Mount Saviour Monastery

231 Monastery Rd.

Pine City NY 14871


May 2008

Dear Friend of Mount Saviour,


In May every year, I write to announce the date of Dedication Day and this year also to greet you in the joy of the Pascal season.  Dedication Day will be Sunday, August 17th. Mass at 10:00 am followed by a light brunch and music in the chapter room around noon. As we express our gratitude for your help in the events in the past year, we always invite you to join us joyfully thanking God for the blessings you have received    and in welcoming the signs of new life the springtime brings. It is a time to remember our Lord’s words: “That my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”(John 15,11).


There are many episodes in Scripture where the Lord or others encourage us with the words “do not be afraid”.  An incident involving Elisha, the prophet, I have found very helpful. It is in 2 Kings Chapter 6, 13-23. The King of Aram was waging war on Israel and Elisha as a prophet kept telling the King of Israel where Aram planned to attack. So, Aram sent soldiers to find Elisha so that he could take him captive. He sent a strong force with horses and chariots; they arrived at night and surrounded the city of Dothan where Elisha was staying with his attendant. The attendant rose early in the morning and saw the force with the horses and chariots surrounding the city. He cried out to the prophet, “What shall we do my lord”. Elisha answered, “Do not be afraid, our side outnumbers theirs”. Then he prayed, “Oh Lord open his eyes, that he may see”. And the Lord opened the eyes of the servant, so that he saw the mountainside filled with horses and fiery chariots protecting Elisha. Do read the rest of this episode.  Note how Elisha and his servant were saved and the enemy captured with no loss of life. No more enemy raiders came into the land of Israel.


Today, we too have our fiery defenders who out numbers the Powers and the persons who threaten us. In addition to the Lord, most of the persons on our side form a surprising group. They are the deceased.  Not only do they now share the life of the risen Christ that makes them righteous, but they share that life with us in a way they couldn’t have done on earth. I am speaking about the Communion of Saints. It’s a teaching we believe, but there is a question about how it affects our practice. Many of us have a devotion to the Blessed Virgin under various titles or to some saints, but for most of us the only saints we turn to with heart felt devotion are Saint Anthony when we lose things and perhaps Saint Jude the patron of impossible causes! But do we ever turn to those deceased persons that we knew: the lesser saints, or as some have called them, the Friends of God and Prophets? We are saints, not because we are holy, but because by God’s action at our baptism we received the holiness of Christ. In 1 Cor. 30 St. Paul says, “It is due to God that you are in Christ Jesus”. In 1 Thes. 5,11 he says,” We live together with Him!” Namely Jesus. So, God brings us in to a mysterious one-ness with the risen Christ.


What uses do our deceased friends and loved ones have for their human gifts or virtues and talents? What use or need might we have for them? Elijah’s prayer stopped rain for 3½ years! He prayed again and it rained! Many of our deceased friends are now fully righteous like Elijah, and can help us deal with our problems and difficulties!


In any relationship of two or more people that has lasted over a few minutes, there are always some unresolved conflicts or discombobulations and it is usually wise to leave them alone and not try to have a perfect and self-disclosing arrangement. With the dead it is entirely different- the worst thing that could have happened to them from a human point of view has already happened. They are dead! So, with the deceased we can have a genuine, truthful self-revealing, trustful relationship. This is one of the great values of the Communion of Saints. We can do this anytime with the people we knew and loved or loved us in this life who have crossed the Jordan, so to speak. And we can do this often with any deceased person.


Pause for a few minutes, think of their best human quality known to you and ask for it now and whenever you need it. They don’t need it anymore so they can always give it to someone else or at least loan it. What was most annoying to you about them? Don’t be embarrassed if it is the same thing. THINK OF THAT FOR A FEW MINUTES AND LET IT DIE…. They have and it needn’t come between you anymore. What faults of theirs are you willing to forgive? DO IT AND GET ON WITH LIFE. What forgiveness do you want to ask of them? ASK IT AND ASK THEM TO ASK GOD THAT THEIR FORGIVENESS IS GENUINE. What special gratitude do you have in having known them or about them? THANK THEM AND THANK GOD FOR THEM AND WHAT IT WAS THAT HAPPENED. Look in Scripture for special encouragement such as Eph. 3,14-21 esp. 3,19 “…to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God!”


And also, Verse 20 Now to him who is able to accomplish far more than we ask or imagine, by the power at work within us, to him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus for all generations, forever and ever. Amen.


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On Latare Sunday we sang Vespers & Compline at Grace Episcopal Church. We had a delightful supper with many of the parish. We are grateful to the Pastor Rev. Don Matthews and the parish for their hospitality.


Brian Daley, SJ, gave our Community Retreat focusing on the Eastern fathers: Origen, St. Basil, St. Gregory Nazianzus, and St. Gregory of Nyssa. We focused on these saints who are so important to our faith and that we know so little about.


Br. John Thompson is presently in Rome and he writes: for the months of March through May I am participating in a Monastic Formation Program, which began in Rome and ends in Assissi. I am part of a temporary international community of Benedictine and Cistercian men and women from all over the world. The program offers a one of a kind opportunity to deepen our understanding of the process or formation, engage in cross-cultural dialog around formation issues and perspectives, to grow in our own monastic formation and to be of service in the continual work of formation in our respective communities. I am enjoying the program immensely and greatly appreciate the sacrifice that our community is making in providing this deeply enriching opportunity.


Br. Bruno and Br. Pierre did a heroic job keeping the tractor-powered-generator supplied with diesel during our four-day power outage.


The farm crew has been busily repairing fences and also preparing for lambing.


Br. Thomas, who is filling in for Br. John, planted the first lettuce seeds indoors on the 3rd of March and they are responding well.


The 6th Annual Fr. Damasus Winzen Lecture will be held May 4th at 4:00pm with Fr. Kevin Seasoltz as our speaker. Fr. Seasoltz teaches theology at St. John’s School of Theology. He has a doctorate in Canon Law and has been the editor of Worship magazine for over 20 years. He is the author of God’s Gift Giving: In Christ and Through the Spirit and A Sense of the Sacred.


Sheep sheering will be held Saturday, May 24th.


Br. Thomas will be attending the Junior Monks Program at the Prince of Peace Abbey in Oceanside, CA.  from June 17th to July 1st.


Elissa Quinn and Marcos Krieger will perform a concert of Bach, Saure, Cilea and other songs and arias for soprano along with piano music here at Mt. Saviour on Sunday, August 10th at 4:00pm.


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Our high priority project is the need to re-roof the area over the boiler room with a special substance that insulates the area. The last time this was done was 25 years ago. This way the extra heat from the boiler room will stay within the building. We have gotten quotes for this specialized work and it will cost us $30,000.