Monastery News

If you would like to make sure you are kept up-to-date with our news, we encourage you to sign up for our newsletter.

July 9th: Taking Flight

As presumably millions of people worldwide take to the skies for Summer holidays this month and next, in this quiet corner of Mother Earth, a little fledgling learns to fly, as illustrated into today’s photo.
Every Spring and Summer robins nest and raise offspring in our cloister garden. It’s a perfect place to prepare to meet the perils that may arise once a bird matures and takes off into the vast beyond.
We are currently having daytime temperatures in the mid to high 80s. It’s nothing compared with other parts of the country, experiencing triple-digit temperatures. Humidity levels for us are very low also. We are grateful, and praying for a good monsoon season, which usually occurs in July and August. Our nighttime and morning temperatures are in the mid-50s.
Forest Service Road 151 leading to the Monastery remains dry and passable. The only caution is to watch out for other vehicles also traversing the road. Oftentimes a driver imagines that he or she is the only one on the road. Most often, that is not the case.
A blessed week ahead to all.
Abbot Christian and the monks

July 8th: Summer Lilies

Each year at Easter we have a couple dozen potted Easter lilies decorating our church. Their fragrance and beauty add to the the joy and glory of the season of the Lord’s Resurrection as Spring returns.
The Easter lilies in church last for weeks, being hardy flowers, but as the flowers fade, we plant the bulbs in our cloister garden. This year’s lilies should be blossoming again within a month or so. They will be used in church again, as cut flowers this time around, and they last very well in water.
In the meantime, numerous daylilies (also called Tiger Lilies, presumably because of their tiger-orange color), are now blooming in the cloister garden. While not ideal for arrangements in church, since they close up rather quickly and don’t reopen well, they do fine remaining in the ground, and offer a pleasant sight to enjoy as we monks go to and come from church and refectory during the day.
We keep you in our prayers, especially at the sung Conventual Mass each morning and at the Divine Office throughout the day, from Vigils at 4:00 am to Compline at 7:15 pm.
Please keep us in your prayers. Thank you.
May we all, where we are planted, “blossom like the lily” described in the Book of the Prophet Hosea (chapter 14, verse 5)!
Abbot Christian and the monks

July 4th: Summer Cactus

True to form, Cholla cactus are blooming in the Chama Canyon wilderness. This magenta display always takes place on the first days of Summer, and normally between the Solemnity of the Birth of Saint John the Baptist, on June 24th, and the Solemnity of Saint Benedict on July 11th.
This year the cactus are especially splendid because of good rains in weeks past. If anyone lives in the area or is traveling in these parts, a trip down Forest Service Road 151 leading to the Monastery is well worth the effort at this time.
May God bless and keep safe all travelers by land, sea or air during these often hectic, hot, but also hopefully refreshing days of Summer. Take the pause that refreshes!
Be assured of our prayers.
Abbot Christian and the monks

June 27th: Summer Solemnities

Each Summer we are invited by the Church to commemorate in a special way a goodly number of saints.
On June 24th, just as Summer dawns, we celebrate the Nativity (birth) of Saint John the Baptist, “the last of the prophets,” as he is often called. That day is also the founding anniversary of our Monastery of Christ in the Desert, which took place on June 24th, 1964. We are now 59 years old!
On June 29th, the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul occurs, the two great “pillars of faith” in Jesus Christ.
On July 11th we rejoice in remembering our Holy Father Saint Benedict, called the “Father of Western Monasticism,” because of his influential “Rule for Monasteries,” written in the mid sixth century, and still being followed by Benedictine monks and nuns around the world.
Of course, also in the Summer months is United States Independence Day, on July 4th, which we also keep as a special day of celebration.
We wish all of our families and friends a blessed and joyful Summer. We keep you in our prayers and are grateful for yours.
Abbot Christian and the monks

Summer Newsletter 2023


A talented UK-based band, called “Sadie and the Hotheads,” comprised of not so-young musicians, released the single, “Everybody’s Got a Song (To Sing)” in 2014. The song’s fairly simple tune and message is that everyone has a story, analogous to a song, to sing about in some fashion or other, and no one is excluded from that reality. In other words, everyone, young and old and in between, has a story, a vocation

Vocation, the theme of this Summer Newsletter, comes from the Latin word vocatio, literally, “a calling” or “being called.” In ages past, the word “vocation” was often and even exclusively thought of by Catholics as the call to priesthood or religious life. He or she “has a vocation,” we used to say.

