CISTERCIAN MONKS AT THE ABBEY OF OUR LADY OF NEW CLAIRVAUX
THE ABBEY of Our Lady of New Clairvaux in Vina, California is home to a community of Cistercian monks who strive for a balance of prayer, hospitality, work, study, and sustainable stewardship of resources in simplicity and openness for the glory of God. While much of a monk’s time is spent in lectio divina, a form of scripture meditation, Brother Guerric Llanes, O.C.S.O. says that the natural surroundings at the abbey
also put the monks directly within the “gardens of the scriptures,” to use the words of Blessed Guerric of Igny, a
disciple of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, the founder of the Cistercian order.
Llanes continues, “While quietly picking grapes during a summer harvest, my mind finds a leisurely pause,
and I recall the words of Christ: ‘Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow.’ And then I know I can put all
my worries to rest and simply bask in the sweet Spirit of His Word.”
THE ABBEY of Our
Lady of New Clairvaux
generates income from
the cultivation of walnut
and prune trees in its
orchards and grapevines
in its vineyard.
ing yield for others. It calls us into
service. As with plants, this can take
many different forms: service to our
families, our communities, the poor
and needy; service of prayer and
sacrifice for the world. When we
become the creation in God’s garden
that we were meant to be—a difficult
we find peace and fulfillment and joy.
When we plant a garden, we
must think about what we want from
it and how to go about it, but it really
helps to ask God to show us the best
way. When I built my first hermit-
desires. And ask God what he wants.
Ask him how we are to serve in his
garden, which is the struggling,
wounded, hurting world.
God speaks to us in many ways,
but I believe that the best way to
hear God is in a garden. After all,
God created the first humans in a
garden, faced death from a garden,
and rose again from a garden. Perhaps Mary Magdalene was not so far
off when on that first Easter morning she mistook Jesus for a gardener
(John 20: 15). =
View more religious community gar-
dens at tinyurl.com/VisionGardens.
age, I didn’t know how to tend the
landscape and what sort of garden to
plant, so I waited through the first
winter, trusting God would reveal to
me what to do when it was time. And
sure enough, it simply became evident to me one day, and in the spring,
I created terraced gardens blending
the cultivated terrain at the top of the
hill into the wild land below.
It’s the same with our calling.
We need to think about it, dream
about it, talk to the right people
about it—and pray to God about
it. That’s the most important part.
Ask God to help us figure out what
suits our needs, our aptitudes, our
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