Perhaps one of the most frequently overlooked features of this website is the Message from the Abbot on the opening page identified as ABOUT. Each Sunday (admittedly, sometimes sooner and sometimes later) it is updated. It wasn’t always like that. When we began this new website, there was an opening message from Abbot Robert, but after a few months it was clear that should the opening lines of the webpage never change, who’d pay any attention? And on the other hand, Abbot Robert certainly has something to say. This feature draws from his homilies and his weekly Chapter Talks.
What’s a Chapter Talk? you may well ask! It was the old monastic custom for the monks to meet together daily and listen to the cantor chant a Chapter or section of St. Benedict’s Rule for Monasteries. The Abbot would give a brief commentary and the daily work would be assigned. The room where this took place became known as the Chapter Room and the community assembled there was called the Chapter or, more properly, the Conventual Chapter. This term has passed into common parlance; for example, we might refer to the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Nowadays the Chapter is no longer daily but weekly, usually on Sunday, and is one forum where an Abbot or Abbess exercises his or her role as teacher to the community. And, as such, this is how this feature of the website can be helpful to you. I’ve noticed typing the words in each week that Fr. Robert often makes suggestions about reading for the day or that week. It is not unknown that we can get stuck in our spiritual disciplines and need a kick-start or, at least, a suggestion. You may find some practical advice or helpful guidance through the scriptures that would deepen you practice of prayers.