The New Normal

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.


5 thoughts on “The New Normal

  1. Thank you Father Michael for this. How strange it must be for even a community of solitary souls to be physically solitary. The description of the flowers and yes those dandelions grounds my thoughts to the place of Mount Saviour..helps us all be close. Peace and good health to all. Sheila Dec

    On Wed, Apr 29, 2020, 9:40 AM The Oblates of Mount Saviour Monastery wrote:

    > Eve / Perennial Grace posted: “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 cancell” >

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  2. I, too, thank you Fr Michael for giving us updated glimpses into the details of life at Mount Saviour.  The “state of permanent change” you describe presents many challenges to the brethren, I’m sure. I struggle with my prideful and controlling personality.  The holy Benedictine, Bd Columbia Marmion, had some cautionary wisdom (in “Christ: The Ideal of the Monk”) which I have inscribed on an index card that I keep in my oratory, and of which I try to remain mindful in the midst of life with my family:

    “We have made a fervent Communion in the morning.  Our soul is entirely united to God. But if, in the course of the day, in the midst of our occupations, the “old man” awakens to incline us to pride, to touchiness, to anger, we must immediately repress these movements.  Otherwise we might be surprised into giving consent, and the life of charity, the union of our soul with God, would be lessened.”

    ~Walter near Scranton PA (not an oblate, but an occasional visitor to Mount Saviour since 1984)

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  3. Greetings Eve, and fellow oblates,

    I thought I’d like to share a Trinity Sunday message that my friend Ken Herfst gave at our church yesterday. It begins at around the 26 minute mark of the recorded live stream service from yesterday: http://www.firsthamilton.ca/live

    Ken hopes to make his oblate vows at our Fall Retreat, but who knows if this will be able to take place, given the “new normal” that Fr Michael Perry describes in this post. In the meantime, you will get a good solid glimpse into his heart from this passionate message and hopefully have a sense of strengthened connection with this brother who desires to be a part of our oblate community.

    Pax Christi, Br David-Peter Tigchelaar obl OSB

    On Wed, Apr 29, 2020 at 9:40 AM The Oblates of Mount Saviour Monastery wrote:

    > Eve / Perennial Grace posted: “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 cancell” >

    Like

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