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Blessings to you! It has been a week with much activity here at the Monastery. Subprior Benedict and Brother Luke Marķa went to Roswell to visit the Poor Clares and then on to Las Cruces to visit the Carmelites. Subprior Benedict helps in these areas with immigration advice, also for the Diocese of Las Cruces. This is one way in which we can help the local Churches and yet keep our own sense of staying in the Monastery within the cloister.

Prior Christian went to Colorado to a horse auction. Prior Christian loves horses and hardly ever goes to anything like this, but it was a good experience. He was away only three days.

Brother Dominic has gone to visit his family in India and I will join him there in early May for a short visit. I often accompany the newly professed to visit their families after their first vows so that the family will know at least the abbot of the community where their son is. Our brothers from other countries are a gift to us and their family rarely are able to visit here, so I go there at least once.

Father Fabian and Brother John Mary from the Carmelite Hermits in Christoval, Texas, came to visit our community. We have known them for many years and even before they were able to become established. Always one of the joys of our community is in helping other communities.

This week I also began to experience a pain in one of my teeth and realized that I needed to get that attended to before any more travel. There is nothing worse than being on a trip away from home and having to endure problems with my teeth while I am trying to do other things. Usually I put things like this off to the very last moment, but this time I caught it before it could attack me while I was traveling!

Also, to head out to India, I always have to see a medical doctor who specializes in tropical medicine and get the prescriptions that I will need for traveling. Sometimes it is malaria medicine, other times it is boosting my tetanus or typhoid or yellow fever protection. Travel means also being prudent and taking care that I don't get sick while traveling.

Then earlier this week my cell phone quit working! It has been threatening this for a long time and I have been thinking about getting a new one, but this experience confirmed that I must do it sooner than later. The screen was just black, so I turned it off and then on again and a screen I had never seen before appeared and then everything stopped once again. I am from the old fashioned way of dealing with electronics and so I hit the phone a couple of times and tapped it roughly and then turned it off and on again and now it is working once more. But....

Spirituality is about finding God in the everyday life that each of us live. For me, personally, it is about maintaining peace and tranquility in every situation so that I have the freedom to see what God might be asking of me. I don't manage to live my spirituality that well all the time. Instead, I find myself less patient and more irascible as I get older and have to struggle against that tendency in order to listen to God instead of just to my own reactions.

Sometimes I tell God: you could have made it a little easier for me! There are days when everything seems to go along fine and I am able to get my work done and able to maintain an inner balance and equilibrium. On other days, however, I find that one thing after another comes along and I don't get any of the work done that I was supposed to do. Rather, I seem to be losing time without even being aware that the time is passing. I find myself frustrated and grumpy and simply trying to get something done, but often get nothing done. It is not as though I really get nothing done, it is just that I don't get done what I had planned or what I needed to get done on a particular day. Instead, all of the interruptions become my experience of God.

Because I tend towards being obsessive compulsive about keeping up with all the things that I have committed myself to, I begin to feel an inner frustration when I cannot do that. Today, for instance, I was able to sweep my floor! I like to keep my room and my office clean. That means sweeping the floor, dusting now and then, caring for the furniture that is present, cleaning the bathroom, getting my clothes and bedding washed at least occasionally (!) and in general being a housekeeper. Brothers don't come and do those things for me, except for the laundry.

So imagine me at times with total frustration when my room is no longer clean, when all kinds of requests are being made to me that do not allow me to finish the work that I have to do, when brothers come to me upset about something or other (usually not about me, but sometimes even that), and in the midst of all of this: spirituality! Learning to be at peace and aware of God's presence at all times--that is the secret and it is clear to me and I don't always do it.

One of the joys of the Resurrection of Christ is that He loves me as a sinner, as a human with all of my defects, both sinful and non-sinful. He loves me and always invites me to share His life--no matter how often or how frequently I fail. This is always His promise to me: I love you forever.

When I was young, I was not sure that I could believe that. It seemed way too easy. On the other hand, as I have lived through these years until now, I find that it is true and that it is not easy at all! When I did not believe in God's love, I could simply not do things and think to myself that it does not matter in any case. Now, I always know that I am not one who responds with his whole heart to God, but I do seek to respond and He loves me just as I am. I am not perfect. I am not a saint. I am lazy. I am attracted by things that pull me away from God and sometimes I give in. I find it difficult to be consistent, to be still, to be peaceful and to be loving. And He loves me and invites me.

The confidence in His love has kept me on a path of seeking Him, no matter how poorly I do it. So praise God with me in this time of Easter. Christ is risen. Christ loves us. Christ desires us. Amen. Alleluia.

I will offer Holy Mass this week for you and for your needs and intentions. Please remember to pray for me and for the sisters and brothers of our communities. I send you my love and prayers.


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