Saints Robert, Alberic and Stephen, 26 JAN, 2024: Genesis 12:1-4; Acts 4:32-35; Mark 10:17-30
I’ve been tempted to identify our struggles to survive with those of our Founders when they began life at Citeaux. But they faced depravations and insecurities, unsupported by any over-arching administration, which our present organization would, rightly, not allow. Our Order would not permit us to continue with insufficient personnel, housing, provision for the aged, income, and other basic securities, while they had not yet any Order to support them.
Their only alternative was to return to their former, unsatisfying way of life; we came to an established regimen that attracted us, having the safety net of a Mother House to receive us, if necessary.
They were one of many monastic experiments, one of the lucky ones, who eventually took root and flourished; there were many others who did not survive a generation, or were even absorbed by the Cistercians. We are one of many shrinking forms of religious life in the Catholic Church, hoping to attract some believers willing to test themselves in our ancient vocation.
There remains, however, common ground: like our ancestors, don’t our circumstances impel us to contemplate the Word of God, who had forsaken being more than everything, to be enfleshed in the narrow confines of human life?
It may be precisely there, in that divine self-emptying, dimly reflected in our uncertainties, that we would discover the continuity with our Founders and God’s will for us, here and now.