Saint Bernard’s Four Kinds of Contemplation

TaddeoCrivelliSaintBernardAt the end of his treatise on contemplation (also known as his treatise On Consideration), Saint Bernard of Clairvaux observes the dimensions of Christian mental prayer. Specifically, when Saint Paul prays in Ephesians 3:18 that we might come to comprehend and be filled with the breadth and length, height and depth of the fullness of God revealed in the love of Christ, Saint Bernard sees four kinds of contemplation. For Saint Bernard, God’s breadth is His eternity, His promises. His length is His love, His works. His height is His power, His majesty.  His depth is His wisdom, His judgments. Bernard goes on to teach that our meditation on the promises by faith covers the eternal length of God, Himself; our remembrance of all His blessings is a contemplation of the breadth encompassed by the Trinitarian mystery; contemplation of the Lord’s majesty is a glimpse of the heights Divinity; and that our examination of divine judgments gazes on the very depths of the Invisible God. Christ’s sacrifice of Himself on the Cross reveals this whole mystery Saint Bernard describes and makes it accessible to us in such a way that it can fill our whole being to the point at which love transforms our whole existence through prayer. To read more click here.

St. Antony the Abbot – Father of All Monks

StAnthonyFollowing the death of his parents when he was about 20, Antony insured that his sister completed her education, then he sold his house, furniture, and the land he owned, gave the proceeds to the poor, joined the anchorites who lived nearby, and moved into an empty sepulchre. At age 35 he moved to the desert to live alone; he lived 20 years in an abandoned fort. Antony barricaded the place for solitude, but admirers and would-be students broke in. He miraculously healed people, and agreed to be the spiritual counselor of others. His recommendation was to base life on the Gospel. Word spread, and so many disciples arrived that Anthony founded two monasteries on the Nile, one at Pispir, one at Arsinoe. Many of those who lived near him supported themselves by making baskets and brushes, and from that came his patronage of those trades. Antony briefly left his seclusion in 311, going to Alexandria, Egypt to fight Arianism, and to comfort the victims of the persecutions of Maximinus. At some point in his life, he met with his sister again. She, too, had withdrawn from the world, and directed a community of nuns. Antony retired to the desert, living in a cave on Mount Colzim. Descriptions paint him as uniformly modest and courteous. His example led many to take up the monastic life, and to follow his way. Late in life Athony became a close friend of St. Paul the Hermit, and he buried the aged anchorite, leading to his patronage of gravediggers. His biography was written by his friend St. Athanasius of Alexandria. St. Antony the Abbot’s feastday is January 17.
Litany of Saint Antony the Great
First of all monks, your name they hail, Great St. Antony, we beg your prayers
Charity has gained such heights for you, Great St. Antony, we beg your prayers
Wonderworker known for favors gained, Great St. Antony, we beg your prayers
Humbly you obeyed with strength and love, Great St. Antony, we beg your prayers
Shield for those who came to seek your aid, Great St. Antony, we beg your prayers
Healer of all ills and guide for souls, Great St. Antony, we beg your prayers
Spring and treasure house of charity, Great St. Antony, we beg your prayers
Ever shining star and lamp of light, Great St. Antony, we beg your prayers
Table of the Law and Gospel book, Great St. Antony, we beg your prayers
Guide of those in doubt and ignorance, Great St. Antony, we beg your prayers
Lamp of those who walk in darkness now, Great St. Antony, we beg your prayers
Light of Holy Mother Church, your merits shines, Great St. Antony, we beg your prayers
Peace for those who dread the enemy, Great St. Antony, we beg your prayers
Gladness for the sad, strength for the tried, Great St. Antony, we beg your prayers
Faithful to your word and ever true, Great St. Antony, we beg your prayers
Sun of monks and nuns and start for all, Great St. Antony, we beg your prayers
Temple arch who holds the power of God, Great St. Antony, we beg your prayers
V. Pray for us, Great Saint Antony
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ
Father Antony, you equaled Elias in his zeal and followed John the Baptist in his holy way of life. You peopled the wilderness and established the world on the firm foundation of your prayers. Intercede with Christ God that He may save our souls. Amen.

St. Basil the Great – “The Father of Monastic Communities”

stbasil2008webSt. Basil the Great (330-375) was born in Caesarea, Asia Minor, and received his education in Constantinople and Athens. He joined the University of Athens in 351 where he studied philosophy and the great classical works for five years. There he did very well in his studies and lived as an ascetic. He returned to Caesarea in 355 to teach at the university. He then traveled extensively in Syria and Egypt, where he visited the great hermits in the monasteries of the Eastern and Western Deserts of Egypt. He was deeply influenced by the life of the Egyptian monks and their great devotion to the worship of God. He was attracted to monasticism as a result of his visit to the Egyptian monasteries. He retired for study and contemplation at the bank of the River Iris, in Pontus. There he devoted his life completely to spiritual meditation in solitude until a number of followers gathered around him. As a monk. Basil was influenced by St. Pachomius (A.D. 290) of Egypt who called for combatting idleness among monks and advocated a unique rganization of the monastic order which earned him the title “The Father of Monastic Communities”. This inspired St. Basil the monk to build a house for the elderly and the disabled, as well as a hospital adjacent to one of the  monasteries at the outskirts of the city of Caesarea. St. Basil later became the founder of an important eastern monastic order, the Basilian Order. Basil was a very close friend of St. Gregoryn the Bishop of Nazianzus – Constantinople. Together they wrote an outstanding work, The Philocalia, a collection of articles dealing with Origen (A.D. 185), the great Alexandrian theologian. St. Basil the Great became Bishop of Caesarea in the year 370 A.D. One of his greatest contributions to the Christian faith was his opposition to Arianism. Arianism was a movement which took place in the first third of the 4th century. Arius, the chief representative of the movement claimed that God, the Father, created Christ in time as His son, similar to Him but not completely equal to Him. Saint Basil’s feast day is January 2.

New Stained Glass Windows Installed in Phoenix Poor Clares’ Our Lady of Solitude Chapel

P1100825-225x300 In silence and solitude, the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration of Our Lady of Solitude Monastery spend their life at the Feet of Jesus in the Most Holy Eucharist. As contemplative nuns, their main work is adoration of their Beloved and prayerful intercession for the Church and the world at large. Being a part of the Diocese of Phoenix, the nuns especially pray for the needs of Bishop Thomas Olmsted and the local Church. They are dedicated, as well, to intercession for all priests. Consecrated in 2010, Our Lady of Solitude Chapel is open to the public for daily Mass and Eucharistic Adoration. It has been a work in progress, relying on Divine Provident manifested through the generosity of others to complete this beautiful place of prayer and worship. On October 11, 2013, all of the remaining saint stained glass windows were installed in the chapel. Grateful to God and all those who made it possible, the nuns wish to invite everyone to take the trek to Tonopah, Arizona, to see them in person!  It is quite a glorious sight. The following windows were recently installed: St. Agnes of Assisi, St. Junipero Serra, St. Kateri Tekakwitha, St. Teresa Benedicta (Edith Stein), St. Maximilian Kolbe, St. Gianna Beretta Molla, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Bl. Charles de Foucauld, Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati, Bl. Teresa of Calcutta and Bl. (soon to be St.) John Paul II. To see a video of the installation of the new windows click here.
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Apostolic Constitution Vultum Dei Quaerere on Woman's Contemplative Life
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World Day of Cloistered Life - Pro Orantibus Day
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Free Audio Book
A Right to Be Merry By Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C.
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