Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A day of peace

The weather is getting cooler here in the desert and so I went for a walk to the local UPS store. I've mailed out copies of my books to monasteries I've visited in the past, like Christ in the Desert monastery in New Mexico.  Just my way of strengthening the bonds of brotherhood.

Sometimes I wonder if the best thing for me would be to disappear, so to speak, from the world. The Christ in the Desert monastery is remote and far from any town. Being separate from worldly trivialities helps a monk to focus more on God. Being a monk in the world is challenging and I am getting old and tired.

Maybe I should purchase a cave I saw for sale.  The property also has a simple home, so I wouldn't actually be living full-time in the cave, just have it as a retreat. Here's a picture of it.  It's located in - on second thought maybe I won't tell anyone where to find me.

Ok, just a few friends. Who knows, maybe some will join me.

For now I retreat into my inner monastery, the sacred place within us all. For some, it's easy to find. Others, sad to say, are blind to it. No judgement, that's just the way it is. 

I've reached a new crossroads in my life. The past seems as if it has happened to someone else; it's as vague as an old black & white movie almost forgotten.

Wisdom guides me each step and each step adds to my wisdom. With each step, another tie is broken.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Sticks and Stones

Another day of rest and healing as I contemplate recent events.

A monk avoids entanglements of the world, nevertheless, often there are times when the decisions of others will intrude. 

While in meditation, I had this thought. "Any insinuation that I am less than truthful is more a reflection of the accuser than of reality."

How often do people project their own attitude upon others? I find people who are deceitful automatically assume other people are the same way.  Rather than look in the mirror, they seek a scapegoat to justify their confusion and resentment. 

But I fear no evil. 
“The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5

I admit it is a challenge. I have avoided such people all my life, especially those who resent the fact that I do not live according to their concepts of how to walk in the world. They don't understand. They don't even try. All they can do is blame others for their own self-imprisonment.

And yet, I am grateful. Such challenges only make me stronger, more faithful, more determined.

"If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you."  John 15:19   

I share these thoughts because I know others who are going through the same experience. I pray for them and hope they pray for me. 

Friday, September 26, 2014


I've been a ill since yesterday, nothing serious; probably just a cold that has me tired and achy. Yet, I don't mind.  It helps me be still.

I drift in and out of a meditative state, feeling the tension of the past few months being released as a lightness filling me.

During this time of trials, physical, mental and legal) I remember a story I was told of Padre Pio.

Though within the protection of a monastery, he too was challenged. Even the Church restricted what he could do.

Once, when being questioned by Church officials regarding the validity of the stigmata, Padre Pio just stood there smiling.

One official got angry and scolded him. "Why are you smiling? Don't you know this is a serious matter?"

Padre Pio replied, "I smile because I am with God and nothing you say or do can take that from me."

And then he walked out.

Not sure if that is a true story. It certainly sounds like something he would do. True or not, the story gives me strength to ignore those who would distract me with worldly concerns.

It helps me stay with God.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Sorry for the delay in writing - the world intrudes It is an old story of what happens when a parent dies and leaves everything to one child. 

My mother supported our Community of the Sacred Heart, a small group of men coming together in the old Russian monastic tradition of a Skete, guided by an elder, the community pursues a schedule and routine of continuous prayer, meditation, and acts of devotion. 

 Unlike other monasteries, however, the brothers live and work in the world rather than living in isolation. Each brother sustains himself through employment and is encouraged in his individual pursuit of self-development. We do not encourage conformity but cooperation through companionship as we share resources, chores, laughter and love.

She had reasons of her own, as well for bestowing financial support to the community. 

But as with every new beginning, there are obstacles - in this case, a lawyer. Before my mother could be cremated, a sibling was asking about her Will. Knowing there would be trouble, my mother set up her finances in a way that could not be challenged.

Nevertheless, when money is involved, people will try anything. 

I was unprepared for this entanglement but not ignorant of the trouble some people thrive on to fill the emptiness of their lives.

My own life has been for the most part, uncomplicated. Yet it is a full life, rich with experiences, blessed by the saints and angels.

I had no thoughts about the money, thinking wrongly that my mother had plenty of time to spend it. I also had no experience with  the complications and hassles of nosy lawyers.

A monk avoids unnecessary involvement with the affairs of the world.

The situation was stressful and yet, educational not so much about denial, greed and legal trickery. But I had to confront my own fears. Deep within me was the feeling that the world will keep me from doing what I have set out to do - serve God with all my heart. I suppose any spiritual seeker has had to face the same obstacles.

At times, I felt so overwhelmed by darkness and the fear it invoked within me.

Then one morning, I had this thought: "Beware of all lawyers. No matter who they have for a client, they work for the devil because they are more concerned with the laws of man than the laws of God."

It made me laugh, but most importantly, gave me strength to defend what belongs to God.

I ask all who read this to help us with their prayers, which will be like a gentle rain upon a seedling struggling to emerge.