Monastery of Our Lady of the Cenacle: May 2010 Archives

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Guests Not Lacking

We are living days of grace here at the Monastery of Our Lady of Cenacle. Our guest accommodations are filled to capacity. Priests from Washington, DC.; Richmond, Virginia; Denver, Colorado; and seminarians from Tulsa, OK; Lafayette, LA; and Austin, TX are among those whom we are privileged to receive as Christ. On Saturday morning, we will be at Holy Family Cathedral for the ordination of Kerry John Wakulich to the priesthood, and of Jorge Alfonso Gómez Alvarado to the diaconate.

The Inner Monk of the Diocesan Priest

One of the emerging characteristics of our little community is the inclusion of clerical guests in the monastic rhythm of prayer, Eucharistic adoration, and even in the daily chapter, a conference on the Rule of Saint Benedict that follows Lauds each morning. A number of men have come to discover what Father Andrew Wadsworth so aptly calls "the monastic heart of the diocesan priest." The etymology of the word "monk" has to do with being single, alone, and singlehearted. In every diocesan priest there is an "inner monk" waiting to be strengthened, consoled, and built up for the sake of the whole Body of Christ and in view of the pressing demands of the sacred ministry in the parochial context. By the grace of God, this spiritual care for every priest's "inner monk" is something that we,
who are called to be both "inner" and "outward" monks, can offer the Church.

And for those of you who have not had a moment to read and meditate it, here is the Holy Father's magnificent address at last Wednesday's audience:

Dear brothers and sisters,

Called to Govern and to Guide

The Year for Priests is coming to an end; that is why in the last catecheses I began to speak about the essential tasks of the priest, namely: to teach, to sanctify and to govern. I have already given two catecheses, one on the ministry of sanctification, above all the sacraments, and one on teaching. Hence, it remains for me today to speak about the mission of the priest to govern, to guide -- with the authority of Christ, not his own -- the portion of the people that God has entrusted to him.

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Authority

In contemporary culture, how can such a dimension be understood, involving as it does the concept of authority and with its origin in the Lord's own mandate to feed his flock? What is authority really for us Christians? The cultural, political and historical experiences of the recent past, above all the dictatorships in Eastern and Western Europe in the 20th century, made contemporary man suspicious in addressing this concept. A suspicion that, not rarely, is expressed in upholding as necessary an abandonment of all authority that does not come exclusively from men and is subject to them, controlled by them. But precisely a glance at the regimes that in the past century sowed terror and death, reminds us forcefully that authority, in every realm, if it is exercised without reference to the Transcendent, if it does away with the supreme Authority, which is God, ends inevitably by turning against man.

For the Good of the Person

Hence, it is important to recognize that human authority is never an end, but always and only a means and that, necessarily and in every age, the end is always the person, created by God with his own intangible dignity and called to relationship with the Creator himself, in the earthly journey of existence and in eternal life. It is an authority exercised in responsibility before God, before the Creator. An authority thus understood, which has as its only objective to serve the true good of persons and to lucidity to the only Supreme Good that is God, not only is not foreign to men but, on the contrary, is a precious help in the journey toward full realization in Christ, toward salvation.

In the Name of Jesus

The Church is called and is committed to exercise this type of authority that is service, and she exercises it not in her own name, but in the name of Jesus Christ, who received from the Father all power in heaven and on earth (cf. Matthew 28:18). In fact, Christ feeds his flock through the pastors of the Church: It is he who guides it, protects it, corrects it, because he loves it profoundly.

To Guide, Animate, and Sustain

But the Lord Jesus, Supreme Shepherd of our souls, willed that the Apostolic College, today the bishops in communion with the Successor of Peter, and priests, their most valuable collaborators, should participate in his mission to take care of the People of God, to be educators in the faith, guiding, animating and sustaining the Christian community or, as the Council says, seeing to it that the "faithful are led individually in the Holy Spirit to a development of their own vocation according to the Gospel, to a sincere and practical charity, and to that freedom with which Christ has made us free" (Presbyterorum Ordinis, 6).

