Wednesday, January 2, 2019

New Year's Eve, Holy Name, and looking at Long Retreat

Baby Jesus is already a week old. And a new calendar year is upon us. Here are a few more memories of Christmas (compliment of Vance Greenway, our Postulant).
From top left, clockwise: fog on the Hudson at the end or our meadow; icicles on the cliff face along the Husdaon; Br. Bob and guests singing silent night as we put baby Jesus in the creche at the end of the first Vespers of Christmas; Vance Greenway (a.k.a. Swami Chidbrahmanda to his Advaita friends) with his friend Lakshmi, from Washington, DC; Baby Jesus tucked in his crib; guests praying at the creche.
A couple dozen guests joined us to ring in the New Year the quiet way. I always find the week between Christmas and New Year's Eve relaxing and so it was this year too.
Relaxing in the Guest House. From top left, clockwise: McArrow C., from NYC reading in Pilgrim Hall; pieces of a new jigsaw puzzle spread on the table; Nigel Richards puzzling with the help of a passing wise man; Nigel and Sr. Shane, CMA, considering the puzzling task ahead; The Rev. Sonia Waters and The Rev. John Mennell, of Montclair, NJ: Gary Johnson amd Melissa Morgenweck, of NYC, reading by the Christmas Tree; The Rev. Kathleen Bishop, and the Rev. Jim Jones, of Long Branch, NJ, visiting with Sr. Elizabeth, CMA, in the Avery Brooke Library.
On New Year's Day, we celebrate the feast of the Holy Name of Jesus. It's a great way to get the year started. In the afternoon, we sing Vespers earlier than usual and then close the Guest House for ten days.
New Year's Day. From top left, clockwise: McArrow receives heavy-duty counseling from a red-antlered nun (Sr. Shane, CMA); St Augustine enjoying his blooms of amaryllis in the church; Meredith Kadet Sanderson, from Liverpool, NY, donning jingle bell antlers; a tableful of guests, monks, and residents enjoying each other's company; lining up for the midday dinner.
Later that afternoon, the monks and residents of the monastery get together in the Pilgrim Hall to enjoy ourselves near the big Christmas Tree. We have take-out pizza and watch a movie. This year's movie was Disney's live-action movie version of "Beauty and the Beast." Brother Josép prepared another batch of coquito (a Puerto Rican coconut nog) for the occasion.
New Year's day Pizza and Movie evening for the community. From top, clockwise: the community assembled in Pilgrim Hall to watch a movie; Br. Josép and Yanick Savain (maybe they are comparing notes on their respective coquitos); Bros Aidan, Bob and Bernard playing Scrabble on New Year's Eve (Aidan won... whatever); enjoying conversation before the movie; Center, our elder, Br. Laurence testing the pizza (it was good, from Rino's in New Paltz).
This Wednesday, the community is enjoying a sabbath day. On Thursday, we are starting our eight-day annual Long Retreat. We will be in silence round-the-clock to focus on prayer, meditation, holy leisure and rest. We will re-open the Guest House on Friday, January 11.

That Saturday (January 12) three of us will fly to our monastery in Santa Barbara for an in-person meeting of the Council of the Order of the Holy Cross (Bros. Robert Leo, Bob and Bernard are on Council). We will be away for a week. I will probably get back to blogging by the end of January.

We wish you all a Happy New Year! Come and visit us in 2019!

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