RSS

Tag Archives: monks

ST SHENOUTE: THOSE WHO STUMBLE OVER FAULTS AND SINS CAN DRAW ENCOURAGEMENT FROM HIM

“On … 1st July, one of the saints remembered by the wider Christian Church is St Shenoute. He was born around the year 340 in Shenalolet in Egypt. St Shenoute became a monk at the Dair-al-Abiad monastery near Stripe. In 385, after the death of the abbot, St Shenoute was chosen as the new abbot.

He ruled the monastery in a very strict way

He ruled the monastery in a very strict way. A new innovation he brought in was the requirement for every monk and nun to sign an oath to adhere to a strict pattern of life that led to holiness. Any violation to the rule was severely punished. As well as running a strict rule of life in the monastery, St Shenoute saw to it that outside the monastery any vestiges of paganism or heresy were eliminated. Despite this harshness, or because of it, over 2,200 monks and 1,800 nuns joined the religious communities of St Shenoute. He became the head of all the other monastic abbots in the area and became known as one of the outstanding figures of monasticism in Egypt at that time.

Although very strong in certain matters, St Shenoute had a compassionate streak as well. When prisoners and property were taken in a local war, the King promised St Shenoute some property. However, St Shenoute asked instead for the prisoners, whom he released. He provided them with some money to enable them to return to their loved ones. We are told these prisoners went away glorifying God and his saint, St Shenoute.

If we believe the biographer of St Shenoute, he lived to be 118 years old. He is recorded as dying in the year 466. Many suggest that St Shenoute doesn’t come across as positively as some of the ‘nicer’ saints like St Therese or St Francis. But perhaps his personality and harshness shows us that sanctity is possible for people with character flaws and faults. Thus, for those of us who stumble over faults and sins, we can draw encouragement from St Shenoute.”

– Spiritual Thought from Fr Chris/June 2015

Advertisements
 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

ARE YOU CALLED TO JOIN THE FRANCISCANS?

“THE FRANCISCANS – THE FRIARS MINOR CONVENTUAL

THE GREYFRIARS

Saint Francis is the inspiration for humanity. Through his example and his teachings Saint Francis has become a symbol of peace, of the environment and love of the poor.

This is reflected in the life and work of the modern Friar. Saint Francis inspired St Maximilian Kolbe to the extent of being proclaimed not only a Saint but the ‘Patron of the 20th Century’. We, the friars, are striving to continue the work that he began. The Crusade of Mary Immaculate as his work is known in Great Britain and Ireland.

The Friar Minor Conventual lives in community. Loneliness is the scourge of many in the world today. We each need others to care for, to respond to, to share with, to help, and for them to help us. The Franciscan community strives to provide these needs as best as it can by lives centred on Christ, a life of prayer and service for all.

Missions and parishes form the main aspect of our work in these Islands.

Write for further information to:
The Vocations Director
St Patrick’s Friary,
26 Cornwall Road, Waterloo
London SE1 8TW

(For Ireland)
The Vocations Director
Visitation Friary,
Fairview Strand
Fairview
Dublin 3 “

 
 

Tags: , ,

DO YOU FEEL CALLED TO SEEK GOD IN A SPIRIT OF SILENCE?

“CISTERCIAN MONKS

÷ Do you feel called to seek God as a Cistercian monk within a Community, living in prayer and work, in a spirit of silence? ÷

Write to: Novice Director, Sancta Maria Abbey, Nunraw, Haddington, EH41 4LW Scotland

Email: nunraw.abbot@yahoo.co.uk
Tel. : +44 (0) 1620 830 223
Web : http://www.nunraw.org.uk [external link]
(Scottish Charity No. SC022611)”

 
 

Tags: , ,

CLOISTERED LIFE: SOLITUDE AND SILENCE IN CHRIST

THE CLOISTERED LIFE WITHIN THE CHURCH

“The choice of the cloister is rooted in the desire to make a total donation of oneself to the Beloved in the solitude and silence of a life entirely hidden in Him. In spite of the apparent separation from the world, the cloistered life is endowed with ‘an exceptional apostolic efficacy.’ Separated from everyone, the cloistered soul gives itself to everyone and embraces everyone in its prayers and sacrifices.

