Notes to Oblates of Mount Angel Abbey

Fr John Paul Le O.S.B.Fr. John Paul Le, OSB, director of the oblates of Mount Angel Abbey, writes frequent notes to the oblates of Mount Angel Abbey. The oblates are a vibrant and active community of lay people and priests who strive to live the Holy Rule of St. Benedict in the spirit of Mount Angel Abbey, as far as their state in life permits. The notes are a mix of spiritual reflection, instruction, and updates on current events within the community of monks and oblates.

A Note to Our Dear Oblates
March 1, 2024

Dear Oblates,

This Sunday’s gospel is an allegorical gem for the season of Lent. Let’s first explore what some of these things symbolically represent for us individually. What is the temple? In one sense, the Church, but in another, it is our very body. We know this because Jesus refers to his own body as a temple in the gospel. What exactly do the merchants and money changers represent? What they were doing could give us an answer. All of them were exchanging a temporal product or gain for something that was to be offered up to God and made holy; and they were doing it in the temple, which was dedicated exclusively to the worship of God. Therefore, the merchants and money changers represent all the things in us that threaten God’s rightful place in his temple; things that challenge the worship, time, space, and reverence due to God. They are the tempters; all of our little vices and sins we replace the God of glory. So what does this gospel show us we ought to do today in this special season of Lent? It shows us that we should ask Jesus to come into our temple through the Holy Spirit with zeal so that he may with our cooperation drive out all the merchants and money changers found in us and everything they offer. But how do we cooperate with his work? Jesus drove out these individuals in the gospel with a whip and his word. Today, we can “whip” our vices through fasting and temperance and listen to Jesus’ true words in our daily lectio divina. We do this, of course, by always looking forward to the coming Passover, Jesus’ Pasch, the Holy Triduum, where we remember how he offered up his temple for destruction, so that it may be raised. He did this so that we could join him in his death, which leads to the bliss of eternal life.

Reflection by Br. Jesse

Our next Oblate Sunday is March 10th. Br. Matthew will be presenting his second talk on silence. His talk is titled “The Enemies of Silence.” The description is, “This month, we will pick up where we left off from our theological basis of silence in RB 6 to see the ways in which we are pulled away from its practice and give some possible remedies to combating these distractions.” To sign up for in-person, click here; for remote option, click here.

Br. Ambrose’s Christian in the World Talk can now be accessed here.

Prayer request. Please pray for the continued healing of Fr. Liem, who was taken to the hospital last week and is back home now. Please know that you can always send your prayer requests through our Oremus program.

Yours in Christ,
Fr. John Paul, OSB
Director of Oblates

Oblate Calendar

March
9 – St. Frances of Rome (plenary indulgence may be obtained by oblates)
10 – Oblate Sunday (9am-Noon): Br. Matthew on Silence, Part II.
21 – Passing of St. Benedict (plenary indulgence may be obtained by oblates)
April
14 – Oblate Sunday
May
12 – Oblate Sunday
24-26 – Oblate Retreat: Br. Isaiah on the Prophet Isaiah.
June
9 – Oblate Sunday
13-16 – Oblate Study Days: Christin McIntyre – Marian Mental Health and Spiritual Warfare.
16 – Oblate Picnic

A Note to Oblates - February 24, 2024

February 24, 2024

Dear Oblates,

“The Mountain of Transfiguration and Mount Calvary”

Tomorrow the gospel is that of the transfiguration, and as I reflected upon it, I saw many parallels between the transfiguration and what will happen in a few weeks on Mount Calvary. These parallels, sometimes a contrast, can show us how this gospel can be a very appropriate Lenten selection. The first similarity between both accounts is that they both take place on a mountain, a place where God often reveals himself. On the mountain of transfiguration Christ humanity was transfigured into heavenly glory. On Mount Calvary, there was a another type of transfiguration; a man who was God appeared to be subhuman. At the transfiguration, Moses and Elijah appeared with Christ in glory. On Mount Calvary, two thieves shared in His condemnation. At the transfiguration there is a great light; on Mount Calvary darkness reigns. At the transfiguration, the Father says, “this is my chosen son.” On Mount Calvary, Jesus cries out, “my God, my God why have you forsaken me?” At the transfiguration the Father says, “listen to him.” On Mount Calvary, the Word of God is made mute. However, despite all these differences, the full understanding of both events is revealed in the resurrection.

