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Reflecting On St. Joseph the Worker May 1, 2020 by Fr. Daniel Manger,OSB.,Cam

Today is a particular feast that as a monk who follows the dictum from St. Benedict’s Rule for monastics, “ era et labora’ or translated work and prayer, St. Joseph the Worker embodies this ideal.

St. Joseph was a faithful Jew and pious in his prayer practice gathering with Mary and Jesus at least 3 times a day to pray the ancient prayer, ‘Hear oh Israel the Lord thy God is one, you shall love the Lord thy God with all your mind, with all your heart. . .” St. Joseph was a skilled craftsman of the first century, working in wood, and Jesus would later be referred to as ‘son of the carpenter from Nazareth in the synoptic gospels. Thus prayer practice and labor were conjoined in St. Joseph’s life and that of his little family. He is known as the quiet saint of the church, humble and a profound invocation to be the protector of families and church, for this, he also was given to do by God. He was a man who knew difficult times, murderous threats against his family and himself and his nation’s oppression under the Roman domination.

Saint Joseph knew of exile being an immigrant to a foreign land to seek refuge for his family. The deep pain of leaving one’s small town behind and taking a long journey to an unknown fate, emerge as a man with deep faith in divine providence, so much so, he discerns his God’s desire to save and mission his life in dreams, which he acts upon. I like to think of St. Joseph as a patron of dreamers, who faced within their lives many an impasse as to what God and their lives mean.

Like so many of us today in this time of the pandemic, amidst its uncertainty of future brought about by its destructive presence, its terror and the various political figures and financial figures who want to take advantage of the situations to victimize or to scapegoat others in our own nation and beyond for it, Saint Joseph is a guide to remember. To remember God looks upon the lowly of this world, hard-working folks, immigrants who pick our crops from the fields, under poor conditions of labor or in factories, homes, and with no safety net of health care. It is to these and many workers in sanitation, hospitals, clinics, soup kitchens, food pantry volunteers and the many other innumerable jobs people labor at risk we must pray and commend to the care of St. Joseph.

As a monk, it calls me to keep more vigilant to the daily simple practices of prayer and work and discover in them what truly pleases God in its keeping. Work is a gift that imitates God the Creator, who the Hebrew Scriptures describe as a worker creating the universe and as humans are created in God’s image, are given the dignity and responsibility to work in creating a just and humane atmosphere of hope for all people and indeed the stewarding of the all creation out of reference and respect for the work of God’s hands.

Pondering Upon Spiritual Desire by Fr. Daniel Manger, O.S,B. Cam. 4-15-20

As the pandemic and its effects upon our civilization and church communities unfold, the opportunity to explore and examine ‘spiritual desire’ comes into focus. Many have much time on their hands as daily work and routines are disrupted and even altered for the foreseeable future.

The rise of on-line Zoom liturgies, devotions and the many partaking of them offered by their local and international and national churches offers a time to reflect on this expression of ‘spiritual desire’ emerging in our homes and with friend and family. A household church has its origin at the beginning of the church in the first and second centuries. It is a profound grace to consider that there is a grounding that can affirm a deep desire inspired by the Holy Spirit within each of us to recover and celebrate the gift of faith and hope, which can animate the loving actions we are to show forth in relationships at home and beyond.

Something ancient and yet overseen has once again emerged a household church. Consider for a moment reconciliations that have been needed and perhaps impaired our ability to be family, or friends or community can be examined and redressed by the action of ‘spiritual desire’. Spiritual desire is attracted to humble forgiveness and further attracts us toward being sharers of the faith in the Resurrection and life of a new creation built upon and woven in our actions right at home. From forgiveness towards understanding, a faith that seeks understanding. Also, this ‘spiritual desire’ affirms the Vatican Council II’s observation that the call to holiness is one that is grounded in the desire for each of us that God has expressed in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. He is the expression of God’s understanding of our deepest need. This revelation one could say is first the covenant of desire in this ‘call to holiness’.

The pandemic reveals some of the really wonderful and heroic expression responses in each of us touched by divine desire; being rendered in the news media of the woman and men of so many cultures and professional and non-professional lives of the goodness that articulates a tapestry of the ‘ holiness of human life’. Its face portrays many an expression of God’s covenant of desire for us to give our own full selves toward the love of neighbor as we would ourselves. In every walk of life, no matter the responsibility, we can observe this development the world over, yet we know that with this can only be sustained by a deep change of heart. A change that is needed for us to survive and for our planetary community to benefit from is offered now. An economics of God, one could say and the desire of God for each of us and every creature to be cared for flows into our every expression of care born from the origin of our prayer together that acknowledges the Presence of the One who came to reveal and impart resurrected, new creation life among us in his own person.

The present phenomenon of spiritual desire and its explicit expressions in our homes, hospitals, research laboratories, nursing facilities, food banks and so forth, reveal this truth of the words of Jesus before he ascended, ‘Blessed are they who have not seen but still believe.’ A belief that the goodness of human life is worth saving. St. Catherine of Siena in the Catholic Faith tradition, lived in a time of the plague and social upheaval, both is church and state of her lifetime. She kept alive in the faith community among the sick, her friends, colleges and hierarchy and among statesmen, her contemplative desire, and often in her letters makes so evident that the deepest core of our life is based on ‘holy desire’ that embraces us and that is embraced by God’s desire in the Crucified One. She would counsel that one may not be able to do all that is needed around us, that our infinite desire to keep Christ before us, will point the way to what prayer, what actions we can give out of this ‘spiritual desire’. St. Catherine, a doctor of the church, is one we could find solace and help in our time of need no doubt, as blessed Pope Paul VI foresaw in affirming her as doctor of the church.

Know of my prayers and that of Father Stephen Coffee here at our monastery are with you.

Oblate OSB Cam Newsletter for April 2020

Read the Oblate OSB Cam Newsletter for April 2020 here: http://monasteryrisenchrist.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Oblate-OSB-Cam-Newsletter-April-2020.pdf

The Road of Calvary and the Road to Emmaus by Fr. Daniel Manger

Lent is the season for our reason for hope in living day by day the gospel life in our context and history and our history has presented a dramatic event, the Corona virus pandemic. Contemplative practices of abstaining from attitudes that do not foster charity or the other virtues is the perennial reminder that our time is a precious gift, to live for the good that Jesus teaches us to for example the ‘golden rule’ and the beatitudes, the twofold commandment.

Since the national emergency and the closing off of many entertainments, schools, universities and other activities that can indulge distractions, it an opportune time to refresh our memories , place within this vacuous time a practice of meditation, prayer, quiet savoring of scripture, and spiritual reading. It is an opportunity to retrieve engage is spiritual exercises I have mentioned. God is generous is displaying many templates of his providential wisdom for our good and humane development. We may at this point in our global community, nation or locally communities witness many deaths and much suffering, but we do not have add to this tragedy more suffering in any way. The opportunity to practice what we preach of the love of neighbor and the honoring of God who displayed all his love in Jesus, through the cross and resurrection, sojourns with us in our commitment to truth in love and hope within every step. we take to be a consolation to others, amidst the grief and loss that may arrive in their lives.

Lent is a time of remembrance of recall and retelling the wonder of how we ourselves have been gifted by the Risen Jesus , who walked the road to Calvary as well as the road to Emmaus and with tender care washed the feet of those who spread the gospel to comfort the afflicted of the world. 

Fr. Daniel Manger

2020 Events at and around the Monastery of the Risen Christ

Lot’s of things happening this year! Stay tuned to our Calendar and our Events Page to keep up on the current activities, meetings, and events!