By Fr Michael Perry
There is a “new normal” everywhere, even at Mount Saviour.
Chapel doors that used to be open all day for people to come and pray are now locked to keep the virus out. Guests have been notified not to come and events have been cancelled. The new normal has left the brothers with a simplified version of their already simplified life of work and prayer .
Still seven times a day the chant continues to assert the supremacy of our God and to the Hours of the Divine Office they add the celebration of the Eucharist; or is it the other way around?
Social distancing is the norm with the brothers reassigned to staggered places in choir and in the refectory each monk has his own table with food picked up one by one cafeteria style from a table in the center of the room. One by one, one at a time they approach waiting for one to go back to his table before the next one can serve himself.
As the brothers file into the refectory another “new normal” has replaced the old. Whereas in the past they might have dipped their hands into a bowl of holy water, the new normal is a spritz of hand sanitizer, of course one brother at a time, keeping a safe distance. And then places are taken at the individual tables waiting for the prayer and the food.
The new normal doesn’t prevent Nature from sprouting Spring flowers, despite the snow showers, and the ewes keep Br Pierre running back and forth as their mid-wife/husband.
And the daffodils in bloom will fade and lilacs will then bloom and the great lawn that slopes down from the Chapel will be dotted with dandelions. And April will have given way to May and we would all like to see the virus go with it. But probably not. And so the new normal will force us to wait.
We are in a state of permanent change with the stability we hope for found only in the God our brothers and we witness to at Mount Saviour.