Benedictine monks typically take their meals each day in silence. At Christ in the Desert we do likewise, but at the midday meal we listen to a brother reading first a portion of Scripture, then from a book selected by the Abbot or recommended to him by one of the monks.

At the end of the meal we listen to a portion of the Rule of Saint Benedict, then from the Lives of the Saints who will be remembered the next day in the liturgy.

At table we are currently listening to an enjoyable book called, “Fleeing Herod: A Journey Through Coptic Egypt with the Holy Family,” by James Cowan and published by Paraclete Press.

Scripture tells us that the Holy Family, that is, Jesus, Mary and Joseph, fled for a time to Egypt, to avoid persecution at the hands of the tyrant King Herod.

The holy image below, painted on a piece of Egypyian papyrus, is of the Holy Family and hangs in our corridor on the way to church. It is a reminder of the challenges and often tragedies of displaced and immigrant peoples.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, displaced from your homeland, the Holy Family of Nazareth, pray for all displaced and immigrant peoples.

Abbot Christian and the monks