As I sit here in my office, I can’t help reflecting on the events that took place in our nation’s capitol and how they relate to us as Benedictines and as Christians. Again, unless you have been taking a long winter’s nap, you have been confronted with the most disturbing images of
the Capitol Building being assaulted and invaded. This event being the culmination of months of demonstrations, rioting and looting in many of our cities. In my estimation, these events by both the far left and the far right of the political spectrum are insurrection, purely and simply.
Where does this leave us? Where does this leave us as Benedictines and Christians? Whatever side we are on politically; this should make us all stop and reflect on where we should stand and what should we be doing in our own lives in relation to the events around us.
Let us reach back and listen to the words of our Lord in the Sermon on the Mount. Blessed are the peace makers is one of the tenets of our faith. This does not call us to cowardice. This does not call us to run away from the events that confront us. But it does call us to not provoke a situation, to, in other words, pour fuel on the fire, but rather to seek a rational, peaceful solution. We should have the courage and conviction to speak out against violence and hatred no matter from which end of the political spectrum it is from. Silence, in this matter, is tacit approval.
In my left-handed way of thinking, I feel this is a wakeup call for all of us to stop and evaluate where we are in relation to the world around us. Are we part of the problem or we a part of the solution? As Benedictines and Christians, we are called to put God ahead of all else in our lives. We are called to center our lives on where our true citizenship lies. Paul tells us in Philippians 3:20, “But our commonwealth is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Our eyes then should be on our eternal life, the big picture.
As Christians, we are called to another way of life, to be in the world but not of the world. As Benedictines, we are to live a balanced life of prayer, work, and study; to center our day-to-day mundane world around our slow, tedious, journey to where God resides in the depths of our souls.
Nothing justifies violence.
Chapter and Retreat:
As we wander into another year smitten by the Covid virus, it does not seem we are going to be able to convene a “in-person” Chapter and retreat for the foreseeable future. The Monastery of the Holy Spirit is still on shutdown as are seeming all other feasible places for us to meet.
Father Michael-Peter, Father Mark and I have discussed having periodic meetings using either GOTOMEETING or Skype. Either system seems to offer about the same way of getting together virtually. If we all have Skype that might be easier, and it is somewhat cheaper. Let me know what you think about meeting, say, quarterly and which system to use.
Around the Order:
Fr. Michael Peter has resumed being the rector at St. Francis of Assisi Anglican Church in Jonesboro, Georgia. Father Mark is still Rector at St. John’s Anglican Church in Greensboro, North Carolina. Sister Phoebe Elizabeth is still at St. Alban’s Cathedral in Orlando. Brother Thomas Bartholomew continues as lay assistant at his parish.
The Hermitage: I would imagine that all of us are pretty well staying in place, wearing our masks and washing our hands (as Ray Stephens sang, “Like a racoon with OCD.”) This is a difficult time for not only us but for the rest of humanity. Here at the Hermitage, we, Sister Corydon and I, are blessed in that we are already sequestered and have not had to miss a beat as to what we do.
Welcome: To our new Oblate, Brother David Neff, at St. Mary’s Anglican Catholic Church, Denver, Colorado. Brother David has transferred to us from St. John’s Abbey.
Mary’s Meals: As you may, or may not, know the Hermitage is an official fundraiser for Mary’s Meals. Mary’s Meals is an international Catholic organization that provides meals and education for children throughout the 3rd World. The organization uses 93 percent of funds donated to the program. That is, for every dollar donated, 93 cents of it goes to feed and educate some 1.6 million children. If you are interested in donating, there are three ways to do it. One is to go to their website marysmealsusa.org and donate directly. Two, is to go to our website ourladyph.org and follow the link. The third is to write a check to us and stub it Mary’s Meals. We are a 501( c )3 charitable organization and your check is tax deductible as allowed by law. If you use the first two, please note on your donation “Hermit’s Bowl.” That gives us credit for your donation, no cash just thanks from them. Thank you!