Priesthood and religious life are indeed “vocations,” that is, calls from God, but all people, we believe, have a call from God. I say this because if we believe in a personal God, then we must also believe that God cares for each of us, has called us unto being, and personally invites everyone to a relationship and specific way of life. The Old Testament Book of Deuteronomy says it well: “You are called by the name of the Lord” (chapter 28, verse 10).

It may not always be evident or easy to discern or discover precisely the call of God for our personal lives, but the choices we make, when they are moral, legal, free and genuine, shape the response to what God is calling us to, whether it be in the single state of life, the married state, the religious life or priesthood.

Clearly too we can say that one’s vocation may change over the course of one’s life, for various and sundry reasons. And there is no cause for shame in that. As times marches on, realities occur that demand a change of direction or commitment, and that is part of the beauty of God’s call, and it can often lead us to places we never thought we would go! Being open and at the same time committed are important operative words.

Looking at Sacred Scripture, the Bible, for clues about God’s call and one’s vocation, there are a number of references. One of my favorites is what God tells the prophet Jeremiah, words that are applicable to each of us as well: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you” (Jeremiah 1:5). God may not be calling us to be prophets on the scale of a Jeremiah, but God has known us for eternity and has not abandoned us.

Another prophet, Isaiah, heard this from the Lord: “I have called you by name. You are mine” (Isaiah 43:1). Again, this is a clear “vocation,” intended for God’s people in ages past, but they are words intended for us as well. No one is excluded from the love of God and the call of God to greatness. And greatness comes not by the number of cars we own or the size of our bank account, but in knowing, loving and serving God and neighbor, every day of our life.

The final Scripture quote I have is from the Book of Psalms, often called the “Prayer Book of Jews and Christians” and certainly the prayer book of monks. We monks chant the entire 150 Psalms each week in choir, and the words are very familiar to us, sometimes so much so that they glide right over us, and we don’t concentrate on their full meaning. Nevertheless, here is a phrase that is dear to me and hopefully of help in this little reflection on the topic of vocation. “Commit your life to the Lord, trust in him and he will act” (Psalm 37:5).

While the call from God is first of all God’s, especially since it was made even before we were born, God awaits our reply by a life on fie for the things of God, which again boils down to how we love God and neighbor.

As you read the pieces contained in this Newsletter, I hope the question of your personal call from God, your vocation, will come to mind. How best to cultivate and make the most of one’s call? What do I need to change and how to do it best might also be worth pondering, keeping in mind that God continues to walk with us, even when we stray, and is calling us in our vocation, always and everywhere.

Our founder and first Prior, Father Aelred Wall (who lived from 1917-1984), wrote a piece in 1970, six years after founding Christ in the Desert, called “The Monk’s Vocation.” It is worth quoting in part here, words from over half a century ago, which still ring true.

“Today the witness of the life of contemplation is more than ever necessary, not as a luxury for a few but as a point of hope for all. For the contemplative shares the world’s sorrows, is part of its destiny. His prayer, his work, his simplicity of life, are for the sake of all, affirming the following of Christ in the desert, on the mountainside alone. It is not a life for everyone. There are other vocations, other responsibilities: wounds to be healed, wars to be ended, cities to be made fit for men’s habitation. But the contemplative speaks from his silence of a dimension the world forgets. We must learn to listen.”

Abbot Christian Leisy, OSB

Profession of Solemn Vows: Brother Chrysostom

On Saturday, March 25th, the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, our Brother Chrysostom pronounced his solemn vows of obedience, stability and conversion of life, as a monk of Christ in the Desert. This he did during Mass in our church in the presence of Abbot Christian and the monks of this monastery. He also received the Solemn Consecration of a monk.

