Yesterday at the Mount Saviour Monastery, a Benedictine Monastery in New York State, our friend Peter became a lay Benedictine Oblate.
Now that doesn’t mean that he’s saying goodbye to his lovely wife Cheryl, donning the monks habit (although he is getting one of our monks in the hoodies!), shaving a tonsure into his hair. He won’t be joining these monks in seclusion in their monastery nestled in the hills of northwestern New York.
What it does mean is that he will continue to build his life and work in Hamilton around rhythms of prayer and obedience to Christ.
Peter has a piano set up in his Urban Green workroom, and practices the hours – set times of prayer throughout the day. Last spring when I stopped by to pick up a load of dirt for my garden, I could hear the sounds of his devotion emanating from his workroom. He was happily singing the psalms, unaware of our presence. It felt like a holy thing just to stand outside the door and listen.
Peter isn’t a Roman Catholic. He’s Christian Reformed, actually. A man of the Word and full of the Spirit. But a man with the conviction that perhaps we threw out the baby with the bath water at the Reformation. And, like myself, a man who thinks the Catholics have a thing or two to teach us about prayer.
Below are some pictures of the trip. The beautiful chapel the monks pray in seven times a day. The monastery has some lovely art. We ate bread made by Trappist monks in Genesee, New York (where Henri Nouwen wrote the Genesee Diary). And of course, Peter being received as a lay Benedictine Oblate.