Abbot Gregory presides over Ash Wednesday Mass and the distribution of ashes.
As ashes were distributed, each person was marked with the sign of the cross and heard the formula: “Repent, and believe in the Gospel.”
There are several different practices that the monks observe for the Lenten season.
- Ash Wednesday is a Day of Recollection for the monastic community
- Within the community, Fridays of Lent are observed as fast days, with simpler meals served
- Silence is observed on Fridays, which includes no community recreation
- Friday evenings from 7:45-8:45pm we will have a Holy Hour for Monastic Vocations
- Additionally, prior to the start of Lent, each monk submits his bona opera (good works) for the Abbot’s approval and blessing
Chapter 49 of the Rule of St. Benedict instructs the monks in this way:
The life of a monk ought to be a continuous Lent. Since few, however have the strength for this, we urge the entire community during these days of Lent to keep its manner of life most pure and to wash away in this holy season the negligences of other times. This we can do in a fitting manner by refusing to indulge evil habits and by devoting ourselves to prayer with tears, to reading, to compunction of heart and self-denial. During these days, therefore, we will add to the usual measure of our service something by way of private prayer and abstinence from food or drink, so that each of us will have something above the assigned measure to offer God of his own will, “with the joy of the Holy Spirit,” (1 Thess 1:6). In other words, let each one deny himself some food, drink, sleep, needless talking and idle jesting, and look forward to holy Easter with joy and spiritual longing.
Everyone should, however, make known to the abbot what he intends to do, since it ought to be done with his prayer and approval. Whatever is undertaken without the permission of the spiritual father will be reckoned as presumption and vain glory, not deserving reward. Therefore, everything must be done with the abbot’s approval.