Radical Practices: Witness – Br. James Koester

Br. James Koester

1 John 1: 1 – 4
Psalm 96
Luke 24: 36 – 53

There are a few of us in the community who will remember, and there may be others of you who will have heard the story, probably countless times, of how our brother Tom, when he was the Superior, used to pray at the Mid-Day Office for the gift of martyrdom to be given to our community. Some of us were quite ready to grant him his prayer, and make him the first official martyr of the Society. (As an aside, I say official martyr, because while the African martyr Bernard Mizeki was not a member of our community, he was certainly a product of our Society, as he was: introduced to the Christian faith; prepared for baptism; trained as a catechist and sent out on mission where he was later martyred, by members of our community in South Africa. Because of that, I like to think of him as our martyr.)

We say in our Rule of Life in the chapter on Life Profession that the grace to surrender our lives to God through our vows has been given to us in Baptism whereby we die with Christ and are raised with him. It is the same grace that gives strength to martyrs to submit gladly to death as witnesses of the resurrection. From the beginning monks and nuns have been encouraged to understand their own commitment in the light of the freedom and trust that enables martyrs to give up their lives to the glory of God. The witness of the martyrs should never be far from our minds as we go forward in the vowed life day by day.[1] Continue reading

Sermon for Saturday of Pr. 18 – Br. David Allen

davidallen_1

Mt. 28:16-20

Today we remember Edmund James Peck, a missionary to the Inuit in Canada for 40 years in the northern Arctic.  His mission service began in the later part of the 19th Century and continued until he retired to Toronto in 1921.  He died in 1924.

We are told that early in his ministry to the Inuit people he got the feeling that they did not really understand what he was trying to do.  One day he overheard a group of the Inuit talking about him.  “Oh, him, he came down from heaven to save the Inuit.”  He knew that he had not come down from heaven. But from that time on he tried his best to make the last part of what he had heard come true.  He had come to bring the message of Jesus’ saving love to the Inuit people. He tried to make it true.  I think he did.  Continue reading

Giving Up Life to Discover Life – Br. Curtis Almquist

Br. Curtis Almquist

August 30, 2016 – The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist

For Herod himself had sent men who arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his Brother Philip’s wife, because Herod had married her.  For John had been telling Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your Brother’s wife.”  And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed; and yet he liked to listen to him.  But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and for the leaders of Galilee.  When his daughter Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it.”  And he solemnly swore to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.”  She went out and said to her mother, “What should I ask for?”  She replied, “The head of John the baptizer.”  Immediately she rushed back to the king and requested, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”  The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her.  Immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother.  When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb. Mark 6:17-29 Continue reading