35 years ago, Stanley Miller began his monastic life as a postulant of St. Benedict's Abbey. A short time later he would receive the habit from Abbot Ralph and the name Meinrad. Since that time Fr. Meinrad has experienced a great many things in his monastic life from serving a college chaplain and instructor to offering retreats around the world for the Missionaries of Charity (primarily in Kolkata, India). In all of that time, the monastic community has used the same hymnal in their liturgies. Fr. Meinrad, now the schola master at the abbey, is excited to announce the Abbey is installing new hymnals! Fr. Meinrad offers the following reflection to mark the occasion:
St. Paul in his Epistle to the Ephesians admonishes the early believers:
Therefore, do not continue in ignorance, but try to understand what is the will of the Lord. And do not get drunk on wine, in which lies debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another [in] psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and playing to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks always and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father. (Ephesians 5:17-20)
St. Benedict established the monastery as the place that cries out to the world our new life in Jesus Christ, crucified and risen from the dead. Music has always been a part of the life of the monks here at the Abbey. Good liturgical music lifts our hearts and voices to almighty God in praise and thanksgiving for His many blessings.
For 50 years our Father Blaine worked as choirmaster of the Abbey, and continues to serve the community as our main organist. Father Blaine brought back sung Vespers to the community, and had a good sense of what music enhanced the Sacred Liturgy. The number of Psalm tones, hymns and canticles that he introduced to our Liturgy add greatly to our prayer life daily.
Today, on the Feast of St. Irenaeus, June 28, 2018, the monks started using a new hymnal, The Book of Sacred Liturgy, published by International Liturgy Publications in Nashville, TN. The new Missal include all the Sunday/Solemnity readings and Responsorial Psalms for Mass. In addition, there is a good number of traditional Catholic hymns, as well as contemporary hymns, Mass settings and other prayers that lift our hearts to God.