6th Annual Retreat and Assembly

Posted By on Apr 22, 2018

Contemplation: The Body and the Natural World
Fri, Jul 6, 2018, 3:00 PM – Sun, Jul 8, 2018, 3:00 PM PDT

549 Mission Vineyard Road
San Juan Bautista, CA 95045

Refunds up to 30 days before event

Tickets available for purchase online here!

Keynote Speakers:
Fr. Michael Fish, OSB Cam and Rev. Deborah Streeter

In this dynamic retreat, we are glad to feature two keynote speakers, Fr. Michael Fish and Rev. Deborah Streeter, to explore the contemplative dimension within our own body, and outside in the natural world that we call home.

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60th Anniversary Concert

Posted By on Apr 20, 2018

Sun, July 29, 2018
3:00 PM – 4:30 PM PDT

New Camaldoli Hermitage
62475 California 1
Big Sur, CA 93920

Please join us for a very special performance by world renowned violinist Michelle Makarski. An award-winning violinist and ECM Records artist, Michelle is internationally acclaimed for her compelling programming, poetic style and outstanding versatility.

Michelle Makarski’s latest recording on ECM is Six Sonatas for Violin and Piano by J.S. Bach, in duo with pianist Keith Jarrett. For more information please visit: michellemakarski.com

We are honored to host Michelle at the Hermitage.

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the word and the bread

Posted By on Apr 20, 2018

I love the story about Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch from the Acts of the Apostles for several reasons. The first is this: did anyone wonder what an Ethiopian eunuch was doing on the road from Jerusalem to Gaza, reading the prophet Isaiah? Here’s my explanation of it… Remember Solomon had an affair with the Queen of Sheba, and legend is that she went home pregnant with Solomon’s child. Some people think that the ancient country of Sheba is modern day Yemen. But most scholars think, and Ethiopians claim, that it was actually a part of Ethiopia, and that some form of the faith of the Hebrews was brought there by the Queen of Sheba. (This, by the way, is the claim of the Rastafarian religion, from which comes reggae music, and their devotion to Emperor Haile Sellasie of Ethiopia who they called the “Lion of Judah” because he was considered to be a descendant of Solomon. He even wore what was known as Solomon’s ring. Many folks do not know that the reggae music of Jamaica often quotes the psalms, and God is referred to as “Jah” which comes from the tetragrammaton YHWH. I used to refer to Rastafarians as “black Hebrews.” But I digress…) There was even until modern times a whole diaspora of Jews in both the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa, which are separated from each other only by the Gulf of Aden. And so perhaps here we have this Ethiopian eunuch from the court of a descendant of the Queen of Sheba (I like to think of him as an early Rastafarian maybe listening to Bob Marley in his ear buds in his chariot) visiting to the homeland of his faith, reading the Prophet Isaiah. And he stumbles onto just the very thing that seems to keep coming up so much this Easter season––the suffering servant, and what that meant about the Messiah, why that was pointing to the Christ. And so Philip has a chance to open his mind to understand the Scriptures in the same way that the unrecognized Risen Jesus had done for the disciples on the road to Emmaus and for the apostles gathered in the upper room.[1] The other reason I like this reading––this is a story I can only tell now years after it happened: there was a young man that came through here on his bicycle some years ago and I wound up spending a lot of time talking to him. He was not a Christian (his parents might have been non-practicing Buddhists), but during his bike trip across the country...

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sacrificial love

Posted By on Apr 16, 2018

We walked into an ongoing story here in the reading from the Acts of the Apostles today (6:8-15). After hearing about the apostles’ decision to appoint deacons to “wait on tables”––meaning to attend to the corporal works of mercy––now we hear specifically about Stephen, the first deacon and also the first martyr. It is helpful to recall that these three things are so closely tied to each other so as to almost not be three different things: service, Eucharist, and martyrdom, like Jesus’ washing his disciples’ feet, “consecrating” the bread and wine, and then giving himself over to death. Service is a kind of martyrdom. Service is also the way we become Eucharist (by being broken open and passed out) as well as our entrance ticket to the feast (First wash somebody’s feet and then come and eat.) Martyrdom, handing our lives over, is a kind of Eucharistic offering, like the John the Baptist’s head being offered on a platter and St. Ignatius being ground like wheat in the lion’s jaws. And so we’re back to Holy Week. Stephen becomes an icon of the icon. I especially want to highlight that Eucharistic element of that, because we are also beginning to listen to chapter 6 of the Gospel of John today, which includes the “Bread of Life” discourse. Acts says, concerning the people with whom Stephen was debating, that they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which Stephen spoke, and I want to say that they could not withstand it because they could not understand the wisdom and the Spirit with which Stephen spoke. And so, as my Jewish yoga teacher said once about Jesus, “I finally understand this guy: you either have to follow him––or kill him!” And so it will be with Stephen. They have to get rid of him; he’s just too beautiful. Acts says his face was shining “like an angel”! There is a wisdom in here, the wisdom of agape, the wisdom of Eucharist, the wisdom of martyrdom, that simply doesn’t make sense to the ordinary way of thinking, the way of power and dominance––like Jesus before Pilate. As a deacon, Stephen himself was serving the people what Jesus calls in today’s gospel the bread that endures for eternal life; as a matter of fact he himself is becoming that bread of that endures for eternal life, offering himself up. Br. Timothy and I were talking about this this morning: what will we want to have accomplished with our lives in the end––reputation, a new road (!), buildings, books, CDs? Food that perishes! Or will we have been a part of...