Some sixty relatives and friends of Brother Chrysostom and the monastery joined us for the profession Mass and afterwards enjoyed a festive and delicious meal, catered by “Whole Hog Caterers” of Santa Fe. The meal was accompanied by lively exchange and even a singalong!

Hailing from Chicago, Brother Chrysostom has found his permanent niche in the midst of desert beauty as a contemplative monk in the Chama Canyon wilderness. He serves our community in a number of capacities, including as Guestmaster and Director of Development.

Ad multos annos, Frater Chrysostom

Renewal of Vows Temporary Vows: Father Zachary

On March 20th this year, in the presence of Abbot Christian and the monastic community of Christ in the Desert, our Father Zachary renewed his temporary vows for another year. Father Zachary is our Kitchen Manager, coordinating menus and purchases, as well as regularly cooking fie meals.

Father Zachary is also the coordinator of care for our elderly brethren, especially Father Bernard, who is now almost ninety-two years old, and who needs round-the-clock care. And if that were not enough(!), Father Zachary is a fine homilist and is a member of the “schola,” that is, the group of monks who lead us in the chanting at daily Mass. He helps us “sing the Mass,” not merely, “sing at Mass.”

Ad multos annos, Pater Zachary

Renewal of Vows Temporary Vows: Father Seraphim

On the evening of February 9th, our Father Seraphim renewed for one year his temporary monastic vows of obedience, stability and conversion of life. He did this in the presence of the Abbot and community of Christ in the Desert.

Father Seraphim is our main organist at the daily Conventual Mass and Divine Offie, as well as principal horse wrangler (at present we have four horses for pleasure riding and work). In addition, Father Seraphim makes fine soaps, lotions, lip balm, candles, cologne and perfume, products that we sell in our Giftshop here at the monastery.

Like Father Seraphim, a number of our monks wear several hats, which greatly helps in keeping the monastery running (at least relatively!) smoothly. The varied work assignments, both indoor and outdoor, seem to suit most individuals well.

The Feast of Saint Scholastica, the sister of Saint Benedict, is February 10th, which coincides with the date of Father Seraphim’s fist profession of vows in 2020.

Ad multos annos, Pater Seraphim.

Abbots’ Meeting

Church of Saint Bernard Abbey

From February 3rd to 6th, Abbot Christian attended the annual meeting of North American Benedictine abbots, held this year at Saint Bernard Abbey, Cullman, Alabama. There were twenty-fie abbots present, coming from the United States, Mexico and Canada.

The topic of the two full days of lectures was “The Care of the Sick,” which is a special concern of Saint Benedict in his Rule for Monasteries, being the subject of chapter 36 of the Holy Rule.

At the same time the abbots met, about forty North American Benedictine Prioresses from the USA, Canada and Mexico gathered at Sacred Heart Monastery, a couple of miles from Saint Bernard Abbey.

The joint lectures, attended by abbots and prioresses on Saturday and Sunday and held at Saint Bernard Abbey, were given on Saturday by Br John Mark Falkenhain, OSB, of Saint Meinrad Archabbey in Indiana. He spoke on the topic of understanding mental health concerns and the discernment of candidates.

On Sunday the lectures were given by a panel from Mount Saint Scholastica Monastery, Atchison, Kansas, and consisted of Prioress Esther Fangman, OSB, and two health care providers from Saint Scholastica’s, Renee Porter and Stacey Handke. They spoke on the various needs and challenges of caring for elder members in our monasteries, including dementia, the dying process and the covid crisis.

All the abbots and prioresses attended Mass at Saint Bernard Abbey on Saturday and Sunday, and had some meals in common. On Sunday evening all attended Vespers and supper at Sacred Heart Monastery

In addition to the valuable lectures given, the opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences with other leaders of Benedictine monasteries was a positive addition to the meeting in Alabama.

