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(Proverbs 21: 29, Psalm 36: 2-3)
Thoughts on Life
  • It is not what we are given at birth that matters. The mark we make in this life is determined by the choices we make everyday. - Fr. Julian Deurbeck O.S.B.
  • If we live a family life of love and kindness, of care and concern, our children will learn a lesson that they will want to pass on to their children. - Abbot Dismas Kalcic O.S.B.
  • If you embrace the values of your culture you will become indifferent to the presence of God within you. - Abbot Dismas Kalcic O.S.B.
  • Physical comfort is good. But if we have too much of it our hearts grow dull. We become indifferent to those around us. And we can no longer lay hold of eternal life. - Abbot Austin Murphy O.S.B.
  • There are five truths about life we would do well to learn: Life is hard, you are going to die, you are not in control of your life, you are not that important and your life is not about you. - John Grossman
  • A healthy community needs a clear understanding of what it can tolerate lest the fabric of the common life be stretched so thin that it disintegrates. Individuals need to know that they do not operate in isolation and that their behavior affects everyone else in the group. - Columba Stewart O.S.B.
  • You can have anything you want. You can be anything you want. You can achieve anything you want. All it takes is hard work. If you don't want to work or you quit then you have no right to complain if you don't get what you wanted. - Richard Ferre
  • Give thanks to God for all you've been blessed with. Lift up your face to heaven. And smile. - Br. Kevin Coffey O.S.B.
  • Lord, remind me on the days I don't get my way what a glorious day this is! - Barbara McCartney
  • As one observer recently noted, our society is exchanging moral concern about sex for moral concern about diet. We are not sure that moral judgments should be made when it comes to sexual behaviors, but when it comes to free range chickens and excess carbohydrates, the moral categories kick in. - Albert Mohler
  • You say the times are evil, then improve yourselves and the times will be better: you are the times. - St Augustine
  • Man is not what he thinks he is, he is what he hides. - Andre Malraux
  • Silence is the only state of being in which man can contemplate mystery. Only in silence does man have the quality of simply being, neither projecting himself onto others, nor caring about his public image, nor trafficking in abstract expressions, nor removing himself to the political sphere, the God-debate sphere, or the attention-seeking sphere. - Marc Barnes
  • "Nothing is more unjust, however common, than to charge with hypocrisy him that expresses zeal for those virtues which he neglects to practice; since he may be sincerely convinced of the advantages of conquering his passions, without having yet obtained the victory, as a man may be confident of the advantages of a voyage, or a journey, without having courage or industry to undertake it, and may honestly recommend to others, those attempts which he neglects himself." - Samuel Johnson
  • Dr. Shadrach Meshach Lockridge


Winemaking

Through the gracious generosity of the monks at St. Procopius Abbey I have been priviledged to become the latest vintner responsible for the 110+ year old vineyard at the Abbey. I am now in my eleventh year of carrying on this honor. Not a day in the vineyard goes by that I do not reflect on those who have gone before me, both those who were my teachers (Brs. George and Joe) and those I have never met who started this work over 100 years ago. After so many years of both successful and less than successful wine making seasons I have even come to look on the vines as old friends and mourn those who do not make it through the hard winters.

One thing I have learned is that I really don't know very much about grapes and wine. So as such I have spent some time consulting the Illinois Extension Service and as many resources, e.g. Washington State Extension, as I can.

What have I learned?

First, the fungal infections the vineyard has been prone to need attention early in the game. Spraying with organic treatments, e.g Bordeaux mix, should be done before flowering.

Second, although use of mulch is accepted as a way to control weed growth the best way for many organic vineyards is to use nitrogen fixing cover crops.

Third, this is definitely not a one person, part time operation. So one must pace oneself and the assistance from volunteers needs to be carefully directed.

And what has this translated into?

As per last year we will spray early. (I will probably have to up the ante as the Bordeaux mix helped but didn't quite do all I hoped.)

White clover, (Nitrogen fixing) has been established in 50% of the rows and, God willing, will be started in all rows by the end of the season.

All the old trellis wires have been replaced.

The old mulch is being removed as more clover is added.

Last year 30 new srouts from our "wild grape" stock were transplanted with about half of them surviving the process. These are in addition to a new row of Niagara grapes that we added two years ago. (These have their own new trellis in construction.) Two new sprouts of Carco Red have also been started. They will not be ready until next season.

To round out my vineyard work I have been teaching courses in wine biology and chemistry at Benedictine University (7 years now). It was planned that I teach a course in Industrial Ecology and "Quantum Mechanics for Non-Science Majors". Ha! Ha! Seems like the harder courses are not of enough interest to get enough students for a class. Okay, I'll just stick with wine.

For any interested we now have a facebook page at: Abbey Wine! Please visit us there!

If you are interested in the monastic lifestyle and might even like spending a weekend staying with the monks and getting a feel for their life please vist the abbey's web site. I was priveleged to have several of the novices work with me in the vineyard. It was fascinating to learn how they ended up here called by God.

During this process of becoming a part of this Benedictine heritage I took my vows as a Benedictine Oblate of St. Procopius Abbey on Sunday, November 14th, 2010 and am still an Oblate in good standing! :-) If you might be interested in Oblate life please visit the Oblate web page.

Two Views of Marriage: And a plea for prayer.

Conjugal View: Marriage is the union of a man and a woman who make a permanent and exclusive commitment to each other of the type that is naturally (inherently) fulfilled by bearing and rearing children together. The spouses seal (consummate) and renew their union by conjugal acts—acts that constitute the behavioral part of the process of reproduction, thus uniting them as a reproductive unit. Marriage is valuable in itself, but its inherent orientation to the bearing and rearing of children contributes to its distinctive structure, including norms of monogamy and fidelity. This link to the welfare of children also helps explain why marriage is important to the common good and why the state should recognize and regulate it.

Revisionist View: Marriage is the union of two people (whether of the same sex or of opposite sexes) who commit to romantically loving and caring for each other and to sharing the burdens and benefits of domestic life. It is essentially a union of hearts and minds, enhanced by whatever forms of sexual intimacy both partners find agreeable. The state should recognize and regulate marriage because it has an interest in stable romantic partnerships and in the concrete needs of spouses and any children they may choose to rear.

I support the conjugal view.

For those of you who perhaps haven't been paying attention our legal vision of marriage has been changed by a majority of one vote on the Suporeme Court.

Long before the court vote the hatred and vitriol towrds those who supported the conjugal view became very apparent. And now the persecution of those who hold the conjugal view is in progress in the name of tolerance.

So I ask for prayers: For mercy on those who use the terms "hater" and "bigot" in their attackes on those who point out the obvious biology of human sexual relations. And for God's forgiveness on all of us who let this happen. Come on! Say a prayer for mercy and forgiveness! Even if you don't agree with me pray! And let God sort it out.

Last Updated 01/22/17
Send questions/mail to greg at munie.org