Some deep spiritual roots

They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to prayers

(Acts 2: 42 NAB)

 

We recognize in the description of the first Christian community the ideal that we seek to embody: the common life, prayer, in particular liturgical prayer and listening to the Word. In the course of the ages, men and women have sought to follow Christ in living this ideal and by finding counsel from an elder. The Egyptian desert in the 4th century saw especially Saint Anthony the Great (250-350, considered to be the father of monks) and Saint Pachomius (292-348, considered to be the founder of the common life of monks). This experience as transmitted to the West is recollected by Saint Benedict of Nursia (480-547) whose Rule was adopted in the 8th century by the monasteries of the West.

 

saint-benoit

 

The founders of Cîteaux sought to live this Rule of Saint Benedict with rigor. Their reading and their practice of the Rule gave birth to the Cistercian reform.

Poor for Christ,
Free before the great,
They go from desert to desert
In the truth of love
United in heart,
They follow Jesus Christ.

Response for the Feast of the Holy Founders by the Francophone Cistercian Commission

 

Our life is the fruit of age-old experience. Those who preceded us in monastic life loved the Rule, the brothers, and the place. They lived here, constructed these buildings, put into writing the beauty and the love that gave them life. For us who walk in their footsteps, this heritage is a living tradition, a source of life that we receive freely and gratefully. In their school, there is nothing that is hard or difficult, only the slow, relentless learning of love.

This heritage has been transmitted to us in three forms: the awareness of being part of a story, a spiritual tradition, and a literary work.

These centuries of faithfulness and weakness, of turbulence and renewal, are instruction full of hope showing us God is at work in this age…

 

God is at work in this age

Hymn by Didier Rimaud for Advent

God is at work in this age, these times are the last
God is at work in this age, his day is going to dawn!
Let’s have no doubt about the day that is coming, night draws to its close.
And the brightness of the Lord will fill the Universe,
More than water covers the seas!

What is the task for the people that God comes to gather
In order to build the Kingdom of the Prince of Peace?
What can we do to hurry this day so longed-for
When the brightness of the Lord will fill the Universe,
More than water covers the seas?

May our way be lit by the sign of Jesus!
Only he can save our world where people no longer love;
He must defend the oppressed, free the prisoner,
And the brightness of the Lord will fill the Universe,
More than water covers the seas!