There you have it. It is not much of a reflection, but it was what came to my mind while doing my lectio divina. This is a way of allowing the liturgical year to be a context of our own lectio.

After my last email, one of our oblates who is blind, mentioned to me her own sense of super hearing, and how her husband will have to gently remind her to turn it off in public.

The Lenten Meditation from today was recorded. Please click here to view the video. I think it can be a great way to enter more fully into the spirit of the Lenten season. You can perhaps watch it on a Wednesday or Friday.

Our next Oblate Sunday is March 10th. Br. Matthew will be presenting his second talk on silence, to sign up for in-person, click here; for remote option, click here.

Just in time for Lent, Br. Ambrose latest article entitled, “To love fasting” is available here.

You can “meet” our newest oblates here.

Prayer request. Please pray for our students, who are in the midst of their midterms. Please know that you can always send your prayer requests through our Oremus program.

Yours in Christ,
Fr. John Paul, OSB
Director of Oblates

Fr. John Paul with Catherine and Joseph Schneider, two performers for the Lenten Meditation

Me with Catherine and Joseph Schneider, the two performers for the Lenten Meditation. They are students of Chesterton Academy of the Willamette Valley. Please click here to view the video

A Note to Oblates - February 17, 2024

February 17, 2024

Dear Oblates,

“The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.”
– Gospel for the Friday after Ash Wednesday

When I was doing my mission work in East Timor, I had the experience of visiting a blind community. I was moved by their kindness, inspired by their innovation, and edified by their support of one another period but the thing that really stood out, surprisingly, was their ability to speak English. While I was in East Timor, I taught many students English, and so I knew how difficult it was for them to properly pronounce English words, but within this blind community, their pronunciation was nearly perfect. If I were blind, I would have thought that I was speaking to an American. Why was this so? I believe that being deprived of their sense of sight, their auditory sense was heightened and intensified. In order to survive, they needed to listen more carefully than the average person.

I think this concept can be applied to fasting as it relates to the spiritual life by fasting, we deprive ourselves of a material sense, so that our spiritual sense can be heightened. If we are satiated from images, words and food, what room do we have for God? Therefore, we can fast from the number of images we take in with our eyes, so that with the eyes of the heart we can focus on him in whose image we are made. We fast from a cacophony of words and noise, so that with the ears of our heart we can listen more carefully to the quiet voice of God. Also, we fast from the amount of food we filled ourselves with, so that we can fill the hunger of our heart with Him who is the Bread of Life.

What may God be calling you to fast from this Lenten season? How can this practice make room for God in your heart?

I encourage you to attend our Lenten Meditation with sacred music and sacred images. It will be on Saturday, February 24, from 9-10 am in the library auditorium. The cantor will be Catherine Schneider. Please register by clicking here. See below for more details.

FYI, 8 oblates have already signed up for the Oblate pilgrimage.

Prayer request. Please pray for the men on discernment retreat with us this weekend. Please know that you can always send your prayer requests through our Oremus program.

Yours in Christ,
Fr. John Paul, OSB
Director of Oblates

Super Bowl Sunday 2024 Br Matthew Fr John Paul and Br Ambrose celebrate

(L-R) Br. Matthew, Fr. John Paul and Br. Ambrose celebrate Kansas City Chiefs 2024 win!

