Br. Benet Tvedten, OSB

When I went off to a Benedictine college in 1954, I was introduced to what was then known as “The Liturgical Movement.” Unlike the custom in so many parishes of that era, including the one from which I came, the St. John’s students did not merely follow along with a missal at the Eucharist; we responded to the priest in spoken word and sang the Gloria and Credo all in Latin. This, of course, was still in the days before Vatican II introduced the vernacular. There was one liturgical function in English, however. Every evening the students were invited to gather in the corridors of their dormitories to pray Compline, the night prayer of the Church. All freshmen were required to read St. Benedict’s Rule for religion class. In my sophomore year, I became an Oblate of St. Benedict. Besides the liturgical participation, I had been drawn to further Benedictine ideals from my contact with these monks who were my teachers. So after college I entered a monastery. Most of us when asked why we joined the monastery will readily respond because we felt called by God. The inquirer may want to know if there had been a moment when this call was clearly manifested. I don’t think I had a mystical revelation, but I do remember that the first time I heard monks singing Gregorian chant, I had something akin to an out-of-the-body experience. During the novitiate we had to sit through an hour-long chant class every Friday afternoon. This was not an out-of-the-body experience by any means. I found it a bodily burden. Nevertheless, the Benedictine love of the liturgy remained one of the drawing cards for me. In the Prologue to the Rule, St. Benedict refers to the Lord seeking workers in a multitude of people. “Is there anyone here who yearns for life and desires to see good days?” It occurs to me that I have indeed seen many good days in the in monastic life. When a monk professes final vows, he prays three times in the ceremony: “Uphold me O Lord  and do not let me be confounded in my expectations.” St. Benedict realizes that the common life may become burdensome for some. He asks in the Rule that we respect one another “by supporting with the greatest patience one another’s weaknesses of body or behavior.” Furthermore, we are to show our fellow monks “the pure love of brothers.” They are more to us than friends. They are family. Someone has said that simply living together defines Benedictine asceticism. Being part of a monastic family provides sufficient discipline and penance. The mutual obedience that St. Benedict would have us practice requires our adapting to one another regardless of our differences. Patience is mentioned in several places throughout the Rule of St. Benedict. He states that in a monastic family “we shall, through patience, share in the sufferings of Christ that we may deserve to share in his kingdom.” A good deal of patience is required in living together in a monastery. Be patient with yourself also St. Benedict tells us. “Do not wish to be called holy before you really are.” Don’t be in such a hurry. Take your time. Be patient. I’ve often wondered if someone is discouraged from joining a monastery because he feels that he is not a good enough person. Benedictine men and women vow themselves to the practice of conversion, an ongoing daily effort to improve one’s behavior. Some days not much progress is made. Faithfulness, however, is allied to conversion. We are faithful in being where we are supposed to be and faithful in doing what is expected of us. We remain faithful to prayer and the practice of hospitality and the sharing of love for one another. Be converted all your lifetime, St. Benedict urges us. I have had to deal with some significant failures and weaknesses in my own life. Conversion calls us to constantly change our behavior, our attitudes, and our lives. I have been a professed monk for fifty-three years. The longer I live in the monastery, the more I love it—the place and its people. And I feel confident that I am accepted and loved in this monastery where I’ve come after the closing of Blue Cloud Abbey where I had been a member for so many years.
Support Us
Donate
Phone (701) 974 3315 Address PO Box A Richardton, ND 58601
Social
Follow us on Facebook!

Vocations Main Page Vocations Main Page Back to Top Back to Top Vocation Stories Vocation Stories

Br. Benet Tvedten, OSB

When I went off to a Benedictine college in 1954, I was introduced to what was then known as “The Liturgical Movement.” Unlike the custom in so many parishes of that era, including the one from which I came, the St. John’s students did not merely follow along with a missal at the Eucharist; we responded to the priest in spoken word and sang the Gloria and Credo all in Latin. This, of course, was still in the days before Vatican II introduced the vernacular. There was one liturgical function in English, however. Every evening the students were invited to gather in the corridors of their dormitories to pray Compline, the night prayer of the Church. All freshmen were required to read St. Benedict’s Rule for religion class. In my sophomore year, I became an Oblate of St. Benedict. Besides the liturgical participation, I had been drawn to further Benedictine ideals from my contact with these monks who were my teachers. So after college I entered a monastery. Most of us when asked why we joined the monastery will readily respond because we felt called by God. The inquirer may want to know if there had been a moment when this call was clearly manifested. I don’t think I had a mystical revelation, but I do remember that the first time I heard monks singing Gregorian chant, I had something akin to an out-of-the-body experience. During the novitiate we had to sit through an hour-long chant class every Friday afternoon. This was not an out-of-the-body experience by any means. I found it a bodily burden. Nevertheless, the Benedictine love of the liturgy remained one of the drawing cards for me. In the Prologue to the Rule, St. Benedict refers to the Lord seeking workers in a multitude of people. “Is there anyone here who yearns for life and desires to see good days?” It occurs to me that I have indeed seen many good days in the in monastic life. When a monk professes final vows, he prays three times in the ceremony: “Uphold me O Lord  and do not let me be confounded in my expectations.” St. Benedict realizes that the common life may become burdensome for some. He asks in the Rule that we respect one another “by supporting with the greatest patience one another’s weaknesses of body or behavior.” Furthermore, we are to show our fellow monks “the pure love of brothers.” They are more to us than friends. They are family. Someone has said that simply living together defines Benedictine asceticism. Being part of a monastic family provides sufficient discipline and penance. The mutual obedience that St. Benedict would have us practice requires our adapting to one another regardless of our differences. Patience is mentioned in several places throughout the Rule of St. Benedict. He states that in a monastic family “we shall, through patience, share in the sufferings of Christ that we may deserve to share in his kingdom.” A good deal of patience is required in living together in a monastery. Be patient with yourself also St. Benedict tells us. “Do not wish to be called holy before you really are.” Don’t be in such a hurry. Take your time. Be patient. I’ve often wondered if someone is discouraged from joining a monastery because he feels that he is not a good enough person. Benedictine men and women vow themselves to the practice of conversion, an ongoing daily effort to improve one’s behavior. Some days not much progress is made. Faithfulness, however, is allied to conversion. We are faithful in being where we are supposed to be and faithful in doing what is expected of us. We remain faithful to prayer and the practice of hospitality and the sharing of love for one another. Be converted all your lifetime, St. Benedict urges us. I have had to deal with some significant failures and weaknesses in my own life. Conversion calls us to constantly change our behavior, our attitudes, and our lives. I have been a professed monk for fifty-three years. The longer I live in the monastery, the more I love it—the place and its people. And I feel confident that I am accepted and loved in this monastery where I’ve come after the closing of Blue Cloud Abbey where I had been a member for so many years.
Vocation Stories Vocation Stories
Support us
Donate
Social
Follow us on Facebook!

Email us
Phone (701) 974 3315 Address PO Box A Richardton, ND 58601