This posting was submitted by Fr. Joel Derks, O.S.B., a monk of Conception Abbey, and a jubilarian in profession and ordination.
Who takes care of the car you use? What kind of attention does your car need?
I help out with maintenance for the Abbey’s fleet of vehicles.
I care for everything from the wheels to the roof.
Adding fuel, changing oil, checking the transmission, and countless other items need to be monitored. Tires to replace, balance, rotate, inflate properly, and align the wheels.
The automobile is a highly computerized and technical machine, and it is to be respected and care for properly. As St. Benedict says in his Rule, “He will regard all utensils and goods of the monastery as sacred vessels of the altar, aware that nothing is to be neglected” (Chapter 31).
I enjoy washing a car; but besides checking tire pressure, adding windshield washer fluid, and vacuuming, that’s about all I can do.
But, it takes much more than that to keep our cars going. I drive the automobile a mile or so down the highway just to see how it sounds. Sometimes it takes a technician and more specialized skill to know what needs attention. Other workers, and an outside maintenance shop care for our vehicles.
We have 17 cars, 3 vans, and a few trucks/pick-ups.
Last year monks traveled around 300,000 miles, sometimes to appointments or the airport, but mostly to various churches and parishes to assist with ministry.
The next time you drive a car, please drive safely. Much money and care has gone into making a car serve your purposes!
Grant me, O Lord, a steady hand and a watchful eye.
That no one shall be hurt as I pass by.
St. Christopher, holy patron of travelers, pray for us.