Our Monastic Immersion Weekend ended after a beautiful Mass celebrated by Fr. James. In our two days together we had wonderful conferences from Sr. Kathy Ullrich who spoke to us about the layers of our lives, outer, right here and inner. She also told us about a retreat the sisters had with the Abbot from Gethsemani where he said:
Great people talk about ideas…
Mediocre people talk about themselves…
Weak people talk about others.
You can guess what direction Sr. Kathy was suggesting we turn.
Fr. Maurice Flood, who told wonderful stories about his time with Fr. Louis (Thomas Merton) but more importantly he recited date after date – to the exact date and time – of things in his life, especially the monastic life and did so with great joy and simple recognition of the good and the bad. He encouraged us (without actually saying so) to take life as it is given to us, always searching for God and the presence of Christ. Again, a teacher by example as well as word.
On our first night together, after receiving our MIW crosses for a Q&A with the Abbot. There Fr. Robert reflected on his over 50 years in the monastery and talked to us about what he saw as the future of monasticism and Holy Cross Abbey. And then Fr. James conducted choir practice and announced “you aren’t bad” which resulted in a collective sigh of relief.
This morning our final conference looked at Seven Monastic Principles that we can take with us and use in our own life. There we explored what the monastery can teach us about simplicity and detachment as well as developing a personal prayer discipline; we spoke of hospitality, silence, prayer and solitude…and we talked about developing our own personal Rule of Life.
What we realized is that our teachers this weekend, Sr. Kathy, Fr. Maurice, Fr. Robert and our Cantor Fr. James were teaching about these characteristics by the way they live their lives.
In this photo our class decided to try to convince you there are very holy indeed…trust me, they aren’t.
Our next MIW is in March for men and women. Look for something on our sight in early 2016 for dates. If interested you can get on a preliminary list for that MIW by sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org.