One of the things that makes the Church so beautiful is its universality--the extent to which Holy Mother Church unites the faithful in a common life. This is particularly evident in the Holy Season of Lent, in which Catholics around the world unite their prayers, fasting, and almsgiving to enter more deeply, as one body, into the Paschal Mystery.
Because they are places of common life and prayer, abbeys observe the season of Lent with a particular degree of reverence and rigor to prepare for the triumph and joy of Easter. And while many monastic Lenten observances can be quite intense, the communal approach to this holy season can be a rich and rewarding experience for all Christians.
This Lent, the Norbertine canons of St. Michael's Abbey invite you to join them for Ad Cenam Agni, a virtual Lenten Retreat from the Abbot's Circle. This new, daily series of reflections, sermons, chants, and conversations is intended to help you draw deeper into the beauty of common prayer and Norbertine abbey life.
Let us hold each other in prayer as we journey, together, toward the Supper of the Lamb!
If you haven't yet, you can sign up for emails to be remembered in our prayer this Lent, and to receive new Lenten content as it is released.
The season of Lent is here: are you ready? Watch Five Ways to Prepare for Lent as Fr. Claude Williams and Fr. Ambrose Criste discuss ways you can better prepare for this blessed season.
The feast of the Annunciation celebrates the very moment in which the divine and human natures came together in Jesus Christ.
In a counterintuitive action, the Church has us veil the images that depict Christ and the saints during Passiontide. If we are focusing on His Passion, why are we veiling these images?
God becoming man is only one side of the equation. He became one with us so that we could become one with him. God became man so that men might become gods.
Jesus performed many miracles. One of the purposes of these miracles was to demonstrate his divine power. By freely wielding the power of God through miraculous feats, Jesus meant to show that he was really and truly God.
As unimaginable as it may seem, the unchanging God has taken to himself a human nature in order to suffer like us and for us.
If we arrive at this charity to our neighbor, the humility of seeing ourselves as we are before God, and the courage to persevere, we will come to a more vivid experience of the Lord’s great love for us, and thus be transformed in love even before our death.
Is it true that Our Lord's Crucifixion is also the death of God? And did Jesus really have to die for our sins?
The very structure of the daily prayers in an abbey helps remind the religious of impending death. We have to foresee this moment by preparing well, being vigilant, ready.
As we prepare for this supreme moment of our death, when we must appear before our Savior and our Judge, wisdom teaches us that it is essential to consider His own death, and to realize that he went through that for us.
We must never be discouraged by our sufferings here below, they help to conform us to Christ, and if accepted with trust in God, they make us holy.
Although the crosses each one of us carries are individual, and tailor-made, every last one of us will die. In a very real sense, our death is the supreme moment and the frame of our life.
The practice of Christian contemplation can eventually permeate our every moment, readying us for the life of heaven.
Art's ability to unite and engage the heart and mind helps us enter in a deeper way into the mysteries of our Faith.
God, the principal Author of Scripture, knows all times and souls in one eternal moment. The Word of God truly had you in mind when he inspired the ancient prophets to hide his infinite wisdom within human words.
Even the Old Testament passages that at first appear to be tedious “filler” become beautiful when we understand them as types of Christ!
This spiritual sense is more than just foreshadowing and symbolism; any good writer can do that. But because God is the Author not only of the Bible, but of Nature and of History, he can make the things described to really be signs of other things!
These are not just edifying stories, but the solid, really historical foundation through which God prepared and worked out our salvation!
God does not bless human sin, but he is more than willing to pick up children who try and fail.
Allegri's Miserere is one of the most famous and most beautiful pieces of sacred music ever composed. It is a song of great sorrow and an appeal to God's mercy: poignant at any season of Life, but especially during Lent.
Redemption means more than buying each of us back from a bad life; it means restoration. And what needs to be restored most in every human soul without exception is trust in God.
Valuing power and strength is clearly not wrong. But it is spiritually deadly to seek them apart from God.
We want God to deliver us from sin now. Right now! But the wisdom of the psalmist submits all desire for deliverance to God’s time.
Scripture tells us to have sorrow for sin, but warns about going to excess . . .
In Lent, the chants of the Church grow more and more dramatic: driving, slowly, toward a crescendo at Easter.
Sooner or later, whether we are inside the monastery or out in the world, God is going to invite us to make that next step forward in giving our lives to Him.