Life in a Monastery: September 2008 Archives

It's pickin' time at the abbey

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Macintosh.jpgMonks work. So beware of idle Benedictine monks --or any man who claimes to be monk for that matter --who don't lift a finger to work around the house to work. Today apples were picked from the abbey orchard. The seniors among us work in the orchard. Abbot Brian, Brother Tarcicius and I spent some time this afternoon picking macintosh apples. Trees some 70 years old continue to bear fruit. Makes you wonder why these old apple trees continue to bear fruit and older institutions like Lehman Brothers collapse; the obvious notwithstanding. The good news is that some apples went to the abbey kitchen and some went to the football team. The apples were beautiful and delicious!

Saint Charles Borromeo, patron of apple orchards: pray for us!

Now that I've been here for little more than 2 months Father Abbot Giles has drawn together some things to study. Monastic formation is not just for beginners but properly speaking it is a work for a lifetime. A postulant is not a technical member of the community but someone asking the question if it is his vocation to live God's call in a particular religious community; in this case, is Saint Mary's Abbey the place to be a monk.

Since in July the Abbot and I have read together the Rule of Saint Benedict now it is time to go deeper. So, we're going to be reading Benedictine Father Terrence Kardong's magisterial work on the Holy Rule and some chapters in Benedictine Sister Aquinata Bockman's study on the Rule.

Also, Father Hiliary, the novice and junior master, is walking me through the house customary. This is an agreed upon set of house customs, that is, "how we do things here."

Through July and August a small book club was formed to discuss Fr Jeremy Driscoll's book What Happens at Mass, a wonderful introduction for some and an appropriate reminder for others on the theology of the Mass. It is a thorough exposition on the Church's theology of the Mass. This work is not as comprehensive as Driscoll's Theology at the Eucharistic Table, which is aimed at Master's students and above.

Above all, what sets a monk's formation apart from others is the daily practice of Lectio Divina. The supreme gift of monasticism to the Church.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]



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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Life in a Monastery category from September 2008.

Life in a Monastery: August 2008 is the previous archive.

Life in a Monastery: December 2008 is the next archive.

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