I arrived at Mepkin abbey in the beginning of September. The weather was warm and clear and the days were starting to get shorter, giving every prayer at compline a unique character as the sun set over river and cast its last burning rays through the high church windows while the monks sang to God, asking for his protection through the night.
Whether at church singing, in my cell praying, walking through the beautiful gardens, or even snipping micro-greens for work, I found myself completely immersed in the monastery’s peacefulness and quiet I had read about.
Every day was alike and structured in a rhythm with bells and buzzers ensuring you stay on schedule. There is nothing to worry about in the immediate future. Sing, pray, read, eat – no worries. It is a precious gift, a peek into paradise. Earthly cares receded, and the trivial clamour that occupied my thoughts slowly dissipated. I could explore the excellent library at my leisure, pray with more clarity and peace than ever before and more freely accept God’s love through the brothers.
But, after all, Mepkin is still on planet earth. Petty grievances, resentment, frustration, pride, sin. It was all still in me. Glimpsing transcendence is not the same as attaining it. The struggle to be who we are called to be does not end by walking through a gate, far less so if only for a month!
But here at Mepkin, the living of my faith could attain a higher pitch. Not that I emerged from the monastery with a Zen-like wisdom, but that Mepkin is a place where God speaks. And if one goes there with even a shred of openness, one will hear far more than may be understood or obeyed. One will have a glimpse into God’s love and will not be able to leave entirely unaffected.Read More »
Please join us in praying for the men who are discerning a call to our life. Four will be making a first visit during December: Steven, Carmine, Michael, Bruce Michael and Adam. One will be making his second visit during December: Matt. Three have asked to make a first visit during January: Leo, Paul and David. And we ask you prayers for Joe who has visited a number of times and will be coming for a three month observership in the summer of 2012.Read More »
On Saturday evening, December 3rd, in the chapter room of Mepkin Abbey, Father Jonas Palmares, having completed a year as a postulant, was clothed as a novice by Dom Stanislaus, our abbot. A novice wears a white robe, as do all monks, and the white scapular and white cloth belt which identify him in the two further years of prayer and study that are the preparation for profession of vows. Over these garments he wears a white cloak. The cloak is worn by novices and those in temporary or simple vows.
Father Jonas came to us from the Archdiocese of Lipa in the Philippines where he had been serving as the chancellor of his diocese for eleven years. Ordained a priest for twenty years on November 20th, with the permission of his archbishop he began a process of discernment of a call to the monastic life three years ago. During his lengthy discernment he visited a number of monasteries both in the Philippines and in North America. The conviction grew in him and was affirmed by our community that the call was to Trappist life here at Mepkin.
We pray in gratitude to God for calling Father Jonas to our life and ask you to join us in praying for him that he may persevere in the path to which God has led him.Read More »
Some 4000 years ago and 8000 miles from Mepkin, God appeared to a certain Abraham in the flourishing city of Ur of the Chaldeans. God invited him to leave his country, his kindred and his father’s house and come to a land that God would show him. Reflecting on this story some 2000 years later, St Paul remarked that through Abraham’s obedience God was able to make of him the Spiritual Father of us all. Moving ahead another 400 years, we find John Cassian in the Egyptian desert sitting at the feet of Abba Paphnutius. The old man is telling the young monk that this call of Abraham is still very much alive and is at the heart of the monastic vocation. We, too, are called to leave our country, our kindred and our father’s house and to follow Christ even to death on the cross.
Fast forward another 1700 years to Lipa City, Philippines, near the bustling city of Manila – about 10,000 miles from Mepkin. You, Father Jonas, a somewhat sickly son of a Philippine Air Force officer and a school teacher heard this same call. Through the Spirit-filled discernment of your then archbishop, later Cardinal, Rosales, you were able to follow Christ in his priesthood and to serve God’s people for many years. But the call to leave country and kindred and father’s house became even more insistent. You went to your new archbishop, and through his Spirit-filled discernment, he allowed you to pursue this call within a call. Consulting your old friend, Cardinal Rosales, you were led to Mepkin. And here on the night of May 16, 2010, you were able to imagine in a dream what your call truly was about. It meant leaving your beloved country, your family, and all else that was familiar to you. You didn’t know why, but you knew it as clearly as you knew your own name.Read More »
1st rdg Is 63:16b-17;64:1, 3-8 our father/hidden your face/clay – potter
Psalm 79 Lord makes us turn to you – see your face – we shall be saved
2nd rdg 1 Cor 1:3-9 wait for revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ
Gospel Mk 13:33-37 Be alert/stay awake ~ watch
given by Fr. Kevin Walsh
Jesus captures our attention in this morning’s reading from Mark’s gospel as he tells us to “Watch – stay awake – be alert” as we journey through Advent. We cannot be people who live a passive faith if we are to engage with our God who has promised to be with us – not simply at Bethlehem or walking the land of Judea – and not simply in the fulfillment of the second coming – but here and now, in this time and in this place.
Advent calls us to mature faith. Yes, truly with the wide-eyed wonder of children we prepare ourselves to recall the event of Jesus’ birth in a tiny village to parents fulfilling the demand for a census. However it is with adult faith that we appreciate with Saint Bernard that: “We have come to know a threefold coming of the Lord”. He came at Bethlehem, he will come at the end of the ages, he comes in our time, in our hearts. The Advent liturgy, like every sacramental reality, simultaneously evokes the past of salvation history, while promising its eschatological fulfillment and rendering both past and future present in the ‘today’ of salvation. To enter fully into Advent is to live personally the profound need of a Savior experienced by all from Adam on down through the centuries, to joyfully prepare for the mystical-sacramental re-presentation of the Incarnation, and to look in permanent expectation to the Parousia or second coming. The Lord’s coming (this is the present progressive of the verb) is met on our part with an ever deepening sense of hopeful expectation and readiness.Read More »
Ezekiel 34: 11-12, 15-17 ; 1 Cor. 15: 20 – 26, 28; Matt. 25: 31 – 46
given by Fr. Joe Tedesco
Every liturgy affirms our World view, today’s feast is central in our liturgical year because it celebrates the truth of Christ’s dominion over us. Today sets up our mandate to follow the teachings of our Shepherd King and the truth that Christ is in the world.
Matthew’s gospel describes the world that Christ constructs for us and that we live in. A world that reaches out to every person in need and that recognizes that each person belongs to Christ and indeed is Christ for us.
We’ll hear in the preface of this mass what the Kingdom of God looks like that Christ well present to the Father at the end of time when everything is destroyed which is not of God’s life and love.
It says that it is a kingdom of truth and life. It is a kingdom of holiness and grace . It is a kingdom of justice, love and peace. A kingdom where Christ is Lord and all life is sacred. A kingdom where all live in God’s presence and in the power of his spirit, a kingdom where there is right relationships with all, where charity is boundless, a kingdom where there is a clarity about everyone’s place before God and in God.
Our life as believers is a call, a duty to do our part in bringing about this kingdom. To create a world that is of Christ and in Christ. We do so, of course, by living in this reality ourselves, by living with Christ as our truth and living with all that is life giving and of the Spirit of God.
This feast then suggests for us a reflection on our stewardship of our all to action this past year in bringing about this kingdom in our lives, in our community and in our world.Read More »