"He gave to his God not just the fruit,
but the root, trunk and branches of his life.
He gave all and won all— the only All—
the eternal All— God."
Raymond OSCO, Fr. M. (2015-09-07). From Cowboy to Contemplative: The Amazing Story of the Trappist Monk, Brother Mary Joachim, O.C.S.O. “The Man Who got Even With God” (Kindle Locations 120-123). Institute on Religious Life (here). Kindle Edition.
At 25 pages, this is little more than an epitaph for the first American citizen to become a Trappist brother and persevere in the vowed life until his death. It is a masterful celebration of this man's life, offering countless insights into Trappist spirituality and what we class as heroic virtue. I hope Amazon won't delay too long in making the whole book available in a Kindle Edition.
A frequent topic in my years in Ukraine was the urgent need for a revival of Byzantine monasticism and its full insertion into the life of the Church as it is today. Among the monks with whom I spoke, there reigned a certain anxiousness concerning their possibilities to find their place anew in society as Christian and living for Christ. The general Western tendency has been to despair of the possibilities for monks and especially for contemplatives to contribute to the life of the Church. There is a fundamental insertion into the lives of others which must be: it is so that we understand the care which St. Teresa of Avila took in choosing the places for her new foundations. Even so, the genius of the contemplative life is in its hiddenness and self-abnegation:
"Jesus had died because of sin, so,
because of sin,
Joachim would live what the world called death."
(Kindle Locations 242-243).
Advent is meant to be a time for all of us to discover our vocation to be watchmen, keeping a lookout in expectation of the coming of the Lord. Pray with me this season for a monastic revival in the Church, especially for the Trappists. The self-abnegation of some out of love for the Person of Jesus Christ can certainly help us all to live more fully our specific vocations to priesthood, apostolate, marriage and family life.
PROPERANTES ADVENTUM DIEI DEI