Gentle With the Weakest

Hence, every pastor is the means through which Christ himself loves men: It is through our ministry -- dear priests -- it is through us that the Lord gathers souls, instructs them, protects them, and guides them. In his commentary to the Gospel of St. John, St. Augustine says: "may it be, therefore, a commitment of love to feed the flock of the Lord" (123,5); this is the supreme norm of conduct for the ministers of God, an unconditional love, such as that of the Good Shepherd, full of joy, open to all, attentive to neighbors and solicitous toward those far away (cf. St. Augustine, Discourse 340, 1; Discourse 46, 15), gentle with the weakest, the little ones, the simple, the sinners, to manifest the infinite mercy of God with the reassuring words of hope (cf. Id. Letter 95, 1).

Living Friendship With Christ

If such a pastoral task is founded on the sacrament, nevertheless its efficacy is not independent of the personal existence of the presbyter. To be a pastor according to the heart of God (cf. Jeremiah 3:15) there must be a profound rootedness in living friendship with Christ, not only of the intelligence, but also of liberty and of the will, a clear awareness of the identity received in priestly ordination, an unconditional willingness to guide the entrusted flock where the Lord wishes and not in the direction that, apparently, seems more suitable and easy. That requires, first of all, the continuous and progressive willingness to let Christ himself govern the priestly existence of the presbyters. In fact, no one is really capable of feeding Christ's flock if he does not live a profound and real obedience to Christ and to the Church, and the docility itself of the people to their priests depends on the docility of priests to Christ; because of this, at the base of pastoral ministry is always the personal and constant encounter with the Lord, profound knowledge of him, conforming one's will to the will of Christ.

Hierarchy: Sacred Origin

In the last decades, the adjective "pastoral" has often been used almost in opposition to the concept of "hierarchical," exactly as the idea "communion" has also been interpreted in the very same opposition. This is perhaps the point where a brief observation might be useful on the word "hierarchy," which is the traditional designation of the structure of sacramental authority in the Church, ordered according to the three levels of the sacrament of holy orders: episcopate, presbyterate, diaconate. Prevailing in public opinion, for this reality of "hierarchy," is the element of subordination and the juridical element; because of this for many the idea of hierarchy appears in contrast to the flexibility and the vitality of the pastoral sense and even contrary to the humility of the Gospel. But this is a badly understood sense of hierarchy, caused also historically by abuses of authority and careerism, which are in fact abuses and do not stem from the very being of the reality of "hierarchy."

The common opinion is that "hierarchy" is always something linked to domination and thus does not correspond to the true sense of the Church, of unity in the love of Christ. But, as I have said, this is a mistaken interpretation, which has its origin in abuses of history, but does not correspond to the true meaning of what the hierarchy is.

Let us begin with the word. Generally, it is said that the meaning of the world hierarchy is "sacred dominion," but the real meaning is not this, it is "sacra origine," that is: This authority does not come from man himself, but has its origin in the sacred, in the sacrament; hence it subjects the person to the vocation, to the mystery of Christ; it makes of the individual a servant of Christ and only insofar as he is a servant of Christ can he govern, guide for Christ and with Christ. Because of this, whoever enters in the sacred order of the sacrament, the "hierarchy," is not an autocrat, but enters in a new bond of obedience to Christ: he is tied to him in communion with the other members of the sacred order, of the priesthood. And even the Pope -- point of reference for all the other pastors and for the communion of the Church -- cannot do what he wants; on the contrary, the Pope is custodian of the obedience to Christ, to his word taken up again in the "regula fidei," in the Creed of the Church, and must proceed in obedience to Christ and to his Church. Hence, hierarchy implies a triple bond: first of all, the one with Christ and the order given by the Lord to his Church; then the bond with the other pastors in the one communion of the Church; and, finally, the bond with the faithful entrusted to the individual, in the order of the Church.

Hierarchical Communion

Hence, it is understood that communion and hierarchy are not contrary to one another, but condition each other. Together they are only one thing (hierarchical communion). Hence, the pastor is pastor precisely when guiding and protecting the flock and at times impeding its dispersal. Outside a clearly and explicitly supernatural vision, the task of governing proper to priests is not comprehensible. But, sustained by true love for the salvation of each member of the faithful, it is particularly precious and necessary also in our time. If the goal is to take the proclamation of Christ and lead men to the salvific encounter with him so that they will have life, the task of guiding is configured as a service lived in total donation for the upbuilding of the flock in truth and in sanctity, often going against the current and remembering that the one who is the greatest must be made the smallest, and one who governs, must be as one who serves (cf. Lumen Gentium, 27).

