Tuesday, November 9, 2010

How lovely is your dwelling place

The Lord in his love shows us the way of life.
Rule of St. Benedict, Prologue 20

Christus in the apse of  the Church of Our Lady of Einsiedeln,
Saint Meinrad Archabbey (Book says: 'I am the Life')

Last evening, the Chapter--the voting body of fully professed monks--approved my petition to make solemn vows as a Benedictine monk of Saint Meinrad Archabbey. These vows--made for life, like a marriage vow--include obedience, stability, and conversion of life (which includes poverty and chastity). The ceremony will be January 25, 2011.

I cannot adequately express how happy this makes me! Although I'm trying to contain myself, I feel as though I am walking on air right now. This wonderful journey is something I could never have asked for or imagined several years ago. And it is only just beginning. GOD IS GOOD.

The Christus image above, incidentally, is highly symbolic for the monk making final vows at Saint Meinrad. It is toward this image, standing before the altar and the abbot who respresents Christ in the monastery, that the monk faces while professing his vows--with the entire community gathered around him. It is a symbolic moment of dying to the old self and rising to new life--the 'making' of a monk.

Thank you all for your continued prayers (don't stop now!), and be assured of my own as we all strive to "prefer nothing whatever to Christ, that he may bring us all together to everlasting life" (Rule 72:11-12).

How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord God of hosts.
They are happy, who dwell in your house, for ever singing your praise.
Psalm 84


Mike said...

I know I should know this, but what is Christ holding in his right hand here? And in his left hand, I know what the Latin says, but is it the rule of life or the bible? Thanks!! This will be good to know.

Mike said...

And...congratulations! Know of my prayers.

Br. Francis de Sales Wagner said...

Thanks for asking, Mike.

In his right hand is a laurel wreath, a reference to the "crown" awarded a victorious athlete in ancient times. St. Paul uses a lot of this kind of imagery, such as: "I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith. From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, which the Lord, the just judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but to all who have longed for his appearance" (2Tim 4:7-8).

The saying in his other hand refers to John 14:6: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life." You may notice that the entire inscription appears (in Latin) in the windows above the main doors of the church.

So the saying is certainly from the Bible (cf. also John 6:35 and John 11:25), though I have tied the image here to a passage from St. Benedict's Rule (Prologue 20). St. Benedict uses a lot of racing imagery as well in the Rule: "As we progress in this way of life and in faith, we shall run on the path of God's commandments, our hearts overflowing with the inexpressible delight of love" (Prologue 49).

In any event--for the monk or any other Christian--Christ is the path of Life. And our crown of victory.

Br. Francis

John said...

Great news! Congratulations!

Tulle said...

I am very happy to hear this Brother Francis.

You seem to have set the course for the rest of your time, so I will pray that you will be given strength and love on this path you have chosen.

I will celebrate with you on the 25th January.


Br. Francis de Sales Wagner said...

Thank you, all.

Br. Francis