Over the weekend I found myself in Kentucky (my family and childhood home) and was able to join the monks at Gethsemani for Terce and Mass on Sunday.
I love the simplicity of it, and the way the light plays throughout the
space. Harry, my Benedictine cousin, tells me that the colors of the stained glass are
supposed to reflect the colors of the Trappist habit.
I watched the monks slowly file into the choir stalls for the chanting
of Terce. There were more young monks and monks-in-training than the
last time I was here about 5 years ago. After Terce, I was surprised
when a monk came back to the place where the lay people were sitting
and opened the gate. We all (all 15 or 20 of us) then went up to the
main alter to join the monks at Mass.
And yet the liturgy was very slow, deliberate, simple and above all,
humble. The radical Pentecostal insight was one of forgiveness. During
one of the prayers the monk said: during this weekend (Memorial Day
weekend) we remember those who die in war, those who are fighting
for us and those who are fighting against us.
The Mass lasted 1 1/2 hours. I loved all of it.