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Saturday, July 05, 2008

Solemn Profession & Monastic Concecration

Liz and I received a hand painted invitation from the abbot and brothers of the "Our Lady of New Clairvaux" Monastery today announcing the Solemn Profession & Monastic Consecration of our dear and beloved friend Brother Rafael.

This is Brother Rafael.

He is in charge of the vineyards.
What a holy presence that surrounds him.

For 2 years I was allowed to attend a men's small group reflection / discussion lead by Father Paul at the monastery.

Brother Placid and Brother Rafael also attended.

I got to know Brother Rafael during the sessions and

enjoyed listening to his wonderful insights and wisdom.

It is the Cistercian conviction that the inner self learns through experience.

Thus the purpose of each step in formation and discernment of vocation is to lead the person to a spiritual experience. This experience leaves its trace in the memory as an insight, a grasping or seeing, as a gift of the Holy Spirit.

Ultimately this is an insight into God, but begins with self understanding. St. Bernard writes that as we experience the truth of ourselves, both our nobility and sinfulness, we can understand the truth of our neighbor and ultimately the truth about God.

The goal of this understanding is love, a love of ourselves, our neighbors (compassion) and of God, all for God's sake.

Pondering and internalizing this teaching is the core of cistercian life and formation.

Discernment of vocation takes time and testing. However, St. Benedict gives several initial desires which suggests the possibility of a monastic vocation: truly seeks God, eager for the Work of God, and for obedience.

This Order is a monastic institute wholly ordered to contemplation.
The monks dedicate themselves to the worship of God in the hidden life within the monastery under the Rule of St Benedict.
They lead a monastic way of life in solitude and silence, in assiduous prayer and joyful penitence...thus rendering to the divine majesty a service that is at once humble and noble.
-Constitutions and Statutes C.2

To Lear more about the Cistercian Trappist Monastery Click here

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