WHAT IS THE CLOISTER?

The cloister is the radical choice of a consecrated life, a dedication to make contemplation the habitual dimension of one’s daily life; it is a ‘directing of oneself to the heavenly Jerusalem, in anticipation of the eschatological Church… an exigency – felt of primary importance – to ALWAYS BE WITH THE LORD… Rooted in this spiritual tension, the cloister is not only an ascetical means of immense value, but A MODE OF LIVING THE LORD’S PASCH,’ an involvement in His experience of death and life. It is the generous and ready response to a special call ‘welcomed as a gift and free response of love.’

It is above all a perennial passage from the CELL which isolates to the CELL which opens in a universal dimension: that of the heart which welcomes the presence of the Beloved and, in Him, the whole world. Charity, through the exercise of the evangelical counsels and the tension of the spirit, swells up within the cell of the heart which has limited its contacts and avoids dispersing its love. This charity pulsates within the very Heart of the Beloved and, in union with Him, heads out towards all those in misery and all the needs of the world.

In this way the cloister becomes the ‘city set on a mountain’ (Mt 5:14) towards which – whether aware of it or not – everyone turns in expectation and from which there spreads an efficacious contribution for the recapitulation of all things in Christ. Despite its appearance to the contrary, the cloister is endowed with an exceptional apostolic efficacy which gives support to the Church’s hierarchical apostolate. For their brothers in the world, the cloistered life is a bit like Moses with his arms raised in an attitude of prayer, or even like the image of Jesus Himself who prays on the mountain.

Its contribution of grace and prayer for everyone in the Church and the world is of incommensurable value. With its example of poverty, obedience and chastity, it collaborates in the moral renewal of society before which it stands as a prophetic presence, a persuasive recall, and a fraternal gift of supernatural values. The spirit of the Beatitudes extends beyond the grill and diffuses everywhere a strong entreaty of love, forgiveness and peace. And it is not out of place that, in fulfilling some type of work which is compatible with the Rule and its proper traditions, the cloister might participate in the life of society.

THE RADICAL NATURE OF CLOISTERED LIFE

Every type of vocation offers a unique form of behaviour and a unique set of tasks in view of its final end: the sanctification of oneself and of others. The cloistered life is no exception. Yes, it is a call which, in itself, is not the typical STANDARD; hence, it is not comparable with any other form of Christian existence. Yet from this unmistakable, unique character there flows its behaviour and its tasks, as well as its aim for holiness and, in the end, for glory.

Jesus, ‘having loved His own who were in the world, loved them to the end’ (Jn 13:1). This radical nature of love and dedication is harmoniously reflected in the concerto of the cloistered life and becomes its DIAPASON. It is from the community choir that there emanates what is pre-eminently distinctive about the cloister: sacrificial love in following and imitating Christ ‘who has not come to be served, but to serve’ (Mt 20:28).

Yet sacrificial love never exempts itself from its radical need for unity: indeed, it is a unitive love which repeats that COR UNUM ET ANIMA UNA (Acts 4:32) within the ambit of the cloister, in order to overcome any form of egoism. The tension of such a love cannot leave out the unavoidable meaning of love itself; to desire the good of the one loved. From this there issues that missionary love which turned the Saint of Lisieux into the Patroness of the Missions and which should stir up an apostolic, missionary flame in every cloister and bring about their meaningful commitment towards others.”
– “The Cloistered Life Within the Church” Part V, by Brunero Gherardini was published in De Vita Contemplativa, Monthly Magazine for Monasteries, Year VII – Number 5 May 2013. Contact: fsi.lanherne@talktalk.net

 
 

Tags: , , , , ,

“HAIL HOLY QUEEN” – THIS BEAUTIFUL TRIBUTE TO MAMA MARY IS ALSO A TRIBUTE TO THE COURAGE OF THE DISABLED YOUNG BOY WHO WROTE IT: HERMANN THE LAME

“Has it ever happened to you that some prayer you have traditionally recited, something that you have read, and which you have enjoyed so much in the past, suddenly takes on a new dimension, and becomes part of your very thinking and praying?

