Sailing between Scylla and Charybdis

2022-03-05T15:36:41-06:00January 13th, 2022|Letters to the Friends|

Dear Friend of Clear Creek Abbey,

In the book of Amos we read the following reflection: “No wonder the prudent man keeps silent, the times are so evil.” (Amos 5:13) Sometimes, however, a man must speak, especially in perilous times. Many of you are concerned about the Traditional Latin Mass, whose fate is in the balance as I write this. In fact, there is much to worry about even beyond the question concerning the Latin Mass.

As has happened in the past, the Church, like a great ship, is now passing through a narrow stretch of treacherous water, so to speak, where great perils lurk on either side. On the port side there waits Scylla (to use a Homeric comparison), the evil sea monster of heresy, the tentacles of which have already laid […]

Christmas and the Real Presence

2022-02-05T15:58:45-06:00December 25th, 2021|Letters to the Friends|

Dear Friend of Clear Creek Abbey,

Christmas is the season of light and peace par excellence. Its light is that from Heaven, and its peace a peace not of this world. But there is another aspect of this incomparable mystery and celebration, the fact that, while God was always present everywhere and in a special way to His people and to His prophets of old, He now comes to earth, not merely with the presence that is mediated by the Divine grace of revelation, but with the presence which belongs to God in Person, the Real Presence of the Son of God made man, appearing at the humblest spot in all creation, a locality transformed in an instant into the noblest of places beneath Heaven.

Recently at Clear Creek we had the joy […]

Clear Creek Calendar 2022

2022-01-29T15:27:41-06:00December 1st, 2021|Letters to the Friends|

Dear Friend of Clear Creek Abbey,

Where will the Year of Our Lord 2022 take us? Where does time fly (tempus fugit)? In other cultural milieus time has seemed to be a kind of perpetual mechanism that just turns with the seasons—without end. Not so in the perspective of Holy Scripture. As a noted Catholic philosopher expresses it:

Man is naturally frightened by the irreversibility of his own duration and the very newness of unpredictable events. He refused to face them. Hence, the negation of time by archaic civilizations.… [There are] the oriental conceptions of the eternally recurrent phases of destruction and regeneration of the cosmos. Christianity has taught us that history has a direction, that it works in a determined direction. History is not an eternal return; it does not […]

The Idea of a Pilgrimage

2022-02-05T15:43:21-06:00October 23rd, 2021|Letters to the Friends|

Dear Friend of Clear Creek Abbey,

In an essay entitled The Idea of a Pilgrimage, Hilaire Belloc, who had a certain personal experience of the thing, takes us beyond the mere definition and into the fuller, incarnate, sense of what it means to go on pilgrimage:

There has always hung round the idea of a pilgrimage, with all people and at all times – I except those very rare and highly decadent generations of history in which no pilgrimages are made, nor any journeys, save for curiosity or greed – there has always hung round it, I say, something more than the mere objective. … I will visit the grave of a saint or of a man whom I venerate privately for his virtues and deeds, but on my way I […]

Humble Nobility

2021-12-16T10:36:23-06:00August 13th, 2021|Letters to the Friends|

Dear Friend of Clear Creek,

Today I am writing to you for a very special purpose. Clear Creek Abbey has accepted to be the headquarters for the promotion of the cause of beatification for the Servant of God Empress Zita of Habsburg. I think you will see how well this endeavor fits with our vocation as contemplative monks.

As is commonly said, Noblesse oblige: that quality we name ‘nobility,’ far from providing a reason to dispense a person from hard service, brings with it, on the contrary, a grave obligation to serve more than others. The Lord Himself said as much: “The Son of man is not come to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a redemption for many” (Matthew 20:28). The idea is familiar to monks, who […]

House for a Thousand Years

2022-02-05T16:03:51-06:00May 13th, 2021|Letters to the Friends|

It gives me a kind of perfect joy to announce the construction of a new residence hall at Clear Creek, a building we call “the Chapter House.” This large building will include essential rooms for the life of the monastery, including the Chapter Room, the Sacristy, the Infirmary, and more than 30 cells. This much needed part of the monastery has been a long time coming. Construction is to last for 16 months, beginning in the middle of May.

If “a picture is worth a thousand words,” then the graphic art (spanning the inside two pages) of our architect, Mr. William Heyer, and his team, will give you an excellent idea of the scope and […]

The Next City of God

2022-02-05T16:05:39-06:00February 15th, 2021|Letters to the Friends|

Dear Friend of Clear Creek Abbey,

After repeated threats, in the year 410 “the Visigoths appeared outside Rome in force and the senate prepared to resist, but in the middle of the night rebellious slaves opened the Salarian Gate to the attackers, who poured in and set fire to the nearby houses. ‘Eleven hundred and sixty three years after the foundation of Rome,’ Gibbon pronounced, ‘the Imperial city, which had subdued and civilized so considerable a part of mankind, was delivered to the licentious fury of the tribes of Germany and Scythia’” (Richard Cavendish, “The Visigoths sack Rome”, History Today). The Romans were left in a state of despair, and many of them blamed the Christians for this unmitigated disaster.

It was Saint Augustine who set himself the task of refuting the charge and restoring hope to the Christians. […]

Christmas Contagion

2022-02-05T16:06:04-06:00December 25th, 2020|Letters to the Friends|

Dear Friend of Clear Creek Abbey,

As I pen these few lines to accompany our Christmas greetings to you at the end of the Year of Our Lord 2020, much in the world remains uncertain. Our political destinies as Americans continue to vacillate amid our ever deepening divisions over the recent presidential election; the incalculable troubles occasioned by a virus unleashed on the world from China have not yet ceased to interfere with our lives; finally, the specter of war on a grand scale—with its particular horrors in our age of advanced technology—though remote for the moment, ever skulks in the background.

And yet, and yet… We Christians are a stubborn people in the sense that our hope […]

A Portal and a Pilgrimage

2022-02-05T16:09:24-06:00October 13th, 2020|Letters to the Friends|

Dear Friend of Clear Creek Abbey,

We crossed a threshold—literally—on September 27th, when the portal, the great doorway of our abbey church under construction, was revealed during a ceremony after our conventual Mass. When the white veil that was covering the entrance fell (in fact the Oklahoma wind blew it down ahead of schedule…), our eyes beheld a spectacle not of this world. On two capitals surrounding the door we saw depicted the life and mystery of the Blessed Virgin. A little higher, on what is called the “lintel,” the twelve Apostles commanded our respectful attention— they were most dignified, but with that living expression on their faces that speaks of our Christian joy in the one […]

Considerations on the State of Things In the Streets of Heaven and on the Streets of Earth

2020-06-19T15:14:55-05:00June 19th, 2020|Letters to the Friends|

All that dedicated City,
Dearly lov’d by God on high,
In exultant jubilation
Pours perpetual melody;
God the One, and God the Trinal,
Singing everlastingly.
(Hymn for the Dedication of a Church)

As cries of anger echo these days through the streets of many a city in our world beneath the stars (especially in places where you cannot see them for the glare of artificial lights), the Angels of God serenely pursue their song of praise in honor of the Three Divine Persons, including the One, who, on the Tree of Life, that is to say the Cross, won the definitive victory over every form of sin—even human brutality and the plague of racism. It is not that those heavenly beings, in their joy, have no care for the injustices that continue to sadden and afflict the citizens of this […]

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