Short Fiction

By Brother Chrysostom

The sound of the bell shattered the silence of Brother Cupertino’s cell. As a novice monk he learned that the bell was vox Dei, the voice of God. It was cold in the early morning. He slowly stirred under his wool blanket and bed sheets. His eyes remained closed, but his ears were open, full of the thudding of the clapper against the sound bow. The creaking of the wheel and headstock created by Brother Anthony’s less than smooth pulling of the rope through the ground pulley reverberated within the stonewalls.

Get up now, immediately, or you will miss Vigils, Brother Cupertino thought. He had arrived after the end of the opening antiphon for Vigils each morning this week. He would enter the church, bow quickly, not entirely reverently, before proceeding with haste to his choir stall. He would scramble for his psalter and join the chanting choir on his side in the third or fourth couplet of Psalm 3. The bowed head—usually bent at a seemingly uncomfortable angle—of his junior master, Fr. Pio, in the opposite choir on the other side of the altar, would rise when Father Pio fially looked up from his psalter. A stern glance from him dependably elicited a despairing sigh from Brother Cupertino.

This is such an easy commute, he thought. It was so different from the 30-minute bus ride to the Dan Ryan L-train that would take him to the mall at 87th Street for his job at Home Depot. He did not have to rise as early, but he had to travel farther, through snow and rain sometimes. Did he prefer that slog to the 50-yard distance his sandaled feet walked to Vigils to arrive on time?

The bell sounded again after a brief reprieve. Brother Cupertino now sat up in bed. He rubbed his head. He swiveled in bed and found his sandals in the same placehe left them last night. His bare feet avoided the cold stone flor. In the dark he found the light switch to a lamp, this time without knocking it over in the dark. Shirley always thought he was clumsy, even before he tripped over a box of 3-way light bulbs in the lighting section her section of Home Depot, to announce that he was entering a monastery. He missed her smile and her goofy laugh sometimes. He wondered if she missed him. They could have been sweethearts over time, he thought

Brother Cupertino made up his bed and walked to the opposite wall of his cell. His belt, scapular, and tunic hung on a hook. He bunched the tunic up and slipped it over his head. The tunic unfurled over his t-shirt and short pants like a protective tarp. Next he reached for his leather belt and fastened it around his waist. The scapular was last. He pushed his French-crop hair through the opening and reached behind his back to pull down the point of his hood. Even in his full tunic he was feeling a bit cold. Whatever happened to his favorite crew cut sweaters, he pondered. Where are those comfortable Timberland boots he used to own that used to keep his feet so warm in winter?

He tousled his blonde hair with his fingers. If he took the time to actually comb his hair, he would risk being late again for Vigils. He winced at the thought of another kneeling in the middle of the community of monks in the Chapter room that evening. He could hear himself repeat the same fault, “Mea culpa. I came late to Vigils this morning.”

A third bell, this time in the church bell tower, indicated to him that if he did not exit his cell soon he was going to be late. Before the monastery, he had found it easier to rise from bed, especially knowing that he could buy a breakfast special ($1.99!) at the Market House near his bus stop before the 79th Street bus rolled up. Those eggs over easy, sausage, toast, and hash browns had a special allure. His belly rumbled. He had not eaten since early evening yesterday.

A swish of Listerine would suffice until he returned to his cell to brush his teeth properly. He passed swiftly through his door and saw in the corridor the backs of some of the older monks as they slowly made their way to Vigils. Some bent over their canes as they processed down the corridors to the church. Others were being wheeled in wheelchairs to their places. Brother Cupertino remembered the joy of his brisk morning walks to the bus stop in the Chicago spring and fall. The morning air would awaken him and lift his spirit.

Brother Cupertino arrived at the threshold of the church behind the Tabernacle. More than fifty monks were in their stalls, some standing, others sitting or kneeling. The silence was affirming to him. It welcomed him and embraced him. A bean gravy stain on his scapular caught his eye in the bright lights of the church. He dry-washed it out by doubling the scapular in the spot of the stain and rubbing furiously. His tunic was special to him. It was a uniform of sorts. Years ago he favored another uniform when he thought his vocation was football. In a flash his mind pivoted to the Chicago Bears. For a moment he could empathize with the emotional, almost spiritual, event of Walter Payton’s last football game in Soldiers Field. Reporters in the locker room watched awestruck as Payton began taking off that “34” uniform, almost ceremoniously.