The Humble Kingship of the Cross

Where can a priest today get the strength for such exercise of his ministry, in full fidelity to Christ and to the Church, with a total dedication to the flock? There is only one answer: in Christ the Lord. Jesus' way of governing is not that of domination, but it is the humble and loving service of the washing of the feet, and Christ's kingship over the universe is not an earthly triumph, but finds its culmination on the wood of the cross, which becomes judgment for the world and point of reference for the exercise of authority that is the true expression of pastoral charity. The saints, and among them St. John Mary Vianney, exercised with love and dedication the task of caring for the portion of the People of God entrusted to them, showing also that they were strong and determined men, with the sole objective of promoting the true good of souls, able to pay in person, to the point of martyrdom, to remain faithful to the truth and to the justice of the Gospel.

Give the Hope that God Is Near

Dear priests, "tend the flock of God in your midst, (overseeing) not by constraint but willingly, [...] be examples to the flock" (1 Peter 5:2). Hence, do not be afraid to lead to Christ each of the brothers that he has entrusted to you, certain that every word and every attitude, if stemming from obedience to the will of God, will bear fruit; know how to live appreciating the merits and acknowledging the limits of the culture in which we find ourselves, with the firm certainty that the proclamation of the Gospel is the greatest service that can be done to man. In fact, there is no greater good in this earthly life, than to lead men to God, reawaken faith, raise man from inertia and despair, to give the hope that God is near and guides personal history and that of the world.

In Labor Until Christ Be Formed in You

This, in sum, is the profound and ultimate meaning of the task of governing that the Lord has entrusted to us. It is about forming Christ in believers, through that process of sanctification that is conversion of criteria, of the scale of values, of attitudes, to let Christ live in every faithful. St. Paul thus summarizes his pastoral action: "My children, for whom I am again in labor until Christ be formed in you!" (Galatians 4:19).

Pray for Me, the Successor of Peter

Dear brothers and sisters, I would like to invite you to pray for me, the Successor of Peter who has a specific task in governing the Church of Christ, as well as for all your bishops and priests. Pray that we will be able to take care of all the sheep of the flock entrusted to us, also those who are lost. To you, dear priests, I address a cordial invitation to the closing celebrations of the Year for Priests, next June 9, 10 and 11, here in Rome: we will meditate on conversion and mission, on the priestly gift, sustained by all the People of God. Thank you!

Ascension Thursday 2010

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As promised, here are more photos taken on Ascension Thursday, the day of Brother Thomas Mary's reception of the monastic habit. Readers of Vultus Christi will recognize His Excellency, Bishop Slattery.

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1 Ant. I have a new commandment to give you, says the Lord, that you are to love one another; that your love for one another is to be like the love that I have borne you. V. Blessed are they who pass through life's journey unstained, who follow the law of the Lord. Ant.

2 Ant. Lord, is it for thee to wash my feet? Jesus answered him: If
I do not wash thee, it means thou hast no companionship with me Blessed are they who pass through life's journey unstained, who follow the law of the Lord. Ant.

3 Ant. The mark by which all men will know you for my disciples will be the love you bear one another. V. Jesus said to His disciples: Ant.

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Thomas removes his outer clothing, while His Excellency says:
Bishop Slattery: May the Lord strip you of the old man and His deeds.

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Then the Bishop clothes Him in the tunic, saying:
May Our Lord Jesus Christ so clothe you with His grace,
that you may share by patience in His sufferings,
and bear inwardly the image of His Face. R. Amen.

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Then, he girds Him with the cincture, saying:
May Our Lord Jesus Christ gird you
with the cincture of a perfect chastity
in honor of His Immaculate Mother,
of Saint Joseph, her most chaste spouse,
and of Saint John, His beloved virgin disciple,
that you may follow the Lamb wheresoever He goes.
R. Amen.

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Then, he clothes Him in the scapular, saying:
Brother Thomas Mary,
receive the yoke of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for He is meek and humble of heart.
Thus will you find rest for your soul,
for His yoke is easy and His burden light. R. Amen.

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In front of the monastery with our dear friend and Oblate, Dr. Tracy Loper.

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Thursday, 13 May 2010 was a day of great rejoicing at the Diocesan Benedictine Monastery of Our Lady of the Cenacle in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Apart from being the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, and Saint Peter Julian Eymard's feast of Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament, it was the day chosen for the Entrance into the Novitiate and Clothing of Thomas A. Vonderfecht.

