Today began as I made my way to Mt. Irenaeus for Mass this morning. When I arrived there were a couple dozen young men there for a St. Bonaventure University men’s overnight. Men’s overnight’s are a part of the Friars outreach to the St. Bonaventure University Campus. It was great to see so many young men gathered and sharing in the chapel. Usually women outnumber men at Mass even at the Mountain which is home to five Franciscan Friars, but today was one of those exceptions when there were only a smattering of women and nearly three dozen men and many of them were University freshmen.
A handful of young ladies from nearby Houghton College arrived soon after the liturgy had started and I could tell that they were amazed and perhaps amused by the presence of all these Bonaventure men. The theme of the overnight was “Wildmen, Warriors and Kings.” It was great to see how these young guys connected with each other and with the Friars. Following Mass and a walk down to House of Peace for brunch I found myself soaking up the presence of Brother Sun whom we haven’t seen much of lately and enjoying the warmth he provided as the mercury moved above freezing. I decided to take a leisurely drive along Route 86 through the towns of Hornell, Arkport, and Dansville on my way to Abbey of the Genesee.
I arrived at the Abbey in time for Vespers. On Sunday’s vespers always includes a time of Eucharistic Adoration and I love the combination of the two. Two Sundays in a row I’ve been able to part take in adoration. Last Sunday at prior to our Secular Franciscan meeting and today at Abbey of the Genesee. After Vespers I stayed on in the chapel to soak up the silence. On leaving the chapel I stopped in the store to pick up a couple of Monks Brownies which are one of my favorite snacks and on my way to the car I took this photo of the Abbey Chapel silhouetted against the setting sun. I thought often today of the words of Thomas Merton as he described solitude.
The more I am in it, the more I love it. One day it will possess me entirely and no man will ever see me again. ~Thomas Merton