December 2015

Peace

Each evening in the monastery, just before calling it a day, the monks gather one last time in our church to sing the praises of God. As if summing everything up, the abbot says these words of the holy man Simeon in the Gospel of Saint Luke: “Now, O Lord, let your servants go in peace.” I am always so moved and so grateful to be able to express that wish on behalf of my brothers. It is also our wish for all of you and for the whole world. We wish everyone could go about their lives in the peace of a good conscience, in the peace that comes from doing the right thing, the peace that comes from being forgiven and asking forgiveness. We wish that everyone were free from people who wish them harm. We wish everyone had financial security for themselves and for their families in a simple and unpretentious way of life, having enough but not so much that others are discouraged or deprived. Peace comes from doing no harm, and, even more, from doing good. And to do good doesn’t cost anything. Nothing is lost to you when you do good to someone. You only gain in peace of mind. This Holiday (which comes from Holy Day, referring to Christmas) Season, the monks wish all of you Peace. We remember the old song, “Let there be Peace on Earth, and let it begin with me.”

Fr. Mark

Film

It's a Wonderful Life (1946) is wonderful entertainment. This masterpiece from Frank Capra still has a lot to say about community spirit and is a film with much more to it than feel-good sentimentality. George Bailey is a small-town businessman who believes he has been a failure. Contemplating suicide, George meets his guardian angel and discovers what life in his home town of Bedford Falls would have been like had he never lived. As the suicidal man who is shown the value of his life by his guardian angel, George Bailey is Mr. Deeds, John Doe, and Mr. Smith rolled into one, and only James Stewart could have given him the self-doubt that gnaws away at his essential decency. As with all good morality tales, the villain has to be exceptional, too, and Lionel Barrymore is at the peak of his powers as the villainous Potter. With its chubby angel, Clarence, played by Henry Travers, and its colorful collection of characters, It’s a Wonderful Life was, strangely enough, a box-office failure in 1946, but over the years as a staple at Christmas the film has acquired the status of a cult classic. The film reminds every one of us that we all make contributions to the people around us, contributions we ourselves don’t even realize. 

Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.

Saint Francis de Sales

Author: Fr. Mark Scott

Tags: Christmas, Peace, Compline, Canticle of Simeon, It's a Wonderful Life

This simple communication is one way for me as abbot of New Melleray Abbey to communicate with the abbey’s employees and volunteers. My intention is to give our stakeholders some idea of the values and lifestyle of the monks and to share things that I have found worthwhile, thoughtful, and/or humorous. It is hoped that this sharing from the abbot will strengthen the bonds of partnership and collaboration between the monastic community and our extended community of employees and volunteers.

Fr. Mark

Abbot