My heart hath talked of thee, Seek ye my face,
Thy face, Lord, will I seek. (Psalm 27: 9)
As Easter approaches once again it behoves me to write to you a few words of encouragement.
This month we have had the great pleasure of blessing Dom Edward as Titular Abbot of Llanthony, for our Benedictine community, and also the pleasure of admitting to the habit, two novices, Fr +Angelo and Fr Giovanni, so as I write this on St Joseph's Day, I am quite focussed on the Benedictine vocation, which indeed has always played an important role for many in our church.
In the 58th chapter of the Rule, St Benedict writes that the Novice Master, ought to examine whether the novice “is truly seeking God”, which seeking of God has always been a fundamental concept of Benedictine spirituality. St Benedict indicates a straight and narrow way, in obedience to the rule, whereby the monk or nun may hope to find God eventually, however, for us poor sinners, one and a half thousand years later, times have certainly changed. It would appear that the more advanced we have become through education and technology, the softer we have become as men and women and the less able to ascend to the heights of monastic asceticism in imitation of our monastic forebears. Fortunately for us though, the Holy Spirit has continued to inspire fresh approaches to the spiritual life through the subsequent centuries and for those of us who are committed to daily, or at least frequent, Eucharistic Adoration (whether as members of the Holy Cross Benedictines of Adoration or as members of the Confraternity of the Life of Mary) a very direct way of seeking God is indicated, for not only do we seek God through the tried and tested means of obedience, stability within the community, and a gradual conversion of life through the Divine Office, the Mass and Lectio Divina, we have also already found Him.
We find Him daily in Holy Communion and most especially in Adoration, when we can chat to him as a familiar friend and listen to his consoling and guiding voice, as heart speaks to heart in the light of His Presence. Adoration is in fact a foretaste of heaven, available to all, the surest way to intimate union with God and the greatest mercy of God to his weaker children in these latter days.
Adoration is above all the way of Love, for of the Blessed Sacrament St Bernard has written”The divine is hidden; the human is hidden, love alone is left for all to see”. Yes indeed, gazing on the Blessed Sacrament in Adoration we are looking at none other than pure Love, the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus! If we are faithfiul to this practice, eventually, we may hope to gain the simplicity of the old man, who when asked by St Jean Vianney what he did in Eucharistic Adoration replied simply, “Oh I look at Him and He looks at me”. To those who truly love, this is enough.
As the Shakers sing, “Tis the gift to be simple, tis the gift to be free, tis the gift to come down where we ought to be” and where we ought to be my dear friends is before the tabernacle or the monstrance. God is indeed everywhere for those who have eyes to see, but most especially we may seek and find Him in the tabernacle and the monstrance.
Peace and every blessing to you all.
In Jesus and Mary,
+Alistair OSBA (csr),