Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The miracle of simplicity

My wife and I made it to Blue Cloud Abbey last Saturday. It was a precious experience to take part in the Golden Jubilee (50 year anniversary) of three monks.

They renewed their life profession vows, and we took part in the singing of Psalm 119:116 (118:116 in Roman Catholic usage) and Doxology, the profession prayer prescribed in Chapter 58 of the Rule of St. Benedict:

Uphold me, O Lord my God, according to your promise and I shall live. And do not confound me in all my hope and expectation. Glory be to the Father and to his only Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Abbot Denis preached with wonderful simplicity and clarity. He made the amazing half-century perseverance of his monks into an encouragement to all of us in the commitments we seek to keep each day.

"What makes a monastic vocation?," he asked from the pulpit.

"It's doing what we heard it the Bible reading," he said, returning us all to a passage that applies to any Christian in any endeavor:

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
Colossians 3:12-17

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