The First Sunday of Advent brings the sense of a new beginning to the Church and the monastery. We see over and over again in the spiritual life that though we make progress, we often make the same mistakes. So, with God’s grace, we need occasions to start afresh. Sacramental Confession is one of those occasions but so is the new liturgical year, which recalls the prophecy of Christ’s arrival, His birth, life, Cross and Resurrection.
This new beginning also marks the anniversary of the monks’ arrival in Norcia in the year 2000. Then, on a cold winter afternoon, the town was flooded with well-wishers (and the merely curious!) who wanted a look at the first monks to live in Norcia since 1810 when the monastery had been closed. Fr. Cassian led a procession with two other courageous brothers down the corso (main street) to the Basilica built at the ancient birthplace of our holy father, St. Benedict.
A generous benefactor from Michigan sponsored the project to install water, sewer and gas from Norcia to the monastery, allowing everyone along the 1.5 mile road access.
Little did we know that 16 years later, God would lead us yet further on the path of our Patron, up to the mountain, withdrawing as he did into the wilderness to be discovered and surrounded by many monks in the years to come. We’re happy to report that three men were clothed in the habit today, formally becoming novices.
And, mirabile dictu (a wonder to say) we have broken ground on the foundations of the monastery and work is progressing steadily despite the weather. As if this were not enough, a new organ will soon be delivered to our little wooden chapel and installation will follow so it can be played at Christmas for the first time!
To help us in 2019, you can buy a bottle or a case of our beer (now available with less expensive shipping to local Walgreens stores), you can purchase our CD on Amazon, or maybe even consider a major gift to help us build the walls. Whether a gift is small or large , God uses it for the good of His plan. When the monastery is finally built one day, whether a small gift gave a brick or a larger one an entire floor, all will be cherished as one whole, so that God can be sought and adored on this holy mountain in Norcia.
With our prayers for you this Advent and at the crib with our Lord this Christmas,
Prior Benedict Nivakoff, O.S.B.