King, Master and Lord, our Salvation and Hope, pledging all we have and are to Him and for His Kingdom, and asking His Grace to live out our calling in fidelity and love.
This year I celebrate 50 years of priesthood. Even before I was ordained, Mass has always been the core of my life. I am not aware of ever being bored at Mass. But certainly through sleepiness or fatigue or aches and pains, my empty head was not aware of the great reality taking place at the Altar. The One who made himself our Saviour, and allows us to call him our Friend and our Brother and our Divine Bridegroom, happens likewise to be infinite, eternal, immutable, the omnipotent One and the omniscient One, Absolute Being.
We are often asked if there is a way lay persons living in the world can affiliate with and live out the Cistercian charism in their own state of life, in much the same way as the Benedictine Oblates, Third Order Franciscans, Secular Carmelites, etc., do with the charisms of these religious families. I’m pleased to say that such a group has received official affiliation with the monks of New Clairvaux known as the Lay Cistercians. Our group is recognized by the International Association of Lay Cistercians, which has member groups around the world.
If ever two lives were bound up together in thought and purpose and love it was the lives of Jesus and Mary. From the moment of Mary's YES to the angel Gabriel, the Holy Spirit infused the Soul of Jesus into the miraculous Body being formed in the womb of Mary. Their Union did not cease at Jesus's Birth, but their communion of mind and heart continues into Heaven.
Lessons from a Monastery: Now that we are in the new gothic church we are currently in the process of dismantling our former church. For monks who profess a vow of stability, we consider the passing of an era in the life of a monastery from the viewpoint of eternity or at least try to if at all possible for a human. Our elder monks have witnessed moving from worshiping and praying in the upper room of the old Stanford mansion to the church structure that is currently being torn down.
Because Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week occurred on March 25th, the feast of the Annunciation of Mary had to be transferred to today, April 9th.
The Archangel Gabriel was sent from heaven to ask the Virgin Mary to be the Benefactor of the human race. She was to be the chosen method and the chosen Woman who would enable God to become a member of His created human race.
Who, we might ask, actually witnessed the moment when the soul of Jesus re-entered his body and escaped from the tomb? Certainly all the angels in heaven. And probably all the souls that Jesus had just that hour freed from the "prison" of Sheol.
From a homily by Fr. Paul Jerome Konkler: As we approach Palm Sunday and Good Friday, we are watching Jesus preparing for his death by which he redeemed us. Most monks follow St Benedict's advice to be mindful frequently of their death. Far from being a morose thought, this mindfulness enables us to escape wasting our precious time on the trivialities of life, and to live with richer meaning. By offering our difficulties and pangs and sacrifices in prayerful union with Jesus, we are bound to him in saving the souls he loves and wants to bring to his Heavenly Father.
A Lenten Homily by Fr. Paul Jerome - Jesus carrying his cross through Jerusalem to Calvary, a mystery of our faith: Jesus eagerly receives the cross from his executioners. He falls at least three times, and gets up each time for our encouragement. He meets his grieving Mother, and the other holy women who have been following him. He revealed to St Bernard his most grievous pain came from the cross rubbing on his shoulder until all the flesh and muscle tissue was torn down to the bone. He gave us the example of receiving help from Simon the Cyrenian when he needed help.
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