In keeping with the ancient Benedictine practice, this past Friday, Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, we began our annual monastic fast, often called little Lent. Both breakfast and dinner are simplified somewhat. But since September is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross it began on the 15th. The fast does not apply on Sundays and Feast Days.
It is also the day we begin wearing the monastic cowls at Vigils, Lauds, Vespers and Mass which we will continue wearing until mid-May when they are removed due to the warmer weather. Most of the time this coincides with the arrival of cooler weather but as often happens the warmer weather prevailed. And since the warmer weather is currently prevailing we will not wear the cowls until it cools down again.
Pictured here is Br. Gregory wearing the cowl on his profession day several years ago.
Beatification of the Trappist Martyrs of Algeria Due
News item from the Order’s Home Page: “On 1st September in Rome, a meeting was held (Bishops of Algeria and Postulator) with the Superiors General or representatives of the 8 religious Congregations involved in the Cause. At the end of this meeting, it was decided that the celebration of the beatification would take place on December 8, 2018 in the basilica of Santa Cruz in Oran (Algeria).” The complete article can be found on the Order’s Website.
From the Wikipedia Website: “On the night of 26–27 March 1996, seven monks from the Atlas Abbey of Tibhirine, near Médéa, Algeria, belonging to the Roman Catholic Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (known as Trappists) were kidnapped during the Algerian Civil War. They were held for two months, and found dead in late May 1996. The circumstances of their kidnapping and death remain controversial; the Armed Islamic Group (Groupe Islamique Armé, GIA) claimed responsibility for both, but in 2009, retired General François Buchwalter reported that the monks were killed by the Algerian army. “
If you are unfamiliar with the story of the Algerian Martyrs you may be interested in seeing the video version, OF GOD’S AND MEN.
Attentive, affective, intelligent and reflective listening to the Word of God gives the spirit an attitude of obedience which sheds its light on a person’s whole life in the midst of multiple activities, whether inter or external.
Agreement of the human will with the divine will finds in spiritual practices, just as in physical practices, the means of growing and deepening. In them, grace and freedom are joined in a love which is always being put to the test, but which passes these tests right up till the end.
Pathways of Peace
Charles Dumont, OCSO