Despite all that Brother Cupertino missed from his former life, he felt comfortable in choir before dawn. This was his Soldier Field. The hint of sleep deprivation did not deflate his spirits. He slid into his pew and opened his psalter to the day’s psalms. As his thighs and back rested on the back of the choir stall, and just before he was about to rest his forearms on the jutting sides, the cantor in a soft and clear voice sang: O Lord, open my lips / And my mouth shall proclaim your praise. Brother Cupertino smiled broadly. He made it on time today.

DOM LEANDER HOGG, O.S.B. 1926 ~ 2023

Our beloved Brother Leander Hogg peacefully passed from this life to the next on Tuesday night, March 28th. He died in his cell in our Infirmary and had been surrounded by monks, oblates and friends, praying at his bedside around the clock over the past several days. Brother Leander was 96 years old at the time of his death.

His Requiem Mass in our church and burial in our cemetery took place beginning at 11:00 am March 29th.

Born in England, George Hogg, as he was known “in the world,” served in the British military during World War II and later joined the Irish Christian Brothers. Later, he became a Benedictine, and spent time in monasteries in the United States, Peru, Costa Rica and Mexico.

Brother Leander was an excellent and dedicated teacher, who worked tirelessly for decades in the formation of candidates to the monastic life. He was Junior Master (guiding simply professed monks) at Christ in the Desert over many years and right up until his death.

Brother Leander never lost his posh British accent (“why should I?,” he would wryly ask), and was an exemplary and faithful servant of Christ. He was never late or missed the Divine Office or Mass, and was often pointed out as a model to monks many decades his junior, who might be late or absent from community prayer with no compelling reason. He would freely point out to such brothers the nature of their commitment and obligations, never alienating in doing so, but spot-on in his observations.

May the angels lead Brother Leander into Paradise and may perpetual light shine upon him. Please pray for that intention.


What is your name? Father Jeffrey Steele

How long have you been a Benedictine monk? I have been a monk for twenty-fie years. I have served as the full time Chaplain for the Monastery of Our Lady of the Desert in Blanco, New Mexico, as well as at St. Benedict Abbey, Subiaco Mission in Polokwane, South Africa.

What were some of your challenges as a monk at MCD during your time here? I have the challenge of recollection. I am the inveterate daydreamer. It takes effort to stay focused.

What changes have you witnessed during your time here at MCD? With fewer monks at present, those here now are far busier than I remembered. This has a good side to it.

Who is your favorite saint, and why? I don’t have a favorite saint but a devotion to Our Lady of Fatima


By Dan Schneider

“Wait,” a monk half-asked, half-scolded the three of us as we were leaving the monastery after our annual retreat, “you mean you guys aren’t oblates?” Incredulous, he handed fliers on the oblate life to the three of us before sending us on our way with, “Pray about it.” Although Greg, Gus and I had been going to Christ in the Desert for years, we never thought about becoming Benedictine Oblates. On the long drive back to Las Cruces, we asked ourselves the same question, namely, why not?

Sometimes vocation is as simple as someone bold enough to ask.

Before long, we returned to the monastery, anxious to begin our year of discernment, with final promises a year later. Then-Prior Christian gave us a copy of G.A. Simon’s Commentary for Benedictine Oblates. We learned that an oblate is not like a tertiary of other orders. We connect to the universal Church not just through the Order of St. Benedict, but through this monastery, a place that already feels like our home away from home.

We soon added a new oblate, then another. We have since grown to nine, all beginning with a simple invitation to another who seems to be seeking holiness and a connection to the larger Church. Together, we have learned to pray the Opus Dei, practice lectio divina, and glean ancient truths for the modern day from the wisdom of Holy Father Benedict. We meet monthly in our parish hall, beginning with Terce, before going through the Rule and Simon’s commentary, noting timeless applications of it for oblates in the world. We end each meeting in the main church with the rosary (in Latin these days, thanks to the prompting of two new oblates) and silent prayer. When the bells ring at the noon hour, we pray the Angelus, then finish with the Marian hymn of the season.

