A May sharing by Father Paul Mark Schwan: "The month of May has arrived. Memories from childhood flood my mind of the close of the school year, a flurry of outdoor activities to clean flowerbeds, prepare the vegetable garden for planting, work the fields, plant the crops, and watch the cows as they calved. I also remember the annual May crowning of the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the parish church. This was done with great pomp on Mother’s Day, a special feat and privilege for the president of the Sodality of Mary. I remember the president, a high school girl, dressed in her ve
There is an intimate connection between the Divine Mercy devotion and Image and the Mercy Sunday Gospel reading (Jn 20:19-21). In the Mercy Image, Jesus is pictured as standing in front of a locked door. In the Gospel we also heard that “on the evening of that first day of the week, the doors were locked where the disciples were gathered”. The disciples had run away and abandoned Jesus when He was arrested in the garden and are still hiding, cowering in fear. We are like them.
From the Latin Hymn 'Vexilla Regis Prodeunt', which we sing at Vespers during Holy Week:
Hail, holy altar, victim hail,
for all the glory of that cross;
by which Life chose and welcomed death,
and dying gave us life once more.
Hail, Holy Cross, our only hope,
wash all our guilt and crimes away;
increase our grace while we adore,
the mystery of Passiontide.
All blessings as we enter into the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Our Redeemer King,
Your brothers of New Clairvaux
Brother Christopher shares on Joyful Penitence: “One of the ways the Constitution of our Order describes our Trappist-Cistercian life is one of “joyful penitence”. Usually people do not immediately associate penance with joy! Penance, self-denial, and mortifications may be more readily associated with sorrow and pain and seen as a burden to be avoided, or at best, a duty to be endured. Certainly sorrow for sin, what the monastic tradition calls ‘Penthos’, a sorrow leading to Compunction of Heart, is an essential element. However, another element of the practice of penance is truly JOY.
As we continue Lent, I would like once again to share with you one of my favorite stories on forgiveness— An older man was sitting comfortably in the commuter train quietly reading his morning newspaper when he felt a sudden tap on his shoulder, and turned to see a young man who had gently scooted into the vacant seat beside him. “Pardon me, sir,” said the young man shyly, “I’m sorry to disturb you, but may I ask you for a favor? You see, the next stop of this train that we will be reaching in a few minutes is my hometown.
A sharing from Fr. Thomas on a form of monastic meditation very appropriate for Lent: "Back in 1952 as a novice in the Abbey of Gethsemani, I first came to hear of the monastic bishop, Isaac of Nineveh (c 613 – c 700). Since then, I’ve dipped into Isaac from time to time. He speaks of two forms of meditation. One is simply reflecting on any aspect of the life of Christ. He refers to aspects of the life of Christ as mysteries. That the Second Person of the Holy Trinity should take on a human nature and go to the extent of a passion and death on the cross is, indeed, a mystery.
A message of Importance from Br. Christopher: “Do not put a limit on the importance of each little act, each little prayer. We have the temptation to succumb to a human way of thinking about prayer: that a little cause equals a little effect. However in prayer this is not true. The effect is measured rather by the One we pray to: Unlimited Grace! Each little prayer is like putting a little hole in a dam, but behind the dam is the full power of the overflowing ocean of grace that will burst through!
Br. Peter Damian shares on the Journey of Lent: "The forty days of the Lenten journey reminds us that the people of Israel spent forty years in the desert, a long journey in which they were struggling with themselves, but at the same time a period in which they experienced the closeness of God and of special grace for them. The Lord cared for them and accompanied them moving forward to the Promised Land (Deut. 27).
Father Paul Mark comments on the General Chapter and the new normal: “I traveled to Italy this past month of February to attend our international Order’s General Chapter, Part I, held in Assisi. The General Chapter, Part II will resume this coming September. It was my first international trip in three years. I was not overly enthused about the trip given the paper work to prepare, Covid testing required, and the possible cancellation of flights, which indeed did happen. On one hand the trip was rather perfunctory, that is, drive to the airport, board a plane, land in Rome, board a bus t
Br. Christopher speaks on preparing for Lent: “In a few days it will be Ash Wednesday, and we will once again be entering the penitential season of Lent. Our thoughts turn to the usual question: what will I do this year? What offering will I make? What will I give up? Often Lent calls to mind such acts as giving up chocolates or putting a few extra dollars in the collection plate. While these are fine observances, it might be well to spend the next few days in prayer reflecting and asking God the following questions: What might be our biggest obstacles to growing closer to Him?