Celebrating 50 Years: Week 34


Tenebrae at the Abbey & Candles

On the mornings of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday, the morning offices (Office of Readings or Matins and Morning Prayer or Lauds) have a slightly different form at the abbey.  Those who assist at them in the abbey church will immediately notice a large candelabra with 13 candles in front of the altar.  Each one of these is individually extinguished throughout the course of the 90 minutes of the ceremony. During these hours, the Lamentations of Jeremiah are sung as solos by 9 different members of the community, and there is an intense focus on the passion and death of the Savior. These offices begin at 6:15 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday mornings, and many of the faithful attend them, because they find much solace and food for meditation in their serene and beautiful texts and melodies.

Celebrating 50 Years: Week 32


Giving one hour

Jesus, during His agony in the garden at Gethsemani, reproached the Apostles for their slumbering indifference: "Could you not watch one hour with me?" Lent is a good time to start a practice of watching for an hour with Christ.  This can take many different forms, and here will be mentioned three:

We can watch with Christ through an hour of work for the poor, such as volunteering in a soup kitchen, a home for unwed mothers, a nursing home or a hospital. Our Lord told us that what we do for the least of our brothers, He takes as having been done to Him.  Another way of giving an hour to Christ is to spend time with people in our families who need our presence, time that is marked by focus and care, time that is not rushed or given reluctantly.  In an age of social "networking" and constant email and "texting" there is less true interaction than ever. We can take the time out to sit with an elderly relative or a lonely person we know and just listen to them. Simply listening to someone and giving them the gift of our time is a great act of charity. Finally, and most profoundly, one can watch for an hour with Christ by spending time in prayer - and this is the most difficult of all these practices to observe over the long term. And yet this watching with the Lord is the practice that will give all the other forms of almsgiving their efficacy; it is a most fruitful practice, and perseverance at it will be rewarded highly even in this life here below.


Celebrating 50 Years: Week 33


Q: Why are sacred images being covered this weekend?

A: The Catholic Encyclopedia reads: "Before Vespers of Saturday preceding the 5th Sunday of Lent the crosses, statues, and pictures of our Lord and of the saints on the altar and throughout the church, with the sole exception of the crosses and pictures of the Way of the Cross, are to be covered with a violet veil, not translucent, nor in any way ornamented. The crosses remain covered until after the solemn unveiling of the principal crucifix on Good Friday."  One reason for this is to help the faithful focus more inwardly on the events of Our Lord's Passion by thinking on the real events as they unfold in the Masses and Offices of Holy Week, without the aid of other symbols.  In such a way, we take hold more surely of these sacred mysteries in our own following of Jesus.


Celebrating 50 Years: Week 31


What is Holy Hour?

Many of the saints and spiritual writers have advocated the idea of the "Holy Hour" - an hour's time spent before the Lord in the tabernacle or even the Blessed Sacrament exposed.  This time can be spent reading Scripture, saying the Rosary, reading a spiritual book, or focusing one's attention on the Lord in a gentle way, keeping aware of His love and care.

The Holy Hour is made every day at the abbey, and if you live in our area, you are warmly encouraged to come and join us.  The way it is practiced at St. Michael's includes exposition, the recitation of Compline, a period of silent meditation (during which the sacrament of confession is available in the back of the church) and then Benediction.  This is a very fruitful way to spend an hour in the evening and to get to know the Lord and His will in your life better.



Page 16 of 26