We are now in Eastertime, also known as the Easter season which focuses on the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Eastertide ends on the fiftieth day after Easter, on the day of Pentecost, celebrated this year on June 5th, 2022. On this day we recall when the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles in the form of tongues of fire. The Gospel readings have been focusing on Jesus’s last words with his disciples. In the Gospel reading of John 20;19-31, for the Second Sunday of Easter, after first wishing his followers peace, Jesus said “As the Father has sent me, I also send you.” The Apostles were called and sent by Jesus. We are too!
In the Gospel for May 1, the second Sunday of Easter, Jesus tells his disciples to “Feed My Lambs.” And then “Tend my sheep.” And for a third time, “Feed my sheep.”
Jesus’s words ring true today and he invites others to indeed “Feed his sheep.” This Gospel passage from John ends with the words, “Follow me.”
The Norbertine priests at Daylesford Abbey, followers of St. Norbert, heed Christ’s call to follow him, and do work to feed others today, as spiritual directors, as retreat leaders, in parish work, in working with the poor and unhoused. They also work to assist migrants and refugees through their Isaiah 58 ministry.
They share in this ministry with other like-minded men as Norbertine priests. “The concept of communio (communion in Christ) is at the center of life at Daylesford Abbey. We are called to be of “one heart and mind on the way to God.” (Rule of St. Augustine. Acts 4:32).”
The Norbertine vocation is rooted in daily Mass and the communal prayer of the Divine Office. The Norbertines chant the Office, the daily prayer of our Catholic church. This daily prayer, done together, flows to and from their daily celebration of the Eucharist., when bread and wine truly become the Body and Blood of Christ. Their prayer and their lives are committed to peace, justice, and healing. Their ministry is energized by prayer and support from one another.
The Norbertines follow the Rule of St. Augustine, written about the year 400. It is the oldest monastic rule in the Western Church. and is an outline for monastic life lived in community. The rule was developed by Augustine of Hippo, who lived from 354 to 430.
The Rule of Augustine insists that the community must live in harmony, “being of one mind and heart on the way to God.” The most fundamental message of the Rule is this: Love — love of God, love of neighbor — is the center of Christian life.”
Living in harmony, supporting one another, love of God and neighbor…all attractive ideals that you could help make into life realities. This can be a vocation that is rewarding, fulfilling and beneficial to others.
So how to begin? Becoming a Norbertine priest is a gradual process of prayer and discernment. There are several steps in the formation process. The first step is becoming an affiliate, in the affiliate program, so an individual can become familiar with a Norbertine religious vocation and the community, and the Norbertine community can get to know you as a candidate better. This step can last from a few months to two years.
The next step is the novitiate, a two-year process of ” assimilating a basic foundation and understanding of religious life and specifically Norbertine life. The novitiate helps an individual develop their prayer and spiritual life and learn more about the traditions of the Norbertine order.
During the next period of temporary professions, a candidate professes vows of poverty, celibacy, and obedience for three years. During this period, there is a focus on theological studies preparing for ordination, or for a brother candidate, a focus on ministerial studies.
After the passage of at least three years in temporary vows, the candidate and the Community discern if he is to proceed to solemn vows.
These vows are made for life, and for the rest of your life, you are incorporated as a full and permanent member of the Norbertine community.”
For those who wish to be ordained, the next step is ordination to the diaconate. A deacon can proclaim the Gospel, may be invited to preach the homily, and assists at the altar. The deacon can preside at the Liturgy of the Hours and can perform other duties in a parish setting.
Becoming a Norbertine is a gradual process and journey, but a journey begins with a first step. One first step can be watching this video on becoming a Norbertine.
Another helpful next step could be reading some of the stories of Norbertine priests: Why Am I A Norbertine?
A third and important step is to contact Daylesford Abbey. Click here Daylesford Abbey seeks qualified candidates (ages 20 to 45) who desire to serve the Church as Catholic priests or brothers.
The next step is yours. Are you ready to begin?