20th September – The Korean Martyrs

Today, 20th September, the Church celebrates the feast of the Korean martyrs, St Andrew Kim Taegon and his companions.  Apart from the terrible accounts of the persecution which the early Korean believers had to undergo as Christianity established itself in the Korean peninsula, and their subsequent torture and executions, one thing above all must always be remembered and discussed when we call to mind these Korean faith witnesses: the Church in Korea began not with evangelisation carried out by indigenous or foreign missionaries bringing and sowing the seed of the Word of God and the sacramental life of the Church, but by the thirst and supernatural desire of the Korean lay men and women who allowed a holy curiosity to draw them toward the faith. 

Solemnity of Our Father St Bernard of Clairvaux, Abbot and Doctor of the Church (20th August)

Just a few years after Robert of Molesmes left the Black Monks and journeyed a short distance to found a New Monastery, with a few monastic companions, at a marshy place outside Dijon called Cîteaux, thus giving his new monastic enterprise their name – Cistercians – it seemed as if the venture would fail.  TheContinue reading Solemnity of Our Father St Bernard of Clairvaux, Abbot and Doctor of the Church (20th August)

The Solemnity of the Assumption, 15th August

Mary, the Mother of God, has always occupied a very particular place in Cistercian hearts and prayer.  All of our houses are placed under her patronage and care, and in a special way, on the Solemnity of the Assumption each year, every community of the Order, throughout the world, marks the feast by making anContinue reading The Solemnity of the Assumption, 15th August

The Solemnity of St Benedict, Abbot – 11th July

Sometimes, trying to find something new to say about a figure who has had vast and, it’s reasonable to say, as yet entirely unquantified influence on society and Church can simply be pointless.  And that is by no means to say that all conversation about one such has been exhausted.  St Benedict of Nursia perhapsContinue reading “The Solemnity of St Benedict, Abbot – 11th July”

More on St Rafael Arnaiz Baron, Cistercian Oblate – 27th April

Today we keep the memory of a Cistercian saint of the 20th century, St Rafael (1911 – 1938).  A gifted young man, who studied architecture and showed himself a talented and perceptive artist, he was captivated by the Cistercian monastic life and entered the Spanish monastery of San Isidro.  However, he soon became ill withContinue reading “More on St Rafael Arnaiz Baron, Cistercian Oblate – 27th April”

Feast of St Rafael Arnáiz Barón, Cistercian Oblate, 27th April.

Rafael Arnáiz Barón was born in Burgos on April 9th, 1911. He was a student of architecture in Madrid when he felt the call of God. He gave up a brilliant career and entered the Cistercian monastery of San Isidro de Duenas (Palencia) on January 15th, 1934. In this monastic community he gave himself inContinue reading “Feast of St Rafael Arnáiz Barón, Cistercian Oblate, 27th April.”

Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper

Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 John 13:1-15 In his Encyclical Letter on the Holy Eucharist, Mysterium Fidei (The Mystery of Faith, 1965), Pope Paul VI wrote powerfully about the presence of Christ and how this presence is mediated in various ways through various means made manifest in the Church’s life and mission: 35. AllContinue reading “Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper”

21st March – The Passing of St Benedict

Today, all those religious who follow the Rule of St Benedict as a principle tool for their way of life – and that includes, of course, Cistercians – celebrate the Transitus of St Benedict, literally, his crossing over, or rather more plainly, the day of his death.  We might also, using the very beautiful patristicContinue reading “21st March – The Passing of St Benedict”

The Observance of Lent

At no other place in the Rule does St Benedict devote a specific chapter separately to a season of the Church’s year.  Certainly in dealing with the scheme by which the Work of God should be fulfilled the entire year is embraced in a sort of microcosm, and within that “holy Easter” is certainly highlighted. Continue reading “The Observance of Lent”