Category Archives: Cistercian

O Emmanuel

Advent 4 – Tuesday

I woke up this morning at about 9am Brisbane time with a splitting headache and aches and pains around my kidneys, etc. Feels as if someone has beaten the crap out of me while I slept. With some paracetamol down the hatch already, hopefully things’ll start subsiding by the evening. Need to be at church tonight for Christmas Eve carols practice as well as to apparently help decorate both sanctuaries too.


The Seventh “O” Antiphon – December 23 “O Emmanuel”

O Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster,
exspectatio Gentium, et Salvator earum:
veni ad salvandum nos, Domine, Deus noster.

O Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver,
the Desire of all nations and their Salvation:
Come and save us, O Lord our God.

Advent Acclamations

V: Lift up your voice with strength and say:
R: Behold your God; behold the Lord comes with strength.
V: The Lord your God shall come, and all the saints with him;
R: On the day of glory the darkness shall be filled with light.
V: Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe;
R: To you be glory and praise forever.
V: From the rising of the sun to its setting is your name praised in all the world.
R: To you be glory and praise forever.
V: When the time had fully come you sent the Sun of Righteousness.
R: In him the fullness of your glory dwells.

R: To you be glory and praise forever.

See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight — indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap, he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness. (Malachi 3:1-3, NRSV)

The Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55, KJV)

My soul doth magnify the Lord : and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded : the lowliness of his handmaiden.
For behold, from henceforth : all generations shall call me blessed.
 For he that is mighty hath magnified me : and holy is his name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him : throughout all generations.
He hath shewed strength in his arm : he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat : and hath exalted the humble and meek.
He hath filled the hungry with good things : and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel : as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed, for ever.

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto : sicut erat in principio, et nunc et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

The Collect

Lord, lift up the light of your countenance upon us,
that in your light we may see light,
the light of your grace today, the light of glory hereafter;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Finally, some thoughts from my favorite Cistercian monk, Fr. Thomas Merton relating to Christmas which were sent to me by the Merton Institute for Contemplative Living in their weekly Merton reflection.

Thought for Dec 22, 2008

The mystery of Christmas lays upon us all a debt and an obligation to the rest of [humankind] and to the whole created universe. We who have seen the light of Christ are obliged, by the greatness of the grace that has been given us, to make known the presence of the Savior to the ends of the earth. This we will do not by preaching the glad tidings of His coming, but above all by revealing Him in our lives. Christ is born to us today, in order that He may appear to the whole world through us.

Thomas Merton. Seasons of Celebration (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1965): 112.

Thought for Christmas

This one day is the day of His birth, but every day of our mortal lives must be his manifestation, His divine Epiphany, in the world which He has created and redeemed.

Seasons of Celebration: 112

Lastly, ABC America’s “Faith Matters Now” segment recently aired an interview with Morgan Atkinson and Jonathan Montaldo about Merton’s life and legacy which is interesting viewing. More videos from the same interview include Merton’s Love Affair and the end of his life in Asia.

+ bf 1020hrs


Flickr meme time!

Pentecost 16/Ordinary Time 22 – Tuesday
Feast day in memorial of the Martyrs of Papua New Guinea

Saw this on Huaiky’s blog this evening and I’m a sucker for these sorts of things.

All you have to do is type your answer to the following questions into flickr search:

What is your first name?
What is your favorite food?
What high school did you go to?
What is your favorite color?
Who is your celebrity crush?
What is your favorite drink?
What is your dream vacation?
What is your favorite dessert?
What do you want to do when you grow up?
Who/what do you love most in life?
Choose one word that describes you?
What is your Flickr name?

– Using only the first page, pick an image
– Copy and paste each of the URLs into the Mosaic Maker
– Post your mosaic!

Here’s mine. Answers to questions are from left to right on each row. So on row 1, answers to questions 1 & 2 above. On row 2, answers to questions 3 & 4, et cetera, et cetera…

My flickr meme
My flickr meme

Go on, you know you want to…

+ Pax et bonum,
bf 2053hrs

Another year older

Feast of Pentecost (Western Church)
Holy Myrrhbearer’s Sunday, Renewal of Constantinople, Hieromartyr Mokios (Eastern Orthodox saints & feast days, courtesy of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America’s Online Chapel)
Mothers Day 2008

So I’m another year older going by the Gregorian calendar. Meaning that I should hit my “quarter-life crisis” anytime now… LOL.

Continue reading Another year older


23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

I’ve drunk a few beers in my short life thus far.

Heineken, Asahi, Tsingtao, Grolsch, Becks, Stella Artois, Cascade, James Boag, XXXX, Carlton, Fosters, Michelob, Miller, Coors, Budweiser, Pilsner Arquell, Guinness and the list could go on forever.

The defining thing about most of these is that they have typically been of the pilsner variety (i.e. pale lager). I have my favorites in this particular style (of which Amsterdam Mariner 330mL bottles are one helluva drink that’s also very light on the wallet; A$8.90 for a pack of 6 at Dan Murphy’s).

I’ve been wanting to try out some Abbey beers and Trappist beers of late. Was thinking about getting a six-pack of La Trappe beer however that isn’t available at Dan Murphy’s (though it is apparently at 1st Choice and Vintage Cellars).

