Friday, August 16, 2013

First Profession

Camaldoli Hermitage, Big Sur
The Pacific from Kairos Hermitage at the New Camaldoli Hermitage in Big Sur, California, where I took my pre-profession retreat.

Sit in your cell as in paradise. Put the whole world behind you and forget it. Watch your thoughts like a good fisherman watching for fish. The path you must follow is in the Psalms—never leave it. — St. Romuald’s Brief Rule

The strength of the Brotherhood is dependent on the prayer life of each brother. — from the Rule of the Brotherhood of St. Gregory

What if all the world’s my cell?
not made for me possession steer,
not raise nor bury by ingenuity nor intellect;
not to burn with anger fierce,
nor upend with will’s forcèd strike.

During the Litany read in the Solemn Mass and First Profession at Mt. Alvernia Retreat House, Wappingers Falls, New York.

What if, staking life in prayer
and paths of grace,
this cell a paradise becomes,
God’s wondrous and mysterious hands
molding redemption in darkness,
joy in light:

Where windy mountaintops
and deep salt sea,
and fellow pilgrims
sing of watchers and holy ones—
gone before and come tomorrow
and present now,

This den of open sky and silent cave,
of gracious beauty, fierce and fragile,
Where death and life anew and sounds afresh?

Where blades of grass say heaven-sent,
and trees bare naked Spirit work;
Where blooms’ courses run,
and seasons have their turn.

Brother Richard Thomas Biernacki, Founder and Minister General of the Brotherhood of St. Gregory, witnesses my first profession.

Where music plays, sweet cacophony of instrument,
and engine makes a song.
Where kettle sings tea and coffee scent
and family spreads a meal.

Where friends come and go
and strangers sing,
Where children play
and cry and dance,
and elders gather wisdom’s strength.

This haunt of angels
and sun and moon,
Of wind and rain,
and forests’ clamor and silent sands,
and glistening cities, creative mind a team,

And lonely stillness on night wings ’fore dawn.

What if all the world’s my cell?

– with love to all my brothers and special thanks to my mentor, Br. Pete, who has taught me the value of “What if?”

Receiving a blessing from the Minister General after being clothed in the full habit of profession.

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