06 June 2009

Leading up to the Feast of the Ascension

May 22nd

A little after 5 this morning I took a little post-prandial stroll. I began to think about monastic enclosure. I looked up at the clock tower which faces away from me. I realized that the clock tower is on the guest house side of the grounds; a place where I was not allowed. I looked up at the churches down-spouts. Each one has a coat of arms of a different English (historical) Cistercian house. During my first visit, I walked around and looked at them all, but know they are off limits. Now it is not as if I could never go out there, but if I am to become a postulant and later a novice; then they are out of bounds. At my fist visit, I had seen 5 or 6 monks whose work did not include the guest house, and I was only here a few days.

On the flip-side, the grounds within the enclosure are enormous. Plus being near the forest gives the illusion that the land just goes on, and on, and on. It is truly beautiful here.

Being a Friday, there is a penitential atmosphere, although it is not glum. It is very subtle. I might even say delicate. The underlying joy of the Pascal season still pervades.

May 23rd

I got up right at 3:15. Success! Ok,ok, I take joy in small victories. Speaking of small victories I have lost almost a stone (14 lbs) since I arrived on Monday. YEAH! Watch out for my new book: The Cistercian Diet…. Coming to a monastery near you. Four hours a day of actual manual labour has its benefits. So one stone down, one boulder to go.

There is beautiful spring weather here today. This is a rural setting with a forest next door. It is quite hard not to love this place. I walked over and saw the bull today. Man are bulls big. I saw some of the calves. I never knew the hair would be silky-soft. God’s creation is so wonderful. Poor little guys came up to me looking for some food.

May 24th

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension of Our Lord. Nature is co-operating wonderfully with splendid weather. Sundays are days of rest here, except for a few monks. The cows still need to be fed and milked, meals are still prepared and served., and laundry will be done this evening. But for me after having had a busy schedule all week, I almost feel at a lost end. Almost. I took a nice long walk and did some spiritual reading. Then I took 10 minutes to bask in the sunshine. I think cats really are on to something with that basking business. In a little while it will be time for the Office of Sext, then Lunch.
Tomorrow will be a normal day… so to speak.

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