Lenten Meditation with Sacred Music and Sacred Art, February 24, 2024

Please register by clicking here


Oblate Calendar

February
24 – Lenten Meditation with Sacred Music and Sacred Images by Catherine Schneider. Library Auditorium, 9-10am.
March
9 – St. Frances of Rome (plenary indulgence may be obtained by oblates)
10 – Oblate Sunday (9am-Noon): Br. Matthew on Silence, Part II.
21 – Passing of St. Benedict (plenary indulgence may be obtained by oblates)
April
14 – Oblate Sunday
May
12 – Oblate Sunday
24-26 – Oblate Retreat: Br. Isaiah on the Prophet Isaiah.
June
9 – Oblate Sunday
13-16 – Oblate Study Days: Christin McIntyre – Marian Mental Health and Spiritual Warfare.
16 – Oblate Picnic


A Note to Oblates - February 9, 2024

February 9, 2024

Dear Oblates,

“We hope to set down nothing harsh, nothing burdensome.”
– Prologue 46

If you ask, “why is it that the Rule of Benedict came to trump all other rules,” I would have to say that one of the main reasons was that it was a way of life that was neither harsh nor burdensome for monks. Saint Benedict’s way stands in sharp contrast to the severity to which some monks of the desert practiced their monasticism. Saint Benedict moderated the amount of food, the amount of sleep and the amount of prayer to manageable amounts. Throughout the rule, we see this principle of nothing harsh, nothing burdensome being employed. A few examples shall suffice. In chapter 39, Saint Benedict says that there should be “two kinds of cooked food” because of individual weaknesses (39:1). In another chapter he writes that the amount of manual labor should be done with “moderation on account of the faint hearted” (48:9). In speaking about the proper amount of rest, he says that after their meal “they may rest on their beds and complete silence,” aka, take a nap (48:5).

Saint Benedict was very much aware of human weakness and limitation. The quality he sought for in a monk was zeal in seeking God. If he had this, then that was sufficient. He did not have to have a heroism of a desert father, but merely had to have the desire to seek God and be willing to live a moderate life of prayer, work, discipline and reading. Now, doesn’t that sound more appealing than simply living on bread or staying up all night to pray vigils? The Benedictine way should give us great joy, for it tells us that in order to grow close to God, there is a way that is neither harsh nor burdensome. It is the humble way of this little rule.

Do you find life harsh or burdensome? How can you apply the principles and values in the holy rule to make your life a little less harsh and a little less burdensome?

Dr. Pamela Patnode (oblate) will be giving a talk entitled, “The Rule of St. Benedict: The Joy of Practicing Benedictine Spirituality Within the Lay Person’s Life.” It will be on February 11th in the library auditorium at 10:30am.

Prayer request. Please pray for Holy Mother Church as she begins the solemn Lenten season this Wednesday. Pray especially for those who will be baptized and confirmed. We have two oblate novices, who will experience this during the Easter season. Please know that you can always send your prayer requests through our Oremus program.

Yours in Christ,
Fr. John Paul, OSB
Director of Oblates

New Oblates, February 2024

New Oblates

New Novices, February 2024

New Novices

New Novices

New Novices

Mount Angel Institute presentation by Dr Pamela Patnode, February 11, 2024


Oblate Calendar

February
10 – St. Scholastica (plenary indulgence may be obtained by oblates)
11 – Oblate Speaker: Dr. Pamela Patnode. (Library Auditorium 10:30am). “The Rule of St. Benedict: The Joy of Practicing Benedictine Spirituality Within the Lay Person’s Life.”
24 – Lenten Meditation with Sacred Music and Sacred Images by Catherine Schneider. Library Auditorium, 9-10am.
March
9 – St. Frances of Rome (plenary indulgence may be obtained by oblates)
10 – Oblate Sunday (9am-Noon): Br. Matthew on Silence, Part II.
21 – Passing of St. Benedict (plenary indulgence may be obtained by oblates)
April
14 – Oblate Sunday
May
12 – Oblate Sunday
24-26 – Oblate Retreat: Br. Isaiah on the Prophet Isaiah.
June
9 – Oblate Sunday
13-16 – Oblate Study Days: Christin McIntyre – Marian Mental Health and Spiritual Warfare.
16 – Oblate Picnic


A Note to Oblates - February 2, 2024

February 2, 2024

Dear Oblates,

“The Presentation of the Lord.”

