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Twenty-third Sunday of the Year (B)

Is 35:4-7; Psalm 145; Jas 2:1-5; Mk 7:31-37

The promises of the first reading are arresting, consoling, comforting, encouraging and — fulfilled in Jesus Christ.  We don’t have to take time over a Christology lesson here.  The first reading and gospel make us feel we are at Christmas Eve mass at Mepkin with the cornucopia of promise and fulfillment readings that usher us into our celebration of Jesus’ nativity!!  And so our souls give praise to God for loving us and acting in our behalf as demonstrated in Jesus’ birth, ministry, passion, death, resurrection, ascension and sending forth the Spirit.

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Are we helping them to hear the call?

At times it seems there is a collective sigh going up from God’s people and a little moaning attached to the question: “Why aren’t there more vocations in the church today?”  Everyone has a call.  God is certainly inviting some to marriage, some to single life, some to vowed life as a religious sister or brother in apostolic service, some to priesthood, and yes, some to the monastic way.

God has not stopped calling.  We acknowledge there are generous men and women seeking to know God’s will in their lives.  We sense there is something amiss – perhaps lacking.  And we wonder what to do.

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Brother Juan and Brother Martin receive the novice habit for the Solemnity of the Assumption

On the eve of the Solemnity if the Assumption during chapter and before Compline, Abbot Stan clothed Brother Juan and Brother Martin in the novice habit.  Having listened to a reading of a portion of the Prologue and chapter 72 of the Rule of Saint Benedict, the Abbot instructed our brothers in the way of life to which they are giving themselves, exhorting them to be men of prayer, study, regard for their brothers and resolved to constant mindfulness of God.

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Brother Robert receives the novice habit

On Saturday evening, October 31st, the Eve of All Saints, the Mepkin community gathered in the chapter room of the monastery with our abbot, Dom Stanislaus, to pray with Brother Robert, as he was clothed with the novice habit.  Having completed a year of prayer and study as a postulant, living the life fully with all the brothers in the community and having come to believe God is calling him to advance in this monastic way, Robert had asked to receive the novice habit and his request was met with a favorable reply.  A novice wears a white robe, as do all monks, and the white scapular and white cloth belt that identify him as a novice.  Over these garments he wears a white cloak.  The cloak is worn by novices and those in temporary or simple vows.  Robert joins Brother Juan and Brother Martin in the two further years of prayer and study that are the preparation for profession of simple vows.

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