Most of you who are Oblates are familiar with the oft-quoted verse from the Rule stating that “the life of a monk ought to be a continuous Lent” (49:1). That gem of wisdom also applies to every Christian insofar as we all need to struggle relentlessly against sinful tendencies, live in a spirit of compunction of heart and repentance, and perform those penances that will open the way to God’s healing, transforming graces. It has also been said that the life of a Christian can be regarded as a continual Advent; that is, every Christian, placing his hope in God alone, trusts in His promises and waits longingly for their fulfillment. The notion…
God often lets us be thrown off balance,
but He never leaves us without His sustaining
presence and the grace to remain firmly rooted in
His love. This past June I went away for five
whole days to give a retreat, and on my return to
the Archabbey I bemoaned the fact that my usual
control over my work load was in shambles.
Furthermore, a few days after my return I was
asked to move the Oblate Office from Roderick
202 to Leander 116. When I initially heard the
news, I appropriately responded, “Yes, of course…
How much time and energy we spend trying to overcome suffering! Human remedies sometimes do bring us significant relief, and these can indeed be mediated gifts from God. In most cases, however, there is no lasting remedy despite all the powers of science and technology. In our pilgrimage of faith we know that the only ultimate consolation for our suffering comes from the Cross, whereby Christ compassionately unites us with Himself and shares our every suffering, and the Resurrection, whereby Christ gives us victory over sin, death, and discouragement and gives us new life in communion with Him. One of the means for our participation in this victory is mutual encouragement in the love of Christ..
Looking back on our experience of the Christmas Season, we might do well to consider what, if anything, brought us genuine joy during our celebration of Christ’s nativity. Most likely, it was not elaborate decorations, festive food, or material gifts. These elements of Christmas celebrations surely can contribute to our entering into the joyful mystery of the Incarnation, but in and of themselves they cannot provide true and lasting joy. In fact, they can engender disappointment and perhaps even depression if one has put hopes in the material dimension of Christmas, which is so overemphasized in the media…