Today is the 40th day after the Nativity of the Lord. In some way, we see this as the end of the Christmas season. On this day, Mary and Joseph present the child Jesus in the temple to be held in the arms of the aged man Simeon. This is a very ancient feast in the church. It was already celebrated in Jerusalem in the 5th century and in Rome in the 7th century. In the east, it is known as the feast of the Encounter, and for many centuries in the West it was called the Purification in reference to Our Lady’s purification. This feast is also known as Candlemas because on this day candles were blessed during holy Mass.

If we think about it, we soon realize that candles are present at the major events in our life. We receive a candle when we are baptized; there is a candle that is lit on our wedding day; and when we die, the Easter candle is lit as it is placed near our coffin. One spiritual image that the candle evokes is that of our Lord. Saint Anselm explains, “the wax produced by the virginal bee represents Christ spotless body; the wick, enclosed in the wax and forming one with it, images his soul; while the ruddy flame crowning and completing the union of wax and wick, typifies the divine nature.” Therefore, when we see the candle burning at Mass or even in our room, let us call to mind the presence of Christ who on this day appeared in the temple; and having been graced to be in the Lord’s presence, let us with Simeon be at peace.

Prayer tip. Place a little candle in your prayer space and light it when you pray. Take a moment and recall that God is present to you as the candle is present to you.

Dr. Pamela Patnode (oblate) will be giving a talk entitled, “The Rule of St. Benedict: The Joy of Practicing Benedictine Spirituality Within the Lay Person’s Life.” It will be on February 11th in the library auditorium at 10:30am.

Please continue sending in your Lenten Bona Operas (Good Works). If you did not get one or have lost it, you can let me know by email what you plan on doing. Reading through Chapter 4 of the Holy Rule can be a good way to prepare. Thank you for engaging in this wonderful Lenten practice with the monastery. During this season, I encourage you to attend our Lenten Meditation with sacred music and sacred images. It will be on Saturday, February 24, from 9-10 am in the library auditorium. The cantor will be Catherine Schneider. Please register by clicking here.

Prayer request. Please pray for the oblates on retreat this weekend, especially for the seven, who will be making final oblation on Sunday. Pray also for all religious priests, brothers and sisters as this feast day is a special feast for all of us. Pray also for two of the Queen of Angels sisters, who passed away last week, Sr. Mechtilde Fennimore and Sr. Theresa Henscheid.

Please know that you can always send your prayer requests through our Oremus program.

Yours in Christ,
Fr. John Paul, OSB
Director of Oblates

Abbot Jeremy in Rome for the plenaria meeting of the Dicastery of Divine Worship in the Vatican. In Sant'Anselmo he received the title of Professor Emeritus of the Faculty of Theology.

Abbot Jeremy in Rome for the plenaria meeting of the Dicastery of Divine Worship in the Vatican. In Sant’Anselmo he received the title of Professor Emeritus of the Faculty of Theology.

 


Oblate Calendar

February
2-4 – Oblate Retreat. Br. Anselm: In Heaven as it is on Earth: Learning to Live the Trinity.
10 – St. Scholastica (plenary indulgence may be obtained by oblates)
11 – Oblate Speaker: Dr. Pamela Patnode. (Library Auditorium 10:30am). “The Rule of St. Benedict: The Joy of Practicing Benedictine Spirituality Within the Lay Person’s Life.”
March
9 – St. Frances of Rome (plenary indulgence may be obtained by oblates)
10 – Oblate Sunday (9am-Noon): Br. Matthew on Silence, Part II.
21 – Passing of St. Benedict (plenary indulgence may be obtained by oblates)
April
14 – Oblate Sunday
May
12 – Oblate Sunday
24-26 – Oblate Retreat: Br. Isaiah on the Prophet Isaiah.
June
9 – Oblate Sunday
13-16 – Oblate Study Days: Christin McIntyre – Marian Mental Health and Spiritual Warfare.
16 – Oblate Picnic


For more information about the oblate program at Mount Angel Abbey, email oblates@mtangel.edu.