Child Casket Fund: Trappist Monks of New Melleray Practice the Corporal Works of Mercy
These monks work with wood and continue the work of redemptive love
New Melleray is a Cistercian (Trappist) monastery located in the beautiful rolling farmland south of Dubuque, Iowa. Thirty monks live in community - praying and working for the salvation of the whole world. Crafting childrens caskets is an act of love and a corporal work of mercy for the monks
Caskets lovingly crafted by the Monks of New Melleray Abbey
PEOSTA, IA (Catholic Online) - One of my favorite definitions of a theologian was offered by a monk of the fourth century, Evagrius of Pontus. He wrote in his reflections entitled "Mirror for Monks": "The Knowledge of God is the breast of Christ and whoever rests on it will be a theologian".
The Image evokes the beloved disciple John, the author of the fourth Gospel, depicted at the Institution of the Eucharist, the "Last Supper", with his head on the chest of Jesus the Christ. His Gospel narrative was the last to be written and is the most theologically reflective. Clearly, John was a theologian. He learned that theology in the school of prayer.
That has been my own personal experience of monks. As a 'revert' to the Church, I had the privilege of spending 21 months in a Benedictine monastery as a very young man. There, I began a lifelong journey of prayer. I also studied the early fathers of the Church. I was taught by a wonderful monk. He was the first of several monks who have graced my life with their gift of holy presence, making Christ so palpable by their interior life - one which overflows in a genuine transfigured humanity.
From my encounters with monks immersed in their unique and vital vocation, no matter how much formal theological study they have, their depth of prayer makes them the best theologians. It is out of that storehouse of grace that they are able to help the faithful find the longing of every human heart, communion and intimacy with the God who has revealed Himself fully, in the words of Pope Benedict XVI, as the "human face of God" in Jesus Christ.
A part of monastic life and spirituality is labor, immersed in prayer. Monks support themselves through hard work, dedicated to God and caught up in the ongoing redemptive work of Jesus Christ in and through His Church. They follow a "Rule", a Way of Life.
New Melleray is a Cistercian (Trappist) monastery located in the beautiful rolling farmland south of Dubuque, Iowa. These thirty monks live in community - praying and working for the salvation of the whole world. Their way of life is ancient and ever new, calling all of us, as monks have always done, to discover the deeper mysteries of life and to fully live the Catholic Christian faith in our own vocations.
The Cistercians follow the Rule of St. Benedict and the Benedictine motto "Ora et Labora', Work and Prayer. The monks of New Melleray live that Rule as handed on in the tradition of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, within a community wholly ordered to a contemplative life of prayer.
These Monks hand craft wooden Caskets.I read these words on one of several of the websites sponsored by the wonderful Cistercian Monks at New Melleray Abbey in Iowa, "the good monks at New Melleray know that in the shaping of the wood, they are also shaping their souls".
These monks support themselves - and continue the work of God's love - by lovingly crafting wooden caskets. (You can visit this work ay Trappist Caskets )
The Trappist wood caskets handcrafted by the monks of New Melleray Abbey are constructed in the abbey's prayerful environment. Each is personally blessed by one of the monks prior to shipment. A Mass is offered at the abbey for each person who has used a Trappist casket or urn and their name is inscribed in the monk's Memorial Book. The monks also are good stewards of the Earth and the pine, oak and walnut woods used for the caskets and urns are grown at the abbey. A new tree is planted for each person who is buried in a Trappist casket.
Too often, people mistakenly believe that the monk retreats from the world because of its "corruption". In fact, the monk retreats (in differing ways in accordance with their particular monastic response) precisely in order to transform the world by his prophetic witness and powerful prayer. The dedicated monk is an essential part of the Lord's plan for the Church. The Church is what the early Fathers called the "New World", being recreated in Christ. We who have been baptized never again leave the Church. We actually live in the Church and go into the world to bring all men and women home.
The monastic life is one of the greatest treasures of our Church. Monasticism in the first millennium gave us the treasury of theological wisdom which still inspires the Church. Those who went into the desert became the great teachers, fathers, confessors and prophets. Their prayer and witness kept the Church in the Divine embrace so that she could effectively continue the redemptive mission of the Lord. That is, after all, the mission of the ...
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