Thomas, 22 years old, is a native of Omaha, Nebraska and a 2009 graduate of the University of Tulsa. Last month he built some fine raised beds for our gardens and is presently well occupied in tending our vegetables, flowers, and herbs. When he is not in choir, at adoration, or in the garden, Thomas is studying Latin with Magister Erik Ellis, applying himself to the subtleties of Gregorian Chant, or working in the kitchen.

Brother Thomas Mary received the Benedictine habit from the hands of our Bishop, The Most Reverend Edward J. Slattery. The ceremony took place in the oratory of the Monastery of Our Lady of the Cenacle. A number of priests, Oblates, and friends of the monastery attended the ceremony. More photos will follow. Here is the exhortation pronounced by His Excellency, Bishop Slattery:

Dearly beloved son in Christ,
you have, over the past few months, listened to your Master's precepts
and inclined the ear of your heart.
You have fixed your gaze upon the Eucharistic Face of Christ
and lingered in His company.
You have experienced the uncertainties and trials
of a monastery still in its infancy.

You have left parents, friends, and home
and, compelled by the love of Christ,
you have set about following the Son of Man
who has nowhere to lay His head.

Today, you are asking to enter the school of the Lord's service
established Saint Benedict.
In his school, while there is nothing harsh or burdensome;
there is a certain strictness of discipline
so tempered by the father of the monastery
that the strong may still have something to long after,
and the weak may not draw back in alarm.

During this year of testing
you will read the Holy Rule no less than three times.
If, after twelve months,
you are ready to observe this same Rule
by living in stability, conversion of life, and obedience,
according to the usages of this monastery,
you may ask to make monastic profession
for a period of three years.

You know, Thomas,
that I authorized the foundation of this new monastic family in the Diocese of Tulsa
in response to pressing needs of the Church and of her priests.
By seeking admission into this particular monastery,
you are embracing an ecclesial mission of
Eucharistic adoration for the sanctification of priests
and the spiritual renewal of the clergy in the whole Church;
of reparation for the sins that disfigure the Face of Christ the Priest;
and of the sacramental and spiritual support of the clergy
by means of monastic hospitality, spiritual direction, and retreats.

Live this year of novitiate, then, hidden like a leaven of holiness in the Church.
Keep burning continually the sweet-smelling incense of prayer.
Take up the sword of the Spirit.
Let your heart be an altar and, with full confidence in God,
present yourself as a victim for sacrifice.

In a few moments, Father Prior will wash your feet,
in imitation of the humble charity of the Servant Christ.
Thus, with your pilgrim feet cleansed and refreshed,
you will be able to walk in the footsteps of the Lamb
and follow Him wheresoever He goes.

You will receive the monastic tunic,
a sign of the holiness that is the vesture of all who have put on Christ.
You will be girt with a cincture of leather,
for the mortification of fleshly desires
and attachment to Him who, henceforth,
will draw you with leading-strings of love.
You will take upon your shoulders
the scapular that represents the sweet yoke of Christ.
Learn from Him, for He is gentle and humble of heart,
and you will find rest for your soul.

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Finally, dear son, I will place you under the twofold patronage
of Saint Thomas the Apostle and of Saint Thomas Aquinas, the Angelic Doctor.

It was in response to the question of the Apostle Thomas,
"Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?"
that Our Lord said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life;
no one comes to the Father but by me."
Again, it was the Apostle Thomas whom Jesus invited
to stretch out his hand and place it in His pierced side,
and it was the Apostle Thomas who first uttered the sublime act of faith
by which, for centuries, Catholics have professed their faith
in the adorable mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist: "My Lord and my God!"

Under the patronage of Saint Thomas Aquinas,
use your intellect to search out the mysteries of God,
bend your heart to the Hidden Godhead of the Sacrament of the Altar,
and use your tongue to sing the praises of the adorable mysteries
of Christ's Body and Blood.

Following the example of so many holy fathers, you will also bear the name of Mary.
Live in her company, day by day,
in imitation of Saint Joseph, her most chaste spouse,
and of Saint John, the virgin disciple of the Lord.

As you progress in the monastic life and in faith,
your heart shall be enlarged,
and you shall run with unspeakable sweetness of love
in the way of God's commandments.
Dear son, may you persevere in this year of trial,
sharing by patience in the passion of Christ,
and, at length, deserve to be a partaker also of His kingdom. Amen.

