The Monastic Mirror


Monday, February 15, 2010

Our Lives should be a constant Lent.....

The Rule of Benedict in Chapter 49 begins by instructing us that our life should be a constant Lent.  We are encouraged to increase our "measure of giving" to more private prayer, lectio, and alms to the poor.  Monks are to also deny themselves some sleep, drink, food and unnecessary talk as a way of preparing for the Easter season.  It is a time to retreat into the wilderness with Jesus and take a spiritual inventory of our self.  It is a period of self denial in food, sleep, and the extras than can cause us to loose sight of what our lives as "Monks" ought to be...lives of service to one another.  As we enter into this holy season....walk and pray in the wilderness with Jesus.  Contemplate your life....the good, the bad and yes even the ugly....This is time to recommit, to do the spring cleaning of your soul ....for Lent is a journey of ongoing conversion and new beginnings. 

     May you all have a Blessed and grace filled Lenten journey....

Sunday, February 14, 2010

St. Paul Outside the Walls

This beautiful mosaic dates back to the 13th century and was fully restored after the fire to St. Paul's in 1836.  It was one of the many mosaic's that grace the ceiling of the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.  We were honored to be given a tour by Abbot Edmond Power, O.S.B. who continues a long Benedictine tradition at St. Paul's since Pope Gregory II established a Benedictine community in 937. 

The beautiful mosaic apse above the Popes chair depicts Jesus with Peter, Andrew, Paul and Luke.  The scroll in St. Paul's hand is interpreted to read..."We do not know how to pray as we ought but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings"  Romans 8:36

This ancient Paschal stand which dates from the 12th century, depicts scenes from creations tree of life, Pontious Pilate washing his hands, the death of Christ, the Resurrection of Christ.  It is beautiful and at one time was outside in the weather but was essentially unharmed...that was before "acid" rain.