Homily by Archbishop John Vlazny 12-12-2016 Back on March 1, 1955, our Catholic Church here in western Oregon became the home of these Trappist monks, our brothers, who today celebrate their patronal feast, Our Lady of Guadalupe. Like most migrants, they arrived quietly and, I presume, without much fanfare. The beautiful surroundings, rich in agricultural potential, more than the faith-filled people of the time, predecessors of most of us here present this morning, motivated their move from New Mexico, where they had their beginnings in 1948. But over the years, their quiet and prayerful presence among us has nurtured and supported their neighbors’ Baptismal call to be effective missionary disciples. But they too, even though not engaged directly in pastoral ministry across this historic archdiocese, have become spiritual shepherds, happily tainted by the “smell of the sheep”, who regularly, like today, frequent these holy grounds!
Homily by Abbot Peter McCarthy: 8-24-2016 I am impatient with these branches, this light. The sky, however blue, intrudes. Because I’ve begun to see there is something else I must do, I can’t quite catch the rhythm of days I moved well to in other winters. The steeple tree was cut down, the one that daybreak used to gild – that fervor of birds and cherubim subdued. Drought has dulled many a green blade.
Monastic Life Retreat – August 2016 By Steve Fawver What gifts this community has given to me — gifts that will continue to emerge and grow for the rest of my days. I have been a pastor at Newberg Friends (Quaker) Church for 25 years, and over those years I have driven out to Our Lady of Guadalupe Trappist Abbey almost every week for some time of prayer and meditation. When I was considering a plan for my four-month sabbatical there was no doubt that I wanted to spend the first month with this community. What a privilege it was for me to join the brothers for the first 30 days of my sabbatical as a participant in a Monastic Life Retreat (MLR).
Monastic Life Retreat – August 2016 By Jacob Hayden Introduction I arrived at Our Lady of Guadalupe trappist Abbey the evening on July 25th, not knowing quite what to expect. The first day Br. Chris greeted me and told me simply to relax for the first few days. I spent the time joining the monks for their periods of community prayer (the divine office) to acclimate myself to the schedule, exploring the woods during the afternoons and reading some books. Upon entering the cloister on July 27th Br. Chris shared the two rules of the Monastic Life Retreat (MLR): rule #1 don’t worry and #2 show up to the divine office.
Homily by Abbot Peter McCarthy: 5-10-2016 The more you let yourself be distracted From where you are going, The more you are the person That you are. It’s not so much like getting lost As it is like getting found.
My Brothers & Friends, The senior Presbyterian pastor & internationally acclaimed author, Frederick Buechner, once reflected from his many years of pastoral ministry that: When a minister reads out of the bible, I am sure that at least nine times out of ten the people who happen to be listening at all hear not what is really being read but only what they expect to hear read. And I think that what most people expect to hear read from the Bible is an edifying story, an uplifting thought, a moral lesson – something elevating, obvious, and boring. So that is exactly what very often they do hear. Only that is too bad because if you really listen – and maybe you have to forget that it is the Bible being read and a minister who is reading it – If you really listen – there is no telling what you might hear.
Homily by Abbot Peter McCarthy: 3-27-2016 “The dynamism of the Easter mystery is at the heart of the Christian faith. The resurrection is not a doctrine we try to prove or a problem we argue about; it is the very immediate life & action of Christ in us by his Holy Spirit.” The words, My Sisters & Brothers, are those of Thomas Merton from his last Easter homily.
Homily by Abbot Peter McCarthy: 3-24-2016 “On the tenth of this month every one of your families must procure for itself, a lamb, one apiece for each household… This is how you are to eat it: with your loins girt, sandals on your feet and your staff in hand, you shall eat like those who are in flight. It is the Passover of the Lord.” Exodus 12
Homily by Abbot Peter McCarthy: 11-26-2015 Today’s Gospel is both a thanksgiving & an invitation: “Come to me all you who labor & are burdened & I will give you rest.” This Gospel is one of the most explicit expressions of thanksgiving – of gratitude – coming from the heart of Jesus of Nazareth. “I give praise to you Father – “I give thanks to you Father” “I confess – I give witness to you, Father.” Jesus is deeply immersed in this prayer…this is a gratitude that is intimate enough to be both a witness & a revelation.
