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Blessings to you! Home, sweet home! It is always such a joy to be able to write to you from my own desktop computer in my own office here in my own monastery. Probably, if I were a better monk, I would say: on our own computer in our own office in our own monastery. Monks have nothing of their own! Or I could say that I am writing to you on the computer I normally use, in the office that I normally use in the monastery where my vows are! Enough! It is a joke. But I am home at Christ in the Desert.

Brother Claude went to visit his mother in the Democratic Republic of Congo. His mother is dying and so this was a way to say good-bye. Please pray for Brother Claude and for his mother and all of his family.

One of our brothers is going through an evaluation to see whether he will be able to donate a kidney to someone whose need is great at this time. Please pray for both the one who needs a kidney and that a good donor will be found--perhaps one of our brothers.

We voted to accept our Brother John Baptist Dziko to make his first vows. He came to us from Malawi. The community and I have been in contact with the Poor Clares in Malawi for many years. About three years ago they asked us to consider receiving a young man from Malawi because they were convinced that he had an authentic vocation to our type of life. So Blessings Dziko came to us and will now make his vows. God's ways are mystery.

My time in Costa Rica was very enriching for me. I spent almost the whole time with the monastic community of San José there. This is the new community that is just beginning. One day, however, we had an outing and went to a volcano! It was a good experience and did not explode while we were there! It was raining so hard when we reached the peak that we could see nothing, so we prayed to Saint Clare, asking her to make it clear! And so it happened, for just enough time for us to walk around the top of the volcano, see the crater, and return to our car. Then it began raining heavily again. A small miracle for a good day.

The best experience for me in Costa Rica was to see the support that the local bishop gives to this new monastic community. That is a wonderful gift for them and will help the community develop in peace.

One of the aspects of my life is that often I cannot keep any kind of regular schedule. For sure, I keep the external schedule in the monastery when I am home, but even within that schedule, there are aspects that simply do not work for me. I love to have a short nap after Vigils, but often that is impossible because of something that must be done at that time.

After Holy Mass I like to be quiet and still but that is not always possible when brothers come to knock at my door. After Terce I try to go for a walk, but sometimes there are other appointments that get in the way. I like to try to get my regular work (answering letters, mostly, but sometimes working on music for the community) done so that I can have a nap after lunch. That time after lunch should be sacred for all monks, but there are still times when it must be give up for the sake of seeing someone. And so my days go by.

I often think of myself as one who works to have a regular order in his life, but who most often must respond to the exigencies of whatever is happening. When my trips are also added into this mix, it is easy to see why all I can do is work towards order in my life. There is always a basic order but it never is able to be lived for long periods of time. Sometimes I long for a type of work where I could clock in and clock out and no one could bother me afterwards.

Each of us has his or her own life. Most of us have some order in our lives. Many live as I do: seeking order and sometimes finding it.

Why order? Because with order we are able to focus our inner energies toward prayer and towards that deep relationship with God that is at the heart of any Christian life. The ultimate order, of course, is simply to live in God and to do all for God. For most of us, that requires an inner effort, both of mind and of will. In order to focus ourselves, daily order can be helpful. There are people who are completely ordered externally with no thought of God. Thus order is not a guarantee to think of God and to live for God alone. But it can help.

For myself, when I let myself long for the Lord, I find that I want to put more order in my life so that I can give more time and attention to Him. At other times, I find myself so caught up just in surviving and getting things done that I let my longing for the Lord simmer and almost become extinct, even though I seem almost always aware of His presence.

So for me, both order and longing for the Lord are elements that help me stay on the path of the Lord. There are wonderful moments on the path and there are times when it is just difficult to keep walking. That is a normal part of my life. I rejoice when things are going well and I struggle when they are not. I continue to seek to put order in my life, not matter how often it eludes me. Most of all, I try to allow my heart to long for Him who is the only meaning of my life.

I send you my love and prayers as always. I will celebrate Holy Mass for you once this week and ask for the Lord to hear all of your needs and intentions. Please continue to pray for me and for all of the women and men associated with our monasteries.


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