Why the Cenacle?

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I took this essay from Our Lady of the Cenacle by The Reverend Father Felix , S.J., published by the Lafayette Press (New York) in 1896. I edited the text (a translation from the French) slightly and tried to make it more intelligible. Father Felix explains masterfully the significance of the dedication of our little monastery.

The Place of Divine Grace

The Cenacle was pre-eminently the place of Divine Grace, called therein by the prayer of the apostles and disciples, and especially by the all-powerful prayer of Our Lady, Mother of Grace and Queen of the Apostles.

The Cenacle and the Most Holy Eucharist

Men of God, worthy of attention by reason of their religious virtues and their theological and ascetic science have, to explain the uniquely graced atmosphere of the Cenacle, had recourse to pious suppositions, which, without being of the value of a demonstration, possess with a certain probability a value of edification. We content ourselves here with recalling them without pretending either to repudiate them or to approve them entirely. Among these suppositions, one of the most likely and the best authorized by tradition, one that is even admitted to be almost certain by serious theologians, is that the Apostles in the Cenacle consecrated the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, conformably to His divine recommendation: "Do this for a commemoration of me," and that all the disciples present, with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, there participated in the holy mysteries. However more or less well founded may be this supposition, we have in no wise need of it to establish in a certain and incontestable manner what we have just affirmed, namely: that the primitive Cenacle was pre-eminently the place of Divine Grace.

It was in the Cenacle that our Lord Jesus Christ instituted the Sacrament of His Body and Blood, or of the life of God communicated to men in a permanent manner by our High Priest and Divine Mediator. Consequently, the Cenacle was the first place on earth honored and consecrated by the presence of the Eucharistic God, that is to say by the very source of Divine Grace, our Lord Jesus Christ. This same mystery of the Cenacle was, is, and will be perpetuated in the Church even to the consummation of the ages.

The Cenacle and the Blessed Virgin Mary

It was in the Cenacle also, in the Cenacle especially, that Divine Grace was exhaled from all the souls there assembled, and especially from the soul of the most Holy Virgin, well called full of grace. There the breath of all those souls in contact and in communication with one another, formed necessarily in that blessed place, as it were, a supernatural atmosphere that permeated every recess of their being and influenced them in every possible way.

The Cenacle and the Holy Ghost

Finally, it was in the Cenacle that, on the morning of Pentecost at the Third Hours, Divine Grace made its most solemn manifestation and its most brilliant apparition in a great wind and in tongues of fire. Thus did the Holy Ghost enter into the souls of the Apostles so as afterwards to spread Himself abroad in the city of Jerusalem and from there throughout the universe.

The First of All Our Temples

Thus looked upon, the Cenacle is indeed what we have named it, the privileged place of Divine Grace. However modest it may have been by it's dimensions and by its architecture, no place has ever equaled it in importance, and no Christian temple, however sacred, has ever been so filled with Divine Grace as was that first of all our temples.

The Prayer of the Cenacle

But by what mysterious power was Divine Grace attracted to the Cenacle? What was it that caused it to descend in all and in each one with that plenitude the Holy Scripture expresses by these prodigious words: "They were all filled with the Holy Ghost; repleti sunt omnes Spiritu Sancto ?" The Scripture in the same Book of the Acts of the Apostles answers this question and explains to us this mystery : "All these were persevering with one mind in prayer with the women and Mary, the Mother of Jesus; Hi omnes erant perseverantes unanimiter in oratione cum mulieribus, et Maria matre Jesu. (Acts 1:14)

It is true that already, as we have just said, the Cenacle had, by the single fact of the institution of the Eucharistic Mystery, become the sacred dwelling of Divine Grace. But it may be remarked that the Saviour preceded and accompanied the consecration of His Body and Blood by His own prayer, as though He wished himself to prelude by prayer what may be called the installation of Divine Grace in the Cenacle.

What caused Divine Grace and divine life to descend and enter the Cenacle abundantly and super-abundantly was prayer. And what kind of prayer?

Universal prayer; for all prayed; all without exception.
Unanimous and fraternal prayer; for all prayed with one same mind and heart: unanimiter.
Persevering prayer: erant perseverantes in oratione.
Prayer confident of the promise of the Divine Master.
Omnipotent prayer: yes, omnipotent in Divine Grace and divine order by reason of its union with the prayer of Mary.