Monastic Life Retreat – October 2015 By Edward Christian The Monastic Life Retreat is a month-long immersion into an ancient way of life that remains vital and compelling in our own day. It’s an opportunity to step away from the commotion of the world and step into the reality of living in accord with St. Benedict’s three-fold dictum, “Ora, Labora et Lectio”– prayer, work and reading/study. Even if you’re not called to leave the world and enter the monastery, an encounter with this place may well make it possible for you to bring a little of the monastery to the world.
Monastic Life Retreat – August 2015 By Ron Walker Our Lady of Guadalupe Trappist Abbey is located only an hour away from my home. Several times a month, for the last four years, I have driven down to the small Oregon town of Lafayette to share in the hospitality of this monastic community. When I make my visit, I observe their evening prayer offices of Vespers and Compline, participate in a contemplative prayer sit with the monks, admire the lovely peaceful landscape, and then drive home.
Reflection: “What is a monastery?” By David Buttrick I had a great time on my Monastic Life Retreat! Before I visited Our Lady of Guadalupe Abbey, I had been living on a small organic vegetable farm for several years. I was eager for a journey. I wanted to learn about life in a Christian monastery. I enjoy new experiences and learning about different cultures but I also wanted to see if some of the values I had learned were also cherished by the monks. After all, from what little I knew about monasticism both Western and Eastern, I’d heard that regular periods of manual labor served not only to finance and support the community physically, but also as a kind of moving meditation; a way of losing one’s self-consciousness through discipline, service and interaction with the natural world.
by David Richen, Church Architect: 12-6-14 Thank you, Abbot Peter and Community for this opportunity to once again offer a few thoughts on the design of this Church. Thank you also Br. Todd for your trenchant comments and excellent homily.
Br. Brian O’ Dowd: An Irish Monk in Oregon. I am a monk from Ireland and currently living in Guadalupe Abbey for over a year now. I have been asked to share some of my experiences which I am very happy to do.
A Monastic Life Experience: Jason Brown Chanting to the Moon: My Experience as a Monastic Life Retreatant at Our Lady of Guadalupe Trappist Abbey in Carlton, OR. Jason M. Brown PhD Student, University of British Columbia
We’ve just finished a Monastic Life Retreat and one of our participants, Michael, was kind enough to share some thoughts about his time with us. Michael’s Monastic Life Experience: I am not in a particularly unique position for a North American guy in his mid-twenties. I’ve recently finished college but, for whatever reason, am at a loss as to where to go next.
The life of monks and nuns of the Benedictine family is often summarized by the brief phrase “ora et labora,” prayer and work. But it seems to me that this “motto” leaves something crucial out of our lifestyle. What more accurately captures our monastic commitment is “lectio, et ora, et labora.” This “lectio”, reading, is most often accompanied in the Latin west with the adjective “divina,” the very adjective itself surely pointing to the supreme importance of this spiritual practice in the lives of contemplative monks and nuns. So what exactly is this divine reading, and why is it so central to the monastic ascesis and witness?
by Fr. Dismas Gannon The author of The Cloud of Unknowing reminds us that contemplative prayer is God’s gift, it is not something we can acquire by our own efforts. But he suggests that, to keep our minds simple and open for this gift, we should often repeat the little words “sin” and “God”. I would like to add two other, little words to repeat often: “Yes” and “No”.
Prayer: A Personal Reflection by Br. Paul Rowe Here I will say something about my own understanding and experience of prayer, while laying no claim to “expertise.” I will focus on personal prayer, leaving aside the consideration of liturgical prayer which, especially in the celebration of the Eucharist, is the “source and summit of the Christian life” (Lumen Gentium 11; Sacosantum Concilium 10), and which in some sense makes possible all Christian prayer.