The call to the oblate life, in the end, is a call to conversion and, when done correctly, imbues each of our vocations with the wisdom of centuries of Benedictine monasticism. We continue to ask ourselves, in the words of St. Benedict: Amice,ad quid venisti? (RB 60).

June 14th: Peaceable Kingdom Continues

Matty the donkey, Gloria and the sheep, as well as our four dozen chickens, continue their tranquil lives in the midst of desert beauty.
Matty, who turns four this November, guards the sheep against marauding predators. The sheep provide us with wool for weaving and the chickens offer fresh eggs daily. As long as the animals get good pasture land for roaming and grazing, which we have, some supplemental grain and plenty of fresh water each day, there seems to be no complaints.
At present, four monks take care of the livestock. None of it is “full-time” work, but it does occupy some time and effort each day. The animals are housed near our living quarters and can easily be observed and checked on in the course of the day.
We are enjoying very pleasant weather at present. A bit of rain off and on waters the fields and keeps the temperatures in the 70s or low 80s No serious humidity is a welcome treat as well.
With warm regards and prayers for all of our families, friends and benefactors. For all those in the Northern Hemisphere, enjoy this late Spring and soon to be Summer.
Abbot Christian and the monks

June 9th: Intrepid Hiker

With umbrella and walking stick in hands, our Prior Bonaventure is shown on his recent hike to the top of the cliffs above our monastery.
This sort of hike is not for the faint of heart. It takes some hours to reach the crosses on the top of the cliffs, then a little less time to descend.
We always advise our hiking-brothers never to ascend the heights alone, but to go with others. Clearly that is the case in today’s photo, which is not a selfie! Hiking with others can also be a metaphor for the spiritual life, our drawing nearer to God, which we do in the company of others, not alone. No man is an island, as John Donne wrote long alone.
The beautiful weather we are experiencing just now provides a perfect opportunity to take some time to walk, hike or horseback ride in the midst of desert beauty.
May this weekend of Corpus Christi, the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of the Lord, fill us with the longing for the Bread of Life, which comes down from Heaven, to nourish our hearts and soul.
A blessed weekend to all, with assurance of our prayers. Keep us in your prayers, please. Thank you.
Abbot Christian and the monks

June 8th: All God’s Creatures

Our free range flock of chickens are often found roosting on the fence around their field, where they seem to be taking a “break” from their foraging in the course of the day.
Perhaps it’s a small reminder to find moments in our day for a “pause that refreshes,” a coca cola used to be advertised as offering. For Christians, that pause may mean taking time to pray the rosary or one of the Hours of the Divine Office or perhaps simply sitting and pondering  the goodness of God in our daily lives.
The recent rainfall here has been a welcome contrast to the very dry conditions of the past several years. Has the drought truly ended? We can at least hope it is moving in that direction.
As we return to Ordinary Time in the Liturgical Calendar, we also keep on successive Sundays the Solemnities of the Holy Trinity and the Body and Blood of the Lord (Corpus Christi) and the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the Friday after Corpus Christi. May these celebrations deepen our faith, hope and love.
Be assured of our prayers and please keep us in yours.
Abbot Christian and the monks

June 5th: Reaching New Heights

Today’s stunning photo was taken by Prior Bonaventure on Trinity Sunday (June 5th) during an afternoon hike far above the Monastery, on the cliffs behind and above our monastic church.
The photo is a view to the west of our property, showing the confluence of the Chama and Gallina Rivers, showing too how green the Chama Canyon wilderness is at present. It also underlines the grandeur of God in this high desert setting.
A few lines from the famous poem of the British Jesuit priest and poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, who lived from 1844 to 1889, is fitting here:
“The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
May the coming week find us more attentive to the beauty which surrounds us and to giving thanks to the Creator of all.
As we monks and guests repeat over and over in the course of each day:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Abbot Christian and the monks

