The Great O Antiphons PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fr Augustine   
Saturday, 20 December 2014 22:45

Each year, the final days of Advent are marked by the great 'O' Magnificat antiphons, which form the basis for the Advent hymn 'O come, o come, Emmanuel,' and have been chanted by the Church since at least the 8th century. Each antiphon begins with the interjection 'O,' followed by a title of our Lord, and a plea for His coming. The antiphon for 21st December, incidentally the 4th Sunday of Advent this year, begins, 'O Oriens.' Translated, it is as follows:

    O Dayspring,

    Splendor of Eternal Light,

    and Sun of Justice,

    Come, and illumine those sitting in darkness,

    and in the shadow of death.


From Bl. Columba Marmion, O.S.B.'s Christ in His Mysteries: '[T]he Church celebrates at Christmas the nativity of her Divine Spouse: "When the sun rises in the heavens you will see the King of kings ... like a bridegroom coming in splendor from his wedding-chamber"; and she, the Church, wishes to prepare us, by the weeks of Advent, for the coming of Christ within us. It is a coming that is wholly interior, mysterious, taking place in faith, but full of fruitfulness.'


Last Updated on Saturday, 20 December 2014 23:16
Brother John's Diaconate Ordination PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fr Augustine   
Saturday, 13 December 2014 16:03

Congratualtions to Brother John, who was ordained to the diaconate on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe!

His Excellency Bishop Rice, auxialiary bishop of St. Louis, was the ordaining prelate. Please pray for Brother John as he continues his studies for the priesthood in Washington, D.C. in the spring. From Bishop Rice's homily:

     'I testify that he has been found worthy.' [...] The worthiness that has been attested to has nothing to do with academic ability or intellectual prowess. It is not a declaration that you have achieved some level of sanctity or holiness. Nor is it a statement of some degree of pastoral talent. Such an understanding would erroneously imply that you have somehow 'earned' ordination. No, your worthiness is found in your desire to 'die to self,' you are worthy to the degree that you are willing to abandon your life to the will of God and in doing so, embracing ordination within the Benedictine way of life, as St. Benedict himself states in the Prologue, 'To you... who are renouncing your own will to do battle under the Lord Christ, the true King, and are taking up the strong, bright weapons of obedience.' Remember, Brother John, the greatest battle is with self, the will, the ego. Fight that fight, win that battle and you will grow in holiness.

     With ordination to the diaconate your Benedictine life will be intensified and enhanced and challenge you to greater perfection. Your life of prayer, including the Liturgy of the Hours and founded on the celebration of the Eucharist, is 'among the principal duties of your Benedictine life.' But now, through ordination, your prayer will 'sanctify the People of God and whole world' as you strive to fulfill what is expressed in this ordination ritual - to 'pray without ceasing.'

Welcome to the Abbey of Saint Mary and Saint Louis PDF Print E-mail

It is my great pleasure to welcome you to our website and introduce you to our way of life as Benedictine monks at the Abbey of Saint Mary and Saint Louis.  Over a millennium and a half ago, our Holy Father Benedict placed great attention on the reception of guests, and it is upon his instructions on the subject that I will base my introduction.  He noted that "after the guests have been received, they should be invited to pray; then the superior or an appointed brother will sit with them" (Rule of Saint Benedict 53:8). I would like to fulfill the first precept by praying for your growth in holiness.  May you grow each day in your knowledge and love for the Lord Jesus and may his Spirit guide you to what he wants you to be. I also request your prayers for our community, specifically that we may grow in numbers and holiness.

As for the second precept, "to sit with you," I would like to fulfill it by giving you a word on the goal of monastic life.  In a world that seeks freedom with an enthusiasm perhaps greater than ever before, we would like to describe our Benedictine way of life as a journey towards that freedom.  It is our deep conviction that:

To love God with all our being,
to be abandoned to Him,
possessed by Him,
and so able, through His Spirit,
to love our neighbor as ourselves
is, as human beings, our greatest freedom.

The apparently effortless freedom of the artist, the gymnast, or the dancer is the fruit of long hours of discipline and practice.  So, too, the patience, gentleness, and wisdom of the mature monk are the fruit of quiet perseverance in a life that blends the structure of the Rule with a constant openness to the demands of the Spirit.  Ours is a life of growth toward complete freedom, that freedom which will be ours as children of God when, in His mercy, we see Him face to face.  But here and now we may grow daily in our union with Him and, as our union grows, so does our freedom.

Everyone yearns for the freedom of holiness, and each has his unique path to it.  It is my prayer and hope that by learning of our path you may find applications for your own journey into an ever-deeper union with God.

Laus Tibi Domine,

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