New Melleray Monks Make Annual Retreat

The community of New Melleray is currently making our annual retreat from March 24 to 30.  This year our Retreat Director is Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville Texas.  Bishop Flores, ordained a priest in 1988, has been a teacher of theology at the University of St. Thomas in Galveson Houston Archdiocese, as well as Director of Formation at St. Mary’s Seminary.  Made Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit in 2006, he was made Bishop of Brownsville by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009.  Bishop Flores, educated by Cistercian monks in Dallas, has a longstanding love and appreciation for Cistercian monasticism.  The monks are being offered spiritual conferences each morning from 8:30 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. and invited to sign up to talk to the Bishop privately if we wish.  Among the thought-provoking reflections the Bishop has offered the monks: What is the cause of the positive hatred for poverty we note in so many of our contemporaries, what but the recognition that poverty limits the options of those who believe all options should be open to them and that wealth and technology can make them so?  But “survival of the fittest”, is not the pattern of human salvation revealed by Christ.  Rather, we might look to the mysteries of the life of Mary as revealing the essence of Christian salvation: Mary who was immaculately conceived, who bore a son as a virgin, who shared her son’s agony at the foot of the cross of Christ, who witnessed the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, who was assumed into heaven and who the church now looks to as the woman “clothed with the sun”   The bishop likewise cautioned us concerning the temptation to a certain “objectivity” by which the Christian stands back and observes the suffering of others with a stony heart; a heart unwilling to let that suffering be felt and become a motivation to act in love.  Finally, he ventured a definition of the “New Evangelization” as grappling with this question: “How to invite to the heavenly banquet a world full of people who prefer to eat alone?”  The monks are most appreciative of the Powerful theological and spiritual reflections Bishop Flores is sharing with us. who is offering us a precious glimpse of the life of the larger church and of our own insertion in that church as enclosed contemplative monks.