FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT
O come, thou Key of David, come, And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high, and close the path to misery.
To you, O Christ all glory be Whose advent sets your people free;
Whom with the Father, we adore and Holy Spirit, ever more.
Rejoice, Rejoice! O Israel, To thee shall come Emmanuel.
(O antiphon for 2nd Vespers)
Advent Calm 
Things have been relatively calm and quiet here at the Abbey this past week. The somber, gray skies and record breaking warm weather undoubtedly were contributing factors. Hard to believe that last year about this time we were having record breaking cold and snow. The only hint of the coming of Christmas has been the lighted advent candle in church. Sure sign of good things to come.
Things will change this week becoming a bit more hectic as the brethren will head for the woods for our Christmas tree and begin decorating it in the refectory. Christmas cribs and wreaths and flowers will spring up along with various decorations, especially the display of the greeting cards sent by our friends.
Speaking of change here is our Mass Schedule for Christmas and New Years.
EXCEPTIONS FOR CHRISTMAS
1:00 AM Christmas Vigils & Midnight Mass
9:30 AM Christmas Day Mass
EXCEPTION FOR NEW YEARS
9:30 AM Mass
The daily Mass schedule including the changes can be found
on our Daily Liturgical Schedule  web page.
During the past week we resumed our community discussions on the master plan for our buildings. Three major projects are on the table: remodel the reception center to allow for more room for the store including a quiet area away from the store for visitors and enlarging Merton Hall for receiving groups, providing better toilet facilities especially for groups; providing a senior wing for the cells of our elders; the building of a new retreat house to replace Bethlehem which is in need of major repairs and becoming more costly to maintain.
As is to be expected the community is somewhat divided over which project to undertake, how much can we afford, and a host of related questions though the majority favor moving ahead with the reception center. We’ve had two discussions in small groups and will be having a large, community discussion shortly. We’re counting on that ‘miracle of dialogue’ which the author Reuel Howe speaks of in his book: The Miracle of Dialogue.
So many kinds of Advent consolation stream from the mysterious figure of the blessed, expectant Mary. The gray horizons must grow light. It is only the immediate scene that shouts so loudly and insistently
Beyond these things is a different realm, one that is now in our midst. The woman has conceived the child, sheltered it beneath her heart, and given birth to the Son. The world has come under a different law.
We are not speaking of only historical events that happened once, on which our salvation rests. Advent is the promise denoting the new order of things, of life, of our existence.
When the Time Was Fulfilled
Fr. Alfred Delp