Our monastery continues under lockdown and thankfully we monks remain covid-19 free. We leave our property only for necessary reasons, such as the weekly shopping trip for groceries and some medical appointments. The only outsiders who enter our property are those making propane deliveries every few weeks and occasional maintenance-related workers.

With ages ranging from 23 to 93, we exercise social distancing in church for our daily round of the Divine Office (the Liturgy of the Hours) and Conventual Mass, as well as in the refectory where we take our meals in common and at other community gatherings.

“These are times that try men’s souls,” wrote the 18th century Enlightenment philosopher Thomas Paine. Probably every age has reason to quote that phrase, and certainly that is the case today. But as Christians and Catholics we look to the “bigger picture,” namely, God at work in human lives and never abandoning us. That takes faith, for sure, but something we hang on to for dear life, and in the process, strive “never to despair of God’s mercy,” as our founder Saint Bendict of Nursia exhorted his monks to do.

We keep our families, friends, benefactors and those associated in any way with our Monastery of Christ in the Desert in our hearts and prayers.

We also rely on the prayers and good example of faith, hope and love of those who care and support us in the present world crisis.

We all look for light at the end of the tunnel. May the possibily of a vaccine against covid-19 continue to be near on the horizon. May those developing and distributing the vaccine be given the needed support and God’s help.

O God, come to our assistance, O Lord, make haste to help us!