Abbot's Notebook

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Monastery of Christ in the Desert Video Project: Our Wool

Abbot Christian discuses the wool produced from our flock of Navajo Churro sheep. The fourth installment of our video series. It is sent with our love and prayers for all our family, friends and benefactors. Our spun wool is not yet for sale, but we hope to make it so...

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Video Series Coming Soon

Dear Friends, I plan to launch in the coming week or two a video series from here at the Monastery. Not wishing to risk the possibility of putting viewers to sleep with well-intended pious platitudes, I will be creating hopefully informative and relaxing videos...

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If You Are Still Feeling Cooped Up

Dear Friends in Christ, If you are feeling cooped up, which is completely understandable, you may still be looking for things to do at home. I recently saw an article about creating really unattractive flower vases from discarded paper cartons and the plastic...

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Abbot’s Notebook for June 10

I have been remiss in posting a new Notebook page. I confess I have been more interested of late with my “Quote for the Day” and accompanying photograph on our News Page. I hope you are enjoying those daily postings. As a photographer and avid reader, I have been...

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Abbot’s Notebook for May 22nd, 2020

Friends have asked how we are doing at the Monastery. Happily, I can report that we are well, thanks be to God, and carrying on with our regular life and duties in this beautiful Chama canyon setting. We monks range in age from 23 to 93 (I am 67!), so we have to be...

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The Nature of Vocation

When I was growing up in the middle of the last century, attending Catholic Grade school in Portland, Oregon, I recall thinking that a “vocation,” was something one “got” or “had,” and specifically to the priesthood or religious life, to be a Catholic priest, brother...

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A Response to the COVID-19 Crisis: Part Two

These days our hearts and minds likely focus on many practical questions, such as: will I contract the novel coronavirus? What about my family and friends, will they be spared? How long will this pandemic last?  Will it decrease and then rise up again some months...

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A Response to the COVID-19 Crisis

Almost every day brothers in the community or those writing from outside the monastery ask about an adequate spiritual response to the COVID-19 pandemic. I have read various and sundry approaches to the question and one of the best I have found comes from Abbot...

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Love of Silence

Silence is considered an important monastic practice. Much ink has been spilled on the topic, including entire books, but is silence something just for monks to value? By no means! Into every life some silence should fall. Why? Because we are rational creatures, who...

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Further Monastic Musings

The monastic life requires a spirit of sacrifice at the beginning, but really throughout the entire journey to God. What is sacrifice? At its root are the words: “to make holy.” In ancient pagan practice, sacrifice meant offering incense, food, possessions, animals,...

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Ash Wednesday

Scripture Readings: Book of the Prophet Joel 2:12-18; Second Corinthians 5:20-6:2; Gospel According to Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18. The readings for Mass today set the tone for the entire season of Lent which we now begin. Keep in mind the word “Lent” comes from the same...

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Contemplative Community

At Christ in the Desert we live our monastic life in community. There are times and places for solitude and privacy during each day, but much of what we do, be it prayer in church, our work, indoors or outdoors, meals in the refectory and recreation some days, we do...

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Feast of Saint Scholastica, February 10, 2020

Gospel: Luke 10:38-42 Brothers and Sisters in Christ, The familiar and famous words of Jesus to Martha, sister of Mary and Lazarus of Bethany, deserve special attention on this day, the Feast of Saint Scholastica, sister of Saint Benedict, and the day on which our...

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More Monastic Musings

Here I would like to write something about what Thomas Merton calls “monastic renunciation.” This theme is presented in Merton’s 1964 monastic brochure written for the Trappist monks of Snowmass, Colorado. The brochure is called “Come to the Mountain,” and is...

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Monastic Musings

I have been rereading a publication from 1964, the year that the Monastery of Christ in the Desert was founded. The booklet, or really an expanded vocational brochure, is called, “Come to the Mountain.” The text is by the famous Trappist monk and author, Thomas Merton...

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"Let everyone that comes be received as Christ."

— The Rule of St. Benedict

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