SALVE REGINA

At St Bartholomew’s church, Norbury, London, on the eve of Our Lady’s Nativity, at the end of Mass the celebrant, the deacon and the altar server processed, not to the sacristy as we were expecting, but to the altar of Our Blessed Lady, and there the priest intoned the first words of that lovely hymn, the Salve Regina, which we know as the ‘Hail Holy Queen’. To my surprise and delight most of the congregation followed Father’s lead in exuberantly celebrating Mary in Latin. I fairly frequently slip into St Bartholomew’s for Saturday morning Mass, and never in my experience has the celebrant or the congregation paid such a tribute to Our Blessed Lady in such a lovely way.

THE IRISH CONNECTION

Little did that Saturday morning congregation know that it was a handicapped boy who was responsible for making St Bartholomew’s church reverberate with Mary’s praise. There’s a little bit of Ireland in the German isle of Reichenau. In the eighth century some Irish monks set up cells on the island, and became famed for the beautiful manuscripts they made, just as the monks in Ireland around that same time were composing the Book of Kells, and in Lindisfarne they were producing the incredibly beautiful Lindisfarne Gospel.

ONE DAY HERMANN THE LAME WAS WHEELED TO THE MONASTERY…

One day a handicapped boy, Hermann the Lame, was wheeled to the monastery, and the monks – with their traditional graciousness – took him in as a member of the family. (I like the way he is called in theological books Hermannus Contractus). But Hermann the Lame had no time for self-pity. He took to study as an ordinary youngster takes to football. He became famed for theology, astronomy, history, poetry and music. One of his hymns he composed has become internationally famous. It was Hermann the Lame who composed the Salve Regina. In the Divine Office the antiphon Salve Regina is said by every priest in the Catholic Church twice every day from Trinity Sunday to Advent after Lauds and Compline. There are four antiphons to Our Blessed Lady in the Divine Office, and the Salve Regina is the oldest. It is said that St Bernard was so touched by it that he added the supreme finale, ‘O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria’.

THE MONKS SURROUNDED THE STATUE IN SEMI-DARKNESS…

I have frequently made my annual retreat with the Benedictines at St Michael’s Abbey, Farnborough, Hampshire, often late in the year when darkness sets in early. The monks’ last liturgical prayer in church is Compline, and Compline ends with the Salve Regina. At the end of the Office all lights were switched off except a flood light shining on Our Blessed Lady. The monks surrounded the statue in semi-darkness. The Abbot intoned Salve Regina, and the monks continued the hymn, and at the end moved silently off to study or to bed.

It is wonderful to think that a tribute to Mary is also a tribute to the courage of a young boy who conquered a crippling disability so magnificently so many years ago.”
– This article by The Late Br. Dennis Robert FSC was published in “The Crusader Magazine” issue June 2013; for donations and subscriptions please contact: All Saints Friary, Redclyffe Road, Manchester M41 7LG

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

PRAYER FOR PRIESTLY AND RELIGIOUS VOCATIONS

O Lord, send workers for Your harvest, so that the commands of Your only-begotten Son may always be obeyed and His Sacrifice be everywhere renewed.

Look with favour upon Your family, and ever increase its numbers. Enable it to lead its sons and daughters to the holiness to which they are called and to work for the salvation of others. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Tags: , , ,

DO YOU FEEL CALLED TO SEEK GOD AS A MONK?

÷ SANCTA MARIA ABBEY, SCOTLAND ÷

Do you feel called to seek God as
a Cistercian monk
within a community,
living in prayer and work,
in a spirit of silence?

Please write to:
Novice Director
Nunraw Abbey
Haddington
EH41 4LW
Scotland

Or email:
nunraw.abbot@yahoo.co.uk

Web:
http://www.nunraw.org.uk (external link)

 

Tags: , , , ,