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Monday, February 23, 2009

A Visit to the Monastery

This is the monastery, with one part of the residence completed. The lean-to sheds are surrounding the cloister, or open square which will eventually be surrounded by buildings on all four sides. The crypt chapel is the concrete structure to the right, and it will be the foundation for the church.
Here is a better view of the crypt chapel.
Below are three views of the guest house where we stayed. It is a really cool log cabin house!

After taking these pictures with my cell phone camera, I put it away, since there was no signal out that neck of the woods. So I did not take any pictures of the work, nor did I take a picture of the stream I forded in the 2006 Ford Explorer.

I took two of the Noisykids to a working retreat at Our Lady of the Annunciation Monastery at Clear Creek in Oklahoma. Check out their website for a lot of great pictures of the monastery and their property.

We went there last year, as described here in this blog entry. This year, to the disappointment of the boys (and I suspect most of the dads) we did NOT get to clear brush and set it on fire. Instead, we spent the weekend laying electrical wire around what would become pastures for goats or cattle.

I asked one of the brothers for advice to tell my sons if they were considering the religious life. After a few moments, he said, PRAY, THINK ABOUT IT, and LEARN TO RIDE A BICYCLE. Hmmm.

I try to work as long as there is sunlight, but after sunset I tried to get some spiritual time in before collapsing in bed. I went to confession, perused the book store in the Gate House, and got to eat dinner with the monks on Friday night. If you want to read the long version of how meals are served, take a look at the book called The Rule of St. Benedict.

My version of dinner follows: First, the Prior(Head of the Monastery) meets the guests at the door of the refectory(dining room) and washes the hands of the guests. This is a cursory, ceremonial washing, so it behooves the pilgrim to clean under his nails before presenting himself for dinner.

By the way, only men and boys can eat with the monks, as this is an area restricted to men only.

After saying grace, a section of the Rule of St. Benedict is read aloud by a monk who chants throughout the meal. During the meal, the reader chanted the text of one of Pope Benedict XVI's recent audiences. After sitting, food is served to the guests. A word to the wise: eat fast and eat heartily, for an empty plate is whisked away as fast as it is emptied.

The meal started with a soup, and I followed the example I saw last year, where the pilgrim sitting across from me broke pieces of his slice of homemade bread into the soup in order to expedite the consumption of said soup. All of the food was delicious.

After the soup, we were served an omelet, which was a bit too salty for my taste - but then again, I am trying to avoid a lot of salty foods.

Rice pudding followed, and I thought that I should send my wife's recipe for rice pudding to the good monks. I am not a fan of rice pudding, but I do know that no one makes rice pudding like my wife's rice pudding.

Out of the corner of my eye I noticed one of the monks set a plate of some dark things next to my plate. I expected them to be dates, which we had last year with the rice pudding. Instead the plate was filled with knockoff Oreo cookies. I skipped them.

I did drink the lemonade they had at the table rather than the water.

I went to Low Mass Saturday and Sunday morning, and Compline (night prayers) each night. Sitting in the crypt chapel, listening to the monks chant the psalms, gave me a tremendous sense of wonder and joy, realizing that regardless of what is happening in the world, be it death, sorrow, joy, or pain, these monks are there every day praying for our souls.


Rick said...

It's always interesting to read about other people's experiences at the monastery!
I've been going there usually 2 or 3 times a year since 2001. I was there last March, but I got there on March 27; it looks like we just missed meeting! And my next trip is next month. But maybe one of these days we'll meet there.
If you'd like to see my pictures from the monastery (including pictures from before the move to the new monastery) I've got them on my web site here:

Rick Kephart
http://RickMK.com, http://LPHRC.org

dadwithnoisykids said...

Rick: I used to subscribe to a homeschooling discussion group you ran; in fact, the picture which inspired my blog title first showed up on your discussion list. Scorpion Stalking Duck was one of several pictures I put up to show how big the scorpions were in San Antonio.

Roman Sacristan said...

Wish you were HERE.
(You know where! LOL)

Same Divine Office and similar schedule. Much more breathtaking surroundings though IMHO. But the people here talk a bit funny. LOL

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Lead me away from all occasions of sin.
Guide me in fulfilling your last words in the Gospel,
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