Heading out to the Abbey of the Genesee. And a few other odds and ends
Tonight my wife and I will be making the three hour drive to the Trappist Abbey of the Genesee near Piffard, New York. We will be spending the weekend there on retreat and sharing a cottage with Cyrus Brewster, reader of this blog and the man who lent me the most empathy and support when the Governor of Pennsylvania, in full Covid panic, closed down all of Pennsylvania’s Stalinist State run liquor stores last year. Cyrus is a fellow lover of good pipe tobacco, bourbon, and Hans Urs von Balthasar. Therefore, I highly doubt that this weekend’s retreat will be a deeply ascetical affair but will focus instead on some grand fellowship and participation in the monastic prayers at the Abbey. However, the ultimate purpose of the trip is to visit the beloved co-founder and co-owner of our farm, Father John Gribowich (now Fr. Philip Neri) who is a new postulant at the abbey. I don’t know if the rules allow for it, but I am tempted to bring him a bucket of buffalo wings and a case of Yuengling Lager – – his favorites – – since I am sure he has had none of those things since his arrival. The monks at the abbey eat a vegetarian diet which is a fine penitential practice with an honored pedigree in the Church. However, if I had to endure such a thing I most likely would dream of bacon almost every night, complete with luxuriant olfactory hallucinations.
I would kindly ask of my readers their prayers for a fruitful weekend at the abbey. I have blogged on the abbey before which you can access here. I once harbored the romantic notion that I wanted to be a Trappist monk myself. But then I forced myself to give away my only copy of “Seven Story Mountain.” Vocational discernment problem solved. I still have strong monastic leanings in my spirituality (what is a “spirituality” anyway? Sounds like yet another meaningless modern construct like the word “religion.” But it will have to suffice as a descriptor for now.) I am a Benedictine Oblate, as is my wife, and our life on the farm is fairly monastic already and we pray the liturgy of the hours in our small icon chapel with the reserved Eucharist. Still… there is no substitute for actually visiting a real monastery and experiencing its silence, its rhythms, and the glorious weight of its liturgical seriousness.
Upon my return there are several new blog topics I want to dig into as well as completing my series on extra ecclesiam nulla salus. All in good time. Given all of my other duties, blogging about two or three times a month is the most realistic expectation at this point. I would love to blog more with shorter pieces that do not take up so much time. I am also going to be starting some videos of my own which will be posted on YouTube. That project depends upon me mastering some technologies with which I am not familiar. I am, after all, a luddite. And proudly so. It is to be remembered that the original luddites were ordinary citizens who were concerned that the new industrial technologies would destroy their traditional way of life and the culture that sustained it. They were savvy enough already then to understand that industrialization is not a “neutral” reality which one could use in whatever way one wanted without being affected by it in some very nasty ways. They knew already then that the medium is the message. Therefore, the luddites were not entirely wrong, and may have been largely correct.
But I digress. What I am really trying to say is that I stink with computer software stuff and the logistics of various apps. The primitive aesthetics of this blog site should let you know all you need to know about my skills. Were it not for friends like Carson Weber this site would be a mess. But I do plan on making upgrades and to add more video podcasts. I mean, how hard can vodcasts be? Michael Voris does it and with a horrible toupee. I promise not to wear any kind of extraneous headgear.
Back next week.
Dorothy Day, pray for us.