I have however found what could be described as beer heaven in both the Leffe Radieuse and Chimay Red. The Leffe one is definitely a heavy beer (8.4% A.B.V.) with an extreme flavor of hops along with some yeast to my limited tastebuds. There isn’t that much in terms of aroma that I could sense with it, but I do like that bitterness that is present in it. On another note, this one hit me really quickly (like what happens to me after downing a dram of Chivas Regal 12y.o. Scotch).

As for the Chimay Red, this is a fine coppery-colored ale. There is a definite fruity aroma contained inside it. The Chimay website describes the Red as having an apricot aroma with a creamy head and a little bit of astringency (i.e. bitterness) to round out the palate. To me, not only apricots were there but also hints of cherries and some sultanas too. The astringency at the end rounded off the hints of sweetness in it produced by the Chimay yeast as it ferments the beer not only in the tank but in the bottle also. An absolutely gorgeous drop. Given the Red is this good, I can only imagine what the Triple and the Blue/Grande Reserve both taste like. And with that, what the other Trappist beers taste like also. The hype that these have is matched by the quality of the beers produced.

God bless the Trappist monks who continue to brew these simply gorgeous Trappist beers. As for Abbey beers, I’m willing to try out a few more after Leffe to see if the fuss about these really does live up to the hype.

+ bf 2350hrs

Attraction to monastic life

6th Sunday in Eastertide / 4 days to Ascension Thursday

[ now playing? ] Julie London – I Wanna Be Around | Corrinne May – Hail Mary | Chris Botti – Ave Maria | Julie London – I Wanna Be Loved |

Bryan did an intriguing post the other day on why he has an attraction to monastic life as a layperson in the church. And I got inspired to write a post.

In particular, his first paragraph seems to encapsulate what many Christians, particularly within the Protestant church, think about monasticism:

I realize that people often wonder, “why are you so interested in monastic life, Bryan? Aren’t monks just people who are ‘escaping’ the real world and living in their own world without really doing much of anything for the Kingdom of God?” I think that is a common misconception of what monastic life is about.

Many of you out there may be wondering why on earth I, as a Protestant/Evangelical Christian do not think that the Bible & Christ is enough for me as a Christian that I have to look at monasticism. The truth is, Holy Writ and Christ is enough for me. But I have never seen it encapsulated within a balanced life as a Christian.

The Christian life is on one hand, extreme in its calling. You only have to read through Scripture (particularly the Gospels) to see that Christ calls each of his disciples to a life which the world thinks is foolish and one where we are asked to deny ourself and carry our own crosses each day in serving God and our fellow-man: never more so than today, where virtually everything around us asks us to indulge ourselves and carry our own crosses on the back of a U-Haul truck. We want comfort. The thing is that this sort of an attitude does carry on into our own spiritual lives as well. I end up becoming comfortable in my faith that Jesus is my friend and he and I are best buddies and will be until the day I go to heaven. The time I serve at Church makes me comfortable in that because I’m doing this, me and God, we’re cool. But yet I want to paint over all my faults with a brush so that I do not notice them and others don’t either. And thus I become out of balance. (Kelli, made quite a few good points in a post that she made on her blog a couple of weeks ago on a different, but related issue).

Recovering my balance as a Christian has been a slow process since last July. And it’s come through God’s providence in the form of St. Benedict’s Rule. I’m tired everyday still, but that’s because my body is telling me that I need some balance between my life and rest for the body rather than before by which I attempted to cover it over with Red Bull or copious amounts of coffee (I think I have decreased my consumption of coffee since last July overall, I used to drink about 4 cups daily which is now down to a single cup or two at the very most daily). When my spirit is weak, instead of covering it over with a fake smile to present to others, I need time to come to grips with why my spirit is weak and to recover from it. When I claim that God is the center of my life but then I do not give him time in the day that he deserves, I’m out of balance. And the Benedictine Rule has helped to reclaim part of my balance. Things which I used to do more regularly are being re-examined (in particular my commitment when it comes to p&w matters at church) where the Spirit is moving me to reduce my commitment and to question me over my motives for leading at p&w in the past (which I’ve since come to realise that they were more self-centered and serving than anything).

In the Rule, I’m slowly but surely regaining my balance in Christ. To not let service get in the way between God and I (at times, evangelicals get so wrapped up in service that it in itself becomes an idol). To not let prayer as an activity get between God and I (it should never be an activity first of all!). To not let my own selfish pride get in the way between God and I. A balanced and ordered life of prayer, work, study and rest (with all of equal importance).

To quote Bryan in quoting Cardinal Basil Hume OSB:

“The Rule of St. Benedict makes it possible for ordinary folk to live lives of quite extraordinary value.” (p. 12, Spirituality for Everyday Living).

I’m no longer interested in living a life of self-glorification through what I do. I’m interested in living a balanced life as an ordinary follower of Christ that is of extraordinary value. That is the monastic vocation I’m called to as a lay Benedictine (with a strong link to the Cistercian tradition too).

Bryan so eloquently ended his post with these words that describe why he’s attracted to the monastic life:

Somehow, in the midst of this ordered life, grace is given. Lives are slowly changed. The Kingdom comes bit by bit.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

+ bf 1625hrs