Spreading…makes life more interesting, or a least it makes the flowers grow. Yesterday Gail, the abbot’s administrative assistant, brought me a gift, a token of appreciation. Well, I requested it so it’s technically not a gift. Gail brought me a feed bag of mature horse manure from her own horses; it’s mature manure I am assured. I got a phone call from Brother Anthony saying that I had a bag of … manure on the front steps. Not wanting to offend guests I quickly moved the bag to the Saint Francis garden.
Before the night rain fell and after vespers but before the total loss of daylight, I made a mad-dash to the garden to spread the “garden tea.” I couldn’t help but remember -and laughing riotously– at what a senior Jesuit friend of mine said of Jesuits and horse manure: if you keep Jesuits together they stink; if you spread them around, they fertilize. I think you get the point. Besides hoping for the cooperative intercession of Saint Francis, I am expecting the manure to heighten the garden’s capacities.
Much of last week I had my friend Brother Michael visiting me. It was nice to have him here. As it is said, “Hospes venit, Christus venit.” A stranger comes, Christ comes. This saying is part of the Rule of Saint Benedict and we often find it on signs at Benedictine monasteries: “Let every stranger be received as Christ himself.” Brother Michael is not a stranger to me but he was to members of the community for a very short time. The others we edified by his presence and I got a chance to share life with a friend.
Last Saturday we had the privilege of welcoming back to the Abbey and the College Father Dwight Longenecker, an Oblate of Saint Benedict, to speak to interested parties on Saint Thérèse of Lisieux and her “little way” as a fitting approach to living Lent. His blog, Standing on My Head is a popular read.
These last days have been interesting and boring at the same time. More painting is taking place. This time we’re doing the Compline room, the place where Night Prayer is prayed; it badly needed some fresh paint on the walls. We also did some garden work in a neglected area of the monastery gardens and we did some odds-and-ends.
One of the postulants decided to leave the abbey thus ending his discernment in following a monastic vocation. Mary, Help of Christians – Belmont Abbey is much the poorer. Andrew is 24 and a recent grad of Belmont Abbey College and Saint John’s in Annapolis. We wish him well and many blessings.
My fun reading this week is a book on the Solesmes and Dom Gueranger: 1805-1875 (Paraclete Press, 1996).