In keeping with the Constitutions of the Order our Father Immediate, the Abbot of Gethsemani, our mother house, Dom Elias Dietz, OCSO, arrived on Monday, April 21st to open our community’s visitation. As stated in the Constitutions each monastery of the Order is to be visited by the Father Immediate or a delegate every two years. During the course of the week he met with every member of the community and closed the Visitation at last Sunday’s chapter meeting and departed this past Monday, May 1st.
In his report Dom Elias mentioned the generally energetic tone of the house. He felt that settling into the renovated church, improvements in our liturgical life and reorganization of aspects of our work program were contributing factors. He also noted that the words most spoken by the brothers describing the community were friendly, supportive, and free of serious tension. We, on our part, are grateful for the generally positive outcome of the visitation.
Among the few points that need to be reviewed and improved upon the horarium came in for special mention. Even though we have been discussing the daily schedule for several years now and have made significant changes there is still some work to be done to bring it more in line with the norms of our Constitutions which state: Because the Work of God is a means of sanctifying the day, each hour is to be celebrated at the time assigned to it determined according to Cistercian tradition and local custom (st 19.1.A/m).
According to these norms the hours of the Office are to be celebrated at their proper hours as much as possible especially for contemplative communities. The two hours that need some adjusting are Vespers (an evening office) and Compline (a night office) which we seem to be celebrating too early. Moving the major hours of Vigils, Vespers and Compline ahead one hour would be more in keeping with the spirit of the Liturgy. Of course other considerations of the daily schedule have to be taken into consideration at the same time. So, it appears we are in for some interesting community discussions in response to Dom Elias’ recommendations.
Center For Cistercian & Monastic Studies
Tomorrow our Fr. Isaac will leave for Western Michigan University to participate in the annual Cistercian Studies Conference. He will be giving a conference on Thursday, May 11th on “The Word Runs Swiftly”: the Symbolism of “Running” in Bernard and William. (That is the Cistercians St. Bernard of Clairvaux and William of St. Thierry).
For more information go to the Cistercian and Monastic Studies page and follow the blog. He will return next Sunday.
Fr. Jerome has updated our Welcome Center and Store renovation project complete with a mini-tour of the completed drawings so far. At our recent building committee meeting we pretty well completed the initial design stage. Next in line is for the architect to finalize the detailed plans and put the project out for bids. You’ll find it on the Progress Report Page.
Speaking of schedule change there will be a change in the time for Mass on Thursday, May 25th, Ascension Thursday, a Holy Day of Obligation. Mass will be celebrated then at 9:30 AM. Our complete daily liturgical schedule can be found on our web site at Daily Liturgical Schedule.
After all our trials have ceased, our life will be taken up entirely with God’s praises. Therefore, it is our custom to commemorate this peaceful and blissful state by chanting Alleluia more frequently and joyfully during these fifty days.
In the book of Revelation, John the Evangelist says that he heard the throngs of heavenly powers singing this word. And the venerable father, Tobit, perceiving something of the glory of the citizens on high and the splendor of the heavenly Jerusalem, described it with these mystical words:
All the streets shall be paved with white and clean stones,
and, Alleluia shall be sung in its streets. (Tobit 13:22)
St. Bede the Venerable
Quoted in: Your Hearts Will Rejoice
Ludolph of Saxony, Carthusian