June 4th: Monastery Morning Glories

Flowers are beginning to “take off” in our cloister garden, but we have some indoor flora as well. In some parts of the world morning glories are almost on a par with weeds, but in our high desert setting, they are welcome additions.
Some years ago Brother David placed a large tree branch in a pot and planted morning glories, which quickly tangled around the tree branch. Reseeded in the fall, the vines come up again each Spring and provide a pleasant sight as we go to and come from church and refectory many times each day. Today’s photo illustrates the point.
We are experiencing very pleasant weather these days, and the road leading to the Monastery, Forest Service Road 151, is dry. We try to keep the road conditions updated on our website for the benefit of those thinking of making the trek to our home.
May the month of June, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, be an enjoyable one for all taking vacations or Summer breaks during this month.
Be assured of our prayers and please keep us in yours. Thank you.
Abbot Christian and the monks

May 30th: Ordinary Time

The Easter season is now finished and we return to what the Church refers to as “Ordinary Time,” primarily meaning, we are not at present in the Church’s privileged seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent or Easter.

Of course, no time is completely “ordinary,” and in fact is always “extraordinary.” Why? Because all time is “God’s time,” given to us to grow in faith, hope and love, of God and neighbor.
Today’s photo captures a humorous plaque on a fence post on an abandoned piece of property in Chama, New Mexico. It’s a reminder that even if “nothing” apparently happens, we humans, created in God’s image and likeness, believe that God is at work in our lives.
As we move into the Summer season of breaks and vacations, may we thank God for the changing seasons and for the “infinity of little hours,” that go into making our lives “something beautiful for God”!
Abbot Christian and the monks

May 28th: Pentecost Sunday

We have now arrived at the final day of Eastertide of 2023, with the Solemnity of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured out after the Ascension into Heaven of Christ our Redeemer. Today is considered the “Birthday of the Church.”
For a fuller explanation of today’s feast, please visit the Homily Page of our website.
The predominant color of Pentecost is red, symbolizing the fire of Divine Love of the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity. The Mass vestments and altar linens are red on this day. We use red flowers as well to decorate the church.
For Christians and Catholics, the Sacrament of Confirmation is the special moment for receiving God’s Holy Spirit into our life. Of course, that dwelling of the Holy Spirit can and should be renewed throughout one’s life, especially by an active participation in the public and private worship of the Church.
May we taste and see the goodness of the  Lord in our lives each day, and especially in the reception of the Holy Eucharist (Communion) at least once a week,  and more often if possible.
Happy Pentecost Sunday!
Abbot Christian and the monks

May 27th: Let the Land and All it Bears Rejoice

The title of this posting, borrowed from Psalm 95(96), expresses well what we in the Northern Hemisphere are experiencing now with Spring in full swing.
Our cloister garden is at present bright with the blooming of various colored irises, and not far behind are the peonies. Many of the flowers with be used for decorating our monastic church over the coming days and weeks. As the irises and peonies fade, roses will be budding through the summer months.
With our prayers for the needs and intentions of our families, friends, benefactors and oblates,
Abbot Christian and the monks

May 25th: Feathered Friends

Our fine flock of some forty hens (and one rooster) are doing fine. They are currently producing around three dozen eggs per day, which monks and guests can enjoy on a daily basis if they so choose.
The flock is completely free range and spends the daylight hours each day roaming and scavenging in a large expanse of land, part of which they share with the sheep and donkey. At night the chickens are safely in their spacious coop, which no predators can enter.
Our animals keep us close to nature and are another expression of God’s creation, of which we are all a part, giving glory to God in various and sundry ways.
From a beautifully green Chama Canyon, thanks to the snowfall and rains over the past several months,
Abbot Christian and the monks

May 24th: Light in the Desert

We continue to be treated to delightful landscapes in the Chama Canyon wilderness . Current modest rainfall is producing some memorable views.
Today’s photo includes a rainbow over the cliffs above us. For the attentive eye, there is never a dull moment in God’s creation around us, wherever we may be.
We are staying well, thanks be to God, and we keep all of our families, friends, benefactors and oblates in our daily players, especially at the Conventual Mass each morning. Please keep us in your prayers as well. Thank you.
Abbot Christian and the monks