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I was at Incarnation Monastery in Berkeley on Mercy Sunday to celebrate the beginning of Br. Bede’s term as local prior there. This was my homily for that occasion. There are two themes that jump out at me from today’s readings, both of which seem apropos to the celebration today of the beginning of this new era and new leadership here at Incarnation. The first is drawn from the reading from the Acts of the Apostles that starts out with that delicious phrase, The community of believers were of one heart and mind. That is the best description of a community as I can imagine. I often use the image of the energy and the vessel. Romuald and the Camaldolese charism and tradition are the energy for our spiritual life, our monastic life. It tends to be a little on the solitary side, especially at New Camaldoli since it is a hermitage. But I have found the Camaldolese in general tend to be very focused on their individual spiritual journeys, tend to be singular warriors. I think this is what many of our oblates are attracted to, especially those who find themselves rather singular and solitary in the their spiritual lives in the world. That being said, it is the Rule of Benedict and the Benedictine tradition that provides us with a vessel for the energy. It holds it, protects it and keeps it from flying apart. Of course that also means that it is community life itself, those who we live with and share life with, and who keep us together and supported, our ecclesia, our koinonia, our cenobium. But it’s not just rules about the communal life that the RB gives us: it’s the spirit of the communal life, probably most eloquently chapters 71 and 72. Don Benedetto Calati taught that we should start with those two chapters and go backwards. Saint Benedict makes such a big point throughout the Rule about humility and obedience, as if they go together and together form the basis for all monastic life, the cardinal virtues of the monk. But obedience isn’t just obedience to the abbot or to the Rule: Benedict names chapter 71 Ut oboedientes sibi sunt invicem––“That they may obey one another”! He says that, “Obedience is a blessing to be shown by all, not only to the abbot but also to one another as brothers.” And then, in the next chapter, he quotes Romans 12:10, They should each try to be the first to show respect to the other, adding “supporting with the greatest patience one another’s weaknesses of body and behavior, and earnestly competing in obedience...

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God’s will is our delight

Posted By on Apr 9, 2018

(for the Solemnity of the Assumption) The Solemnity of the Annunciation is normally celebrated on March 25; it was transferred this year because Holy Week. But the date is still significant. In the early centuries of Christianity, before our own holy days got fixed, the 25th of March was celebrated as the spring equinox, and Christians, who loved to take over these “pagan” holidays, came to celebrate it instead sometimes as the first day of creation, at times as the day of Jesus’ birth and/or conception, even as the day of his death. When Christmas finally became fixed at December 25th, someone did the math and March 25th, nine months to the day before Christmas, came to be celebrated as the day Gabriel announced to Mary, and she accepted, and the Word became flesh in the fertile garden of her depths. Since then the Church has had a hard time deciding if this is a feast of Our Lady or a feast of the Lord. I like to think of it as the day when we celebrate that Mary said yes to the Angel, Christ the Word said yes to the Father, and the Father said yes to humanity! But what this feast really makes me reflect on is the will, human will. Instead of focusing on the historical details of Virgin-birth and the Nativity, for this feast the Church asks us to focus on the fact that the Word took flesh because God’s will became Mary’s will, a so she became a perfect dwelling for the Word; and even more that Jesus’ whole life was about God’s will being done through and in him. We hear three times in the official liturgy today––the proper entrance antiphon, the responsorial psalm, Ps. 40, and quoted in the reading from the Letter to the Hebrews: ‘Behold I have come to do your will, O God.’ I sometimes think of this as the Christian mantra, the only prayer really worth saying, like Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, or in the middle of the prayer he taught us––‘Thy will be done.’ And so it’s about Jesus and Mary turning their wills over, offering the interior sacrifice of abandonment. (How often we run into saints and mystics who have left us their prayer of self-offering, their prayer of abandonment.) ‘Behold I have come to do your will, O God.’ And underneath it all this celebration is also about God’s will: God who has chosen to get messy and be involved in our history, and be, as we heard in the reading from the prophet Isaiah, Emmanu-el––God-with-us. And, the author of Hebrews says, it...

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