MAY 2021 Monastery Retreat House Newsletter
Hello My Friends,
Time is going by so fast, that it feels like I am writing a newsletter every week. We cannot slow it down, so might as well enjoy the ride, no matter how fast it seems to be going by.
The community is doing well. Everyone in the infirmary is still trucking along. Fr. Tom Francis is a real inspiration to the community, who at 92 is still going to every office, and eating the communal meal with the monks. He tells me that the Divine Office rejuvenates him. He also still has a good sense of humor along with Fr. Eduardo and Fr. Matt. We do a lot of laughing up in our infirmary!
We are aiming for September to reopen the retreat house. As I said in the last newsletter, we are waiting to see how the variants are developing. There is a lot to do. A year is a long time for a building to be closed. Lots of cleaning, restocking of the kitchen, etc…
May is an important month for Catholics. It is a special time for showing honor to Our Blessed Mother. Of all God’s children, she is the one who gave her total “Yes” to God. As Christians we also seek to give our total “Yes”, in response to the “Yes” of God shown to us in Christ Jesus.
In this Easter Season we are called upon to deepen our faith, and to seek a deeper experience of Jesus Christ, who is our redeemer as well as brother. For in Jesus, God has taken human form, and we are all called to grow into union with Christ. So like St. Paul says, we can say “It is not I who live, but Christ Jesus who lives in me”.
Let us continue to pray for one another, and please know you are all loved.
We cannot earn God’s love since we already have it. Our own inner struggles and failures are not obstacles to God’s love for us. So trust, trust, trust. - Br.MD
Zoom Retreats – May
Stewardship of God’s Creation - Saturday May 1 – Fr. Francis Michael The Power of Prayer - Saturday May 8 – Fr. Gerard Codependency – Saturday May 22 – Br. Michael To register please call our office at 770-760-0959, Monday – Friday 8:00-1:00. We are asking for a donation of $45.00 for our retreats. To see the rest of our Zoom Retreats for the year visit us at www.trappist.net .
Highlight – Fr. Gerard Gross
Father Gerard Gross was born December 9, 1945 in McMinnville, OR. He completed his perpetual vows as a Redemptorist in 1977, was ordained a priest in 1978, and has been a member of our community for over 30 years. Fr. Gerard presently is our Infirmarian and Director of Music. He has also been Guestmaster, worked in bonsai and is one of our favorite Retreat Presenters. Father Gerard is a kind and gentle person. He holds a degree in Food Science so is very knowledgeable and conscience of Healthy Eating. For those who know him, I am certain you are aware of what a beautiful voice he has. I can truly say that when Fr. Gerard sings, I honestly believe the angels are singing with him. We are so blessed to have him as part of our community.
Our Abbey Store is now online, besides some delectable delights, we have many items that would make perfect gifts for those special people in your life. Visit our web site at https://holyspiritmonasterygifts.com
To place an order from Our Abbey Store you can reach us by telephone at: 1-800-592-5203 OR Local 770-929-3448 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reflections Some Post Easter Thoughts
I try to imagine what went through the hearts of the early disciples in the days following the Resurrection of Jesus. They had gone from experiencing the agonizing sense of loss in the suffering and death of Jesus. All that they knew and loved in and through him was ripped away from them. All the hopes they had placed in him turned to ash. The meaning of their lives died with Jesus and the restoration of that meaning was forever beyond their ability to find. Jesus died, and they died with him.
Then there were appearances. He came to them, walked with them, shared food with them, counseled them, allowed them to touch him, to know that he was “real.” And they were soon to know that they would have him in their presence when they share bread and wine, when they gathered in his name, when they welcomed the poor, the stranger, clothed the naked, visited the imprisoned, for it was and in these, that Jesus told them he would live, and make a lasting home. A home in the fragile beating and wondrous tenderness of the human heart.
In these, our own post-Easter days, the church encourages us to listen with care to the readings from scripture that are given us each day after Easter. Like the early church and the disciples, we are asked not to look back or ahead to find Jesus. He is in our midst, in much the same way as he said he would be two-thousand years ago. Nothing about that has changed. He is this day in the lonely, the stranger, the oppressed, the hungry, the naked and vulnerable among us. He walks, talks, is hungry and must eat. He longs for companionship, for friendship, for an assurance that he is welcome in this world, that he belongs with us.
The early disciples were soon to find that seeing Jesus in all these human situations lacked the joy and the ecstasy of the originating event of seeing the “real” thing. For he vanished once again from their midst, leaving them the promise that he would be with them. The challenge was then to trust him at his word and begin the work of encountering him in all these new places – men and women, children, the old, the sick, the unwanted, the unwashed.
And this is a challenge for us as well. If that kind of human location doesn’t bring God as close to us as possible, I do not know what does or whatever will. The mission of the church is one of seeking again and again the God who is in our midst, in our neighbor – the God who lives in the man with the dirty face and torn clothing, the woman who turns tricks for drugs, the thief who drove off with your car, the monk who is far from perfect, the neighbor who you wish would make a permanent move to Bora Bora .
Easter asks us to look about and see ourselves differently – to see what we really hold beneath the grub and rough features of our lives. God loves everyone and loves us so much he wanted to live in us. That is the gift, the message that is Easter. ++James Stephen Behrens, O.C.S.O, April 12, 2015