“Lord, for your faithful people life is changed, not ended”

-- Preface of Christian Death

November 2020

Dear Alumni and Friends of Saint Anselm College and Saint Anselm Abbey,

These familiar words taken from the Preface of Christian Death of the Eucharistic Prayer remind us that for those of us who professes Jesus as Lord, the end of our mortal life is but the beginning of our life on high with Christ Jesus our Lord.   Since I wrote to you last November, we as a global community have been given the opportunity to think about change.  So much in our world seems to have changed or taken on new significance -- not always for the better: a global health crisis, increased violence, polarizing political rhetoric, food insecurity to name but a few.  This sobering analysis has led psychologist to conclude that our current emotional state is one of anxiety, fear and insecurity.

How are we to make sense of this?   We may be asking ourselves, where is God?  Has God abandoned his people?  The only answer to those questions is a resounding NO.  Where is God?  – right here in our midst.  God is with us.  God knows the depths of our hearts. God is not deaf to the cries of his people or blind to our needs.  However God may be asking us to trust all the more in his loving kindness. Perhaps in this time of uncertainty, God is asking us to reexamine what is important and fundamental to each of us.  Where is God – with us, walking with us- just as he did with those two sad and discouraged disciples on the road to Emmaus.

One of the things that has struck me throughout the COVID-19 pandemic is how intrinsically linked we are as brothers and sisters in the human family.  COVID does not discriminate and when we think of how powerful is the bond that unites us as children of God, we are left with a sense of wonder and awe.  Perhaps that is the blessing of COVID.  While in no way discounting the hurt and pain this virus has caused, we have been given the opportunity to reflect on how interrelated we are as children of God and brothers and sisters.  Pope Francis has written, “We are one human family. Let us bring all hostilities to a halt. May our joint fight against the COVID-19 pandemic bring everyone to recognize the great need to reinforce brotherly and sisterly bonds.”

These bonds of love extend beyond the grave.  We are united with all those who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith.  We are united to each other in life and in death.  This is known as the Communion of Saints.   Catherine-O’Connell-Cahill writes, “The best thing about the communion of saints is that it connects us all—because we are one body. When we celebrate the Eucharist, we pray with all those who have gone before us. We living can pray for the dead, “the souls in purgatory,” who need prayers on their journey to God. The multitude in heaven pray for the rest of us, inspire us by their example, and remain present to us in ways of which we know not. “I will spend my heaven doing good on earth,” said St. Thérèse of Lisieux before her death.”

During this month of November, be assured that all of the monks will be praying for your beloved dead and we ask that you remember our deceased confreres as well.  As we unite in love, prayer and service we show the world that God is with us and we bring to fulfillment the prayer of Jesus spoken in Saint John’s gospel: “That they may all be one.  As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17:21)

Sincerely in the Lord,
Abbot Mark's Signature

Abbot Mark and the Monks of Saint Anselm Abbey


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