The Prayer of Our Blessed Lady

Mary, the Mother of Jesus, prayed in the Cenacle with the apostles, the disciples, and the holy women. She was there as the uniting centre of that collective prayer that mounted from the hearts of all, and especially from her maternal heart to the Heart of her Divine Son. She was there, an all-powerful suppliant; omnipotentia supplex, giving to that universal, unanimous, and persevering prayer the force to draw upon the Cenacle and upon all those abiding therein, with the coming of the Holy Ghost, Divine Grace in essence.

And the Holy Ghost, called down by that victorious prayer, came with the resplendent signs which the Scripture relates; He came bringing the very substance of the supernatural and the plenitude of the gifts it contains.

Sober Drunkenness in the Holy Ghost

Never had anything similar been accomplished in humanity. Those men, but now so subject to all human weaknesses and such slaves of all the miseries of nature, are suddenly so filled, so penetrated, so truly inebriated with the supernatural and the divine, that the Jewish people, witnesses of this incomprehensible phenomenon, judge it to be a natural and material inebriation, the only one they then had any knowledge of; for nothing had ever resembled either closely or remotely this phenomenon, absolutely unique in the history of our human race.

Christ in Us

Behold in its mysterious reality the Apostolic Cenacle having in its centre Mary, Mother of Jesus and Queen of the Apostles. The Cenacle is the type and abridgment of the great mystery of Christianity. What is Christianity considered in its principle and in its intimate life if not the life of Jesus Christ dilating and expanding itself throughout space and time in proportion as the baptized of all nations are incorporated with it? And what is Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word, if not the life of God manifesting itself under the form of our humanity and by God and with God coming to dwell in us. By Him and in Him, truly, we have all that is supernatural and divine; omnia per ipsum et cum ipso. It is in this sense that Saint Paul could say with all truth: "Christ is all my life; mihi vivere Christus est; He is all the life with which I live as a Christian, that is all my divine and supernatural life."

Prayer

In a word, our Christianity is, in essence and in its most intimate principle, Divine Grace, because real Christianity is the life of Jesus Christ living in us, and Jesus Christ is Divine Grace, living and personified in Himself. The Cenacle is the image and the living abridgment of true Christianity, in that the intimate core of Christianity is manifested in its visible form, the organization of the liturgical life and of ceaseless prayer. In each and in all, and in the whole universe, Divine Grace is born, grows, develops and fructifies by prayer. As Jesus Christ in His mortal life prayed and prayed again, so Christianity, which is Jesus Christ Himself dilated throughout the universe, prays. The whole of Christianity is an immense prayer; it is a ceaseless rhythm of prayer rising from all the parts of the universe where Christianity reigns.

As in the Cenacle, the prayer of the Church is persevering and permanent prayer, for the clock of time strikes not an hour when prayer does not spring forth from the hearts of millions and millions of Christians. Literally, that voice of prayer in the bosom of Christianity is not hushed day or night. As in the Cenacle, the Church's universal and permanent prayer is magnificently unanimous, and, it may be added, divinely harmonious.

The Sacred Liturgy

Nothing in humanity equals the grandeur and the beauty of the Catholic liturgy, that is of the immense concert of organized prayer in the circle of Christianity, resounding everywhere: the voice of Christ the Head and of His Mystical Body, the Church. The Church prays at one same time in all parts of the world by those members whom she has hierarchically and officially charged with her prayer. From the rising of the sun to its setting, ascends that permanent, universal and harmonious prayer that is like a continuous aspiration by which the great Mystical Body of Jesus Christ draws to itself, develops and increases incessantly, the life of Divine Grace, the life of God in us.

The Ecclesia Orans

Such is the Church, living like the Cenacle by Divine Grace as by its own element, and inhaling Divine Grace by the power of prayer. The more a Christian institution, under whatever form, would represent and express in a more perfect manner the life of the Church and the life of the Cenacle, the more it should, like Christianity in the universe and like the Apostles in the Cenacle, immerse itself in Divine Grace and drawing Divine Grace to itself, by the enactment of the Sacred Liturgy and by ceaseless prayer.

Therefore all the religious institutions that from age to age have sprung from the ever fruitful womb of the Catholic Church, have in this respect been formed to the image of the Ecclesia Orans, the praying Church, as the praying Church herself was formed to the image of the Cenacle.

About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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