May 23rd: Late Spring

Our weather of late is more like July or August than late May. We’ve had thunder and lightening with intermittent rain over the past week or so. The moisture is most welcome and our fields are currently quite green, with no irrigation going on.
Today’s photo was taken right before Compline on May 22nd. The indescribable beauty of this location can only lead one to praise the Creator  of all things,, visible and invisible. Blessed be the Name of the Lord!
With our prayers and we are grateful for yours,
Abbot Christian and the monks

May 18th: Ascension Thursday

Forty days after Easter the Church celebrates the Ascension of the Lord, when Christ returned in glory to the heavenly realm, when he lives and reigns with the Father and Holy Spirit forever.
In modern times, this Solemnity is usually transferred to the Sunday following “Ascension Thursday,” so that more of the faithful can celebrate the Ascension.
At Christ in the Desert we keep the Solemnity on the fortieth day of Easter, this year on Thursday, May18th.
May these days of recounting our Lord’s Ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit on the fiftieth day of Easter, Pentecost Sunday, this year on May 28th, fill us with joy at the marvels our God has wrought for us.
Today’s photo of Christ in Glory is a fresco from an ancient Coptic monastery in Egypt. It expresses well the awe the first disciples of Jesus must have felt with the Ascension of their Lord.
With our prayers and gratitude,
Abbot Christian and the monks

May 16th: Spring Surprises

In the midst of desert beauty, we never tire of the sights of Spring, nor of the other three seasons for that matter. Spring certainly carries a distinctive face and scent, which we always welcome in late April or early May. Today’s photo is from our cloister garden, which at this moment is a little oasis that our living quarters surround. While admittedly what you see was planted by us humans, it still demonstrates the harmony of God’s creation and the work of human hands.
The Prophet Isaiah said it so well. “The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus the desert shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing” (Isaiah 35:1-2). That sums up well our experience of Spring thus far in this year of our Lord 2023.
We promise you our prayers and we count on yours.
Abbot Christian and the monks

May 11th: Rite of Spring

As we move through May, we are being treated with more flowering trees and blooming forsythia. Today’s photo was taken from outside the Abbot’s office. In the cloister garden, peonies will soon be ready to grace that space and to decorate the church.
Predictably, Spring is noticeably “allergy season,” and we are sneezing more than usual. This too will pass!
After many days of calm and sunny days, we have had a rather windy day on May 10th, causing some amount of dust in the atmosphere. More reason to sneeze!
Apart from that, we are staying well and in the midst of desert beauty, visitors and  private retreatants are coming to enjoy the tranquility and beauty of this decidedly stunning corner of God’s creation.
With this comes the greetings and prayers of our community and we are grateful for your prayers as well.
Abbot Christian and the monks

May 4th: Easter Continues!

We are now in the Fourth Week of the Easter Season, enjoying the arrival of Spring, as we contemplate the mystery of Christ’s Resurrection and the redemption of the human race. Christ is Risen indeed!
The weather is very pleasant just now, with daytime temperatures in the low 70s. We are beginning to get more outdoor work done, including cultivation of the fields and landscaping projects around our grounds. The road leading to the Monastery, Forest Service Road 151, is dry and was graded during Holy Week. Day visitors are most welcome, with the Giftshop open each day from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. The shop is nicely stocked once again, under the watchful care of Brother Isidore. Our “Desert Art Gallery” is open each day too, as well as our church. Private retreatants are also here, sharing the Conventual Mass and Divine Office of the Monastery throughout the day.
Our greetings, prayers and thanks to all our families, friends, benefactors and oblate. Please keep us in your prayers. Thank you.
Abbot Christian and the monks

"Let everyone that comes be received as Christ."

— The Rule of St. Benedict

If you have two minutes to fill in our website feedback form, we would love to hear what you think...