08 July 2011

The earth, my monastery

The sacrifices involved in monastic life are frequently chronicled, but we ought not to forget the hundredfold. There is a certain beauty that is a consequence of spending most of one's life in a single pursuit, attached to one place, and living with the same people. We are at liberty to be ourselves, no longer hiding behind facades or masks.

Yet this self is more than the fleeting persona of the this present moment; it is a self that stretches expansively over many years and decades, full of seeming contradictions and subject to so many vicissitudes. We are surrounded by so many memories of times past, of people now in heaven, of projects completed or left undone, of trees planted, of griefs and joys.

As we pass through the monastery and listen to the echoes embedded in its walls, the refrain we hear is, This is your life. Because of these voices we are compelled to live at a high level of truthfulness, since we cannot escape from what we have been and still are. A strong sense of continuity develops, and a deeper feeling of acceptance. This is where I belong. This is my home. Here I live; here I will die.

Strangers to the City
Reflections on the Beliefs and Values of the Rule of St. Benedict
Michael Casey, OCSO

pie chart

01 July 2011

Corpus Christi

It is only because God himself is the eternal dialogue of love that he can speak and be spoken to. Only because he himself is relationship can we relate to him; only because he is love can he love and be loved in return. Only because he is threefold can he be the grain of wheat which dies and the bread of eternal life.

Ultimately, then, Corpus Christi is an expression of faith in God, in love, in the fact that God is love. All that is said and done on Corpus Christi is in fact a single variation on the theme of love, what it is and what it does. In one of his Corpus Christi hymns Thomas Aquinas puts it beautifully: love does not consume: it gives and, in giving, receives. And in giving it is not used up but renews itself.

Since Corpus Christi is a confession of faith in love, it is totally appropriate that the day should focus on the mystery of transubstantiation. Love is transubstantiation, transformation. Corpus Christi tells us: Yes, there is such a thing as love, and therefore there is transformation, therefore there is hope. And hope gives us the strength to love and face the world.

Perhaps it was good to have experienced doubts about the meaning of celebrating Corpus Christi, for it has led us to the rediscovery of a feast which, today, we need more than ever.

Pope Benedict XVI

View from the cross

Always united in the shadow of the Cross,
under the protection of this lovely heart.
E. Bouasse-Jeune