Ordinary Time Winter 2003
“O that you would rend the heavens and come down, with the mountains quaking
before you, while you wrought awesome deeds we could not hope for, such
as they had not heard of from of old.” This was the anguished cry
of Isaiah that we heard on the First Sunday of Advent. What sort of
response by God would be adequate to the prophet’s prayer: “Do some
awesome deed we could not hope for?” It could only be the awesome deed
of new creation!
This Advent I listened to tapes by Fr. Raymond Brown with our Ecumenical
Bible Study Group and I’d like to think I’ll never be the same! Advent
isn’t merely a preparation for Christmas. It is the preparation for
the new creation!
When we read the opening verses of the Gospel of Matthew, the Infancy Narrative,
that is exactly what we find. “The book of the origin (genesis) of
Jesus Christ, Son of David, Son of Abraham.” It is not an account of
the descendents of Abraham but of the genesis of Jesus. But for those
of us who are not specialists in the Bible, the names don’t mean very much
so we skip over to Mary and Joseph and the familiar Christmas story of the
angels, the shepherds and the Magi. That boring list of people trumpets
the beginning of the new creation like the tumultuous scene on Mount Sinai
- if we have ears to hear it. The mix of Hebrews and non-Hebrews, saints
and sinners, well known and altogether unknown persons presaged the new
stage in God’s plan to bring the world to the glory and unity for which
it was created.
The Incarnation marks the definitive beginning of the ‘new creation’.
The life of Jesus, especially his suffering and death on the cross and his
humanity being brought into a new relationship with the Blessed Trinity,
continues the process. His death marks the end of the first creation.
His resurrection is the first flowering of the new creation. In his
resurrection, his humanity is bonded to the Blessed Trinity by a bond that
cannot be broken. So in Jesus, the Christ, a human is at peace with
God. This very peace he shares with us: “Peace I leave with you,
my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid” (Jn. 14,27).
Christ’s own peace is the hope we can live by. This peace that was
the hope of the prophets and sages becomes a reality in Jesus. Until
he comes on the last day, the fullness of his peace remains a future benefit
for us. Yet “God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather
of power and love and self-control (2 Tim. 1,7). And so Christ’s peace
is the origin and source of all we long for as peace - not just the absence
of war, but economic stability, family and civic harmony and personal happiness.
The anguished cry of Isaiah with which we
began this message comes from the hearts of countless millions of people
today. God’s response, in that it is mediated through us, is that we
manifest this peace of Christ to the world as his disciples. Even on
the cross, Jesus was at peace with God. Apparently a defeat, the cross
has insured his victory over sin and his resurrection victory over death.
For us as well, amid the uncertainties and upheavals of our lives, no matter
what our personal or national agony, our conviction that the gift of the
peace of Christ is willed by God as the source of unity and harmony of all
creation, will be our most gracious response to God’s ever-present love.
Christ’s peace be
Our Community Retreat
has been a blessed event every year.
We like to have it early in the winter when things are quieter and we seem
more receptive. Last year, Abbot John Eudes Bamberger OCSO had just
retired at Our Lady of the Genesee and was about to leave for the Philippines
when he graciously agreed to be with us when our scheduled Retreat Director
had to cancel. Abbot Timothy Kelly OSB of St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville
led us into 2003. New fallen snow and ice provided a magnificent setting
and the power outage and candle light supper made it nearly perfect.
A brief summary of the Retreat is on the Monastery Web for this January.
are also an inspiration and encouragement in our vocation.
Every year we look forward to students and faculty groups from near-by Colleges
and Universities, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Rochester, the Company of
Kirkridge, the men to be ordained Deacons from the New York Archdiocese,
an Adult Study Group in June, and for 13 years, the young men in our Summer
Experience from 1 July until 6 August. Last year’s group was one of
the best and for some it was a considerable personal sacrifice to be able
to afford the time with us. Matthew Inocelda was from Hawaii, Edison
Tyag, originally from the Philippines and now a candidate for the Rochester
Diocese. John Houston from Nebraska and Christopher Kelly and Robert
Evanila from the Empire State! We will not have the Summer Experience
this year in order to give more attention to candidates to monastic life
here. The year ended with the students of Rochester Institute of Technology
in December. They always bring a number of young people from the school
for the deaf. To experience their participation through the graceful signing
as we sing the Mass is a very moving experience. Although we are not
set up for large groups, these are just right.
Visiting Benedictine Monks
are a special joy. Fr. Alexis Foyo
was a tremendous help in the time he spent with us. He has now returned
to Prince of Peace Abbey. We are grateful also for Fr. Timothy Brennan
of St. Mary’s Abbey in Morristown NJ. Abbot Timothy Kelly and Fr.
Dan Ward of St John’s Abbey in Collegeville were first to come in 2002 and
later their confrere, Br. David Rothstein. We welcomed Abbot Primate
Notker Wolf for a brief visit and we are especially grateful for his conferences.
