At chapter this morning we began our annual retreat for the year with the opening conference. It will run for a full week and conclude with next Sunday’s chapter. It will be a week of ‘hermit days’ devoted to a bit more silence and solitude, refreshment and renewal. The Abbey Church and bread store will remain open but there will be no mid-day prayer at @ 12 noon celebrated in Church. That, along with the other ‘little hours’, will be prayed privately while Mass and the other hours will be celebrated in Church as usual.
Our retreat director this year is Fr. Mark Butlin, OSB coming all the way from Ampleforth Abbey in England. Fr. Mark is the Associate Director of the Monastic Formators’ Program and has a wide international experience working for A.I.M. with responsibilities for Asia and English-Speaking Africa. Previouly he ran the Recyclage (Renewal) Programme at Sant’ Anselmo in Rome. He has been giving monastic retreats to monks and nuns throughout the world for several years.
A.I.M. is the abbreviation for Alliance for International Monasticism (AIM USA) which is an organization of approximately 115 Benedictine/Cistercian Monasteries of men and women in the United States and Canada and over 400 communities in Asia, Africa, and Latin America who follow the Rule of Benedict. For more information visit their web site at AIM USA and scroll down to AIM USA.
Catholic Courier Article
The current edition of our diocesan paper features a rundown of the religious communities serving the Church in the Rochester diocese for the past 150 years. You will find the article at Catholic Courier. A few entries down from the top our community is mentioned highlighting our porter of many years who frequent visitors and retreatants will surely recognize.
Contemplation is about waking up. Simply defined, to be a contemplative is to experience an event fully, in all its aspects. Biblically this is expressed as knowing ‘face to face’ (1 Cor. 13:12-13).
What is implied in that phrase is that we are in contemplation when we stand before reality and experience it without the limits and distortions that are created by narcissism, pragmatism, and excessive restlessness. To be contemplative is to be full awake to all the dimensions within ordinary experience.
The Shattered Lantern
Ronald Rolheiser, O.M.I.