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About Us > Abbot's and Prior's Pages > Abbot's Notebook

2014-09-10

Blessings to you! Here I am, sitting in front of my own desktop computer in my own office in my own monastery! What a delight! It won't last for long. It never does. But it brings me great joy to be home and to relate with my own community and to live the monastic life here at Christ in the Desert.

This last weekend Prior Christian, Brother Benedict H and Brother Philip went to Albuquerque to the Parish of Saint John XXIII to sell items from our gift shop. This is one of the ways that we support ourselves and it is usually very helpful to us. On the other hand, it takes brothers away from our monastic life on the weekends and that is less desirable. We really miss Prior Christian when he is away and so we have decided to terminate this way of making money. There are still a few more trips out that have been scheduled for a long time and then, we don't be doing this any longer.

Last Friday we had a friend making party in Santa Fe. Melanie and Eddie Thorne did all of the work and we had to show up and be pleasant. Six of us went to this party and we sang Gregorian Chant and explained our life to many people who had heard of us but had never had contact with us before. Again, this is a type of presence that we do not often do. Over the years we have had many concerts of Gregorian Chant and they are always a success. This was less than a concert but more than we ordinarily do!

Father Pio Legaré left on September 8th for Mexico. He will be at our community of La Soledad for the next 6 months or so before he has to return here in order to renew his visa. I am praying that La Soledad may be a wonderful place for him. If it is, he may well transfer his vows there. This would give a second priest to that community and could be an enormous blessing--bot for La Soledad and for Father Pio.

Brother Claude left for Lubumbashi, Congo, this morning. His mother is close to death and so he will go to say good-bye to her. For the moment, the Ebola virus outbreak is not in that area! Please pray for Brother Claude and for his mother and for his family.

One of the greatest challenges for me at this time in my life is to maintain an inner peace and tranquility, no matter what happens around me. When I was younger, I seemed at times to have an incredible capacity and gift of peace and tranquility. Now that I am older, I have to struggle to maintain such peace and tranquility and it is truly a struggle at times.

The spiritual life is sometimes called spiritual warfare. Although there are times when I think that warfare is too strong a term, there are other times when I think that it is completely appropriate! How often I remind my brothers, and myself, that the struggle to be faithful to God goes on until the very end of our life. We often can have periods when the struggle is less intense, but still a struggle. It is when the struggle is intense that we learn to rely only on God's love and grace in our lives.

In order for me to stay alert in the spiritual warfare, I find that I must work each day to keep a balanced schedule--and yet not become rigid about it. That is a balancing act! If I don't get enough sleep, then I have to take a nap somewhere along the line. For sure, if I don't manage to keep a balance, I don't necessarily fall into sin immediately. On the other hand, I know from the experience of enough years now that if I am not sufficiently rested on a regular basis, I am likely to make some unwise choices in my life.

A second element, for me, in staying alert, is to make sure that I spend time every day in personal prayer. Because I am a monk, I am praying many hours each day. Personal prayer is a time when I can simply be alone with God and have no set form about how I will spend that time. Sometimes, when I am just in His presence, I find that I fall asleep. If that happens and I wake up, then I usually begin to invoke the Holy Name of Jesus. Sometimes I go asleep again invoking His Holy Name. If I wake up again, then I have to stand--then I don't go to sleep!!

If I do not spend time in personal prayer, my inner commitment to God and my relationship with God begin to lessen and I am less strong in resisting bad decisions in my life.

Why do I want to stay alert? Just to keep some theoretical balance? No, it is because I came to the Monastery looking for the Lord and know that there are ways that help me remain faithful to Him and to the immense love that He has for me. If I want to share that love with others, I have first to remain faithful to Him. Even though I am not faithful to Him consistently, I keep trying. And that is what I mean by trying to stay alert.

Honestly it always comes down to a personal relationship with Jesus as my Lord. I have never had any deep mystic experiences or any sudden unexplainable encounters with the Lord. On the other hand, over the years my faithful has continued to grow and I am aware of the light touches of the presence of Jesus in my daily life and an occasion awareness of something more profound.

As always I promise my prayers for you and for your needs and intentions. I will celebrate Holy Mass this week for you. Please remember to pray for me and for all of our communities. I send you my love and prayers.

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