Br. Hugh Lester, of St. Vincent’s Archabbey, Abbot Joel Macul of St. Paul’s
Abbey, Fr. David Brown of Belmont Abbey, Fr. Lawrence Freeman from England
and Fr. Cyprian Davis of St. Meinrad’s Archabbey were also a delight to
have with us.
Br. Jude & Francis
When Abbot Philip Lawrence of the Abbey of Christ
in the Desert came he made a most generous offer to send two monks at a
time to help us through the summer and early winter. Br. Andre Lemieux
and Br. Rodrigo Gonzales were with us from 30 June until 3 September.
Brothers Francis and Jude arrived on the same day and were with us until
December. It was a wonderful gesture of fraternal support and we are
very grateful. It is also a blessing for us to come to know more of
our brothers at Christ in the Desert. Fr. Joseph Gabriel from there
was visiting his family in Buffalo NY and was able to drop down for the day.
Some of us were visiting monks 25-28 August when
we attended Sr. Aquinata Bockmann
’s conferences celebrating our Weston
brother’s 50th Anniversary along with the monks and nuns of Petersham, Regina
Laudis and Portsmouth.
completed since the last Chronicle include the installation
of new windows in the Refectory. We were able to eat there even in
January in spite of the cold winter. St. Joseph’s Guest House has a
new carpet. The old one dated back to 1975. The main barn has
a new roof. The West Casa has a new insert in the fire place.
The road from the Monastery to St. Gertrude’s Guest House has stood up well
and has been a wonderful improvement. There is always more to do but
these tasks had been ‘in process’ for so long. We are very grateful
for your help in accomplishing them and your patience while they were completed.
St. Peter’s Barn
lost a portion of its roof and front in a severe wind
storm. The barn dates back to Civil War times and we have a picture
of Conrad Nagle with a flock of sheep in front of it in 1896. It has
quite a role in the history of Mt. Saviour as well. Many of you have
Br. Luke’s beautiful water color of the barn. To take it down and
clean up the site properly turns out to be expensive and we have been assured
its structure is in good shape. We believe we can restore it at a
reasonable cost and we will give you those figures at a future date.
Emmaus Experience: Reflections on Community and
the Christian Life.
Mount Saviour Monastery, July 1- 6.
This summer we will host an ecumenical conference of Christian men and
women interested in coming together for 6 days of prayer, study, dialog
and experience of community. The desire for smaller communities within
the church has been growing for some time on a world wide basis. The
Synod of the Diocese of Rochester in 1993 chose Small Communities as one
of its top priorities. Many believe our Faith will not be celebrated
in large numbers as formerly but in small more fervent communities. Never
has the need or challenges been greater. We will explore Scriptural
images of community and study early Christian communities, investigate insights
into community from monastic and other traditions, and interview people living
in various contemporary types of communities. Space and the time frame
for application are both limited. For more detailed information, you
are invited to make inquiries to Gail & Dan Mandell:
or Mary Skinner: firstname.lastname@example.org
or write to Mary Skinner at 740 Clark Hollow Road, Pine City NY
14871. Cost $300.00 Some partial scholarships are available.
Oblates received a holy card with our prayer for vocations
and the ink was hardly dry when Ty Jacobs came and is now a Postulant.
Three more people are here as Observers and others are knocking. Our
concern for them at this time is that together we can discern God’s direction
for their future. We can hope and pray that it will be as monks of
Mount Saviour. We ask you to join us in this service to them by your
We ask your prayers also for Br Sebastian Maher
and Brother Christopher Gardner, two Regular or Cloistered Oblates who died
recently. “Cloistered”, as those of you who knew him, wouldn’t
be the most accurate description of Brother Sebastian! He and Bro.
Christopher worked together for several years in the business office.
Brother Christopher had transferred to Christ in the Desert in the 70’s.
is receiving special attention at the moment and
we are very pleased. Servant Publications is re-printing his Pathways
. It is due out in April for $11.99. It is a wonderful
commentary on a number of books of the bible and since Catholics are notoriously
ignorant of scripture, there is no more delightful way of correcting that
deficiency than by reading and re-reading these books of the bible along
with Fr. Damasus’ commentary. Sr. Marie Julianne Farrington,
SSMN has been with us on a modified Sabbatical organizing his papers.
She has had expert help from Sr. Martin Joseph, SSMN, a highly qualified
archivist. Rev. Martin Shannon of the Community of Jesus is doing a
doctoral thesis at Catholic University on Fr. Damasus. We also hope
to initiate a Damasus Winzen Lecture Series later this year.
We realize the present economic conditions have worked a real hardship
on many of you and we want to express our sincere gratitude for your response
to our requests and your continual financial support - and for your prayers
on which we also depend. We keep you regularly in ours.
Christ’s peace be with you,
Please remember us in prayer and, if possible,
also in your estate planning and will. Our legal title is -
The Benedictine Foundation of
New York State.
Mount Saviour Monastery
231 Monastery Rd.
Pine City NY 14871-9787
Phone: (607) 734-1688
Fax: (607) 734-1689