Skip to content

St. Anselm's Abbey Memorial Mass

Alumni Mass November 25th, 2023

"The Lord says this: I am going to look after my flock myself and keep all of it in view. As a shepherd keeps all his flock in view when he stands up in the middle of his scattered sheep, so shall I keep my sheep in view.” AJ Lott and all Alumni

Fr. Abbot James, Fr. Samuel, Alumni, Students, and Friends:

Tomorrow is the last Sunday of the liturgical year, the 34th Sunday of Ordinary Time, when the Church celebrates the Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. A week later, we start Advent once more, as we begin again our liturgical cycle. It is fitting that this afternoon, as we celebrate a Memorial Mass for our deceased alumni and teachers, that we can have these two Sundays juxtaposed. As we end one year, we have the image of Jesus Christ the King before us as judge of the living and the dead. And then next Sunday, as we start once again picking up the pieces of our often broken and shattered lives, we begin anew with Advent and the promise of the Incarnation.

From Corinthians we read: “Death came through one man and in the same way the resurrection of the dead has come through one man. Just as all men die in Adam, so all men will be brought to life in Christ.” We have some very direct images of the salvation and redemption that are granted to us through Christ's Blood on The Cross. It is Christ who has made us into a kingdom, a people set apart for His Father. Pope Benedict XVI writes: "The King is Jesus; in Him God entered humanity and espoused it to Himself." Furthermore, when we hear about the dignity of humanity, how we have been endowed with substantial intellect, do we not rejoice that God has spoken the following words not to angels but to us: “Let us make man according to our image and likeness.” And we also heard elsewhere in Scripture that heaven and earth would pass away, but we have been called to immortality, to be sons and daughters espoused to the King, forever.

Pope Francis tells us: “The Christ of God, the Chosen One, the King, who appears without power or glory: He is on the Cross, where He seems more to be conquered than conqueror. His kingship is paradoxical: His throne is the cross; His crown is made of thorns; He has no scepter,

but a reed is put into His hand; He does not have luxurious clothing but is stripped of His tunic. He wears no shiny rings on His fingers, but His hands are pierced with nails; He has no treasure but is sold for thirty pieces of silver.”

We participate more fully in Christ’s Kingship through the Eucharist, remembering His Passion, Death, and Resurrection. As we celebrate this Mass, we have the manifestation of Christ’s Body and Blood. A manifestation bestowed upon us by the hands that sow the seed, the hands that reap the harvest, the hands that mill the grain, the hands that knead the dough, the hands that consecrate the bread. You cannot have one without the other. The great and universal Host should be prepared and handled in a spirit of adoration, for all of these hands are manifestations of Christ’s Kingship here and now, bringing us to eternal salvation.

In Christ’s words: "My kingdom does not belong to this world." And again, "You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice." Saint Benedict and Saint Anselm envisioned a monk's life of peace and solitude, seeking God at all times in the quiet routine of the cloistered, monastic timetable always listening to Christ’s voice. Perhaps, this same peace and comfort has been bestowed on all of our alumni and students, and we pray that our deceased alumni are now hearing the voice of Christ eternally.

Psalm 139 says, “For it was you who created my being, knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Yes, life slowly begins, almost imperceptibly, one egg cell, one sperm cell, so small, yet so sacred, as has been seen in our own conception. There are fits and starts, setbacks and new beginnings.

And then comes adolescence with all its vigor and uncertainty, clumsiness, and pitfalls, spurts of growth, and sometimes sickness, and sometimes even death. Yet with the grace of God, most of us get through this stage of searching and learning until we can take on the responsibility of young adulthood. Soon, and only too soon, this blooms into respectable middle-age maturity and the beginning of our own reflection upon how short life really is.

Then with the wisdom of old age comes the understanding of what life is really all about in this mere "clayed" human creation—God dwelling within us, creating us in His image and likeness.

Throughout this laborious journey, we lose family members, friends and classmates, alumni, and teachers. Yes, suddenly an end comes when someone in the prime of life dies and leaves us alone. Expected as death may have been with some irreversible disease, nonetheless the shock and terrible emptiness are still there.

During this month of November, the Church has traditionally asked us to pray for those who have completed their journey on Earth. And we are also to reflect upon our own passing over to Christ in this life. So, as we remember those who have gone before us and remember our own mortality, let us ever be mindful of the sacredness of life and how we must support all aspects of life.

After we recite our Creed, instead of the usual form of the Prayer of Petition, Fr. Abbot will solemnly read the names of our deceased alumni, teachers, and monks who have been active in the school. But also know that all your deceased family members, relatives, and friends are prayed for by the monks during the month of November and especially today.