Solemnity of the Founders of the Cistercian Order
Today throughout the Cistercian Order we are celebrating the Solemnity of the Order’s beginnings by Saints Robert, Alberic and Stephen in 1098. The Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (also known as “Trappists”) is a Roman Catholic contemplative religious order, consisting of monasteries of monks and monasteries of nuns. We are part of the larger Cistercian family which traces its origin to 1098. As Cistercians we follow the Rule of St Benedict, and so are part of the Benedictine family as well. Our lives are dedicated to seeking union with God, through Jesus Christ, in a community of sisters or brothers. You will find an interesting summary of the Order’s foundation on the Order’s web page.Doubtless each community has its own way of celebrating the occasion. Here at Genesee we introduced a new practice by having a communal renewal of our monastic vows during the celebration of Mass. After Fr. Stephen’s homily all of the professed monks recited in common the vow formula: I, Father/Brother N., reaffirm my profession and promise my stability, my fidelity to the monastic way of life, and obedience until death in accordance with the Rule of Saint Benedict, Abbot. Of course, the day’s festivities included a feast day meal at dinner.
This is the mystery of God we find so inscrutable. We live in this world, where God is not so manifest as tangible things are, but can be sought and found only when the heart sets out on the “exodus” from “Egypt”.
It is in this world that we are obliged to resist the delusions of false philosophies and to recognize that we do not live by bread alone, but first and foremost by obedience to God’s word. Only when this obedience is put into practice does the attitude develop that is also capable of providing bread for all.
Jesus of Nazareth
Pope Benedict XVI