Friday, November 13, 2020

First Monastic Profession of brother Nhan


In a spirit of profound thanksgiving and abundant blessings, we would like to share the announcement of the first monastic profession of our brother Nhan. We are looking forward to beginning this new step in our monastic journey at the First Vespers of Advent, on Saturday, November 28th. We invite you to join us in personal prayer at home during the celebration.
   There are three dimensions that are professed at that time. 

The first is stability. In our community discussions, which we are having in this time leading to the profession, we all recognize that stability is essential. It would be a misconception to understand stability as leading to rigidity, but rather to flexibility. Brother Nhan talks of how the anchor of a ship allows it to weather out storms, even as the boat is now able to ride waves that might otherwise overwhelm the boat. His work on the shrimp boats down on the Louisiana coast gave him first hand experience in such matters. Stability of heart allows us to weather out the storms.
    With "Conversatio morum" we learn to continue talking to each other about the essential matters of our life. Brother Nhan shared how this dimension of our life is present to him as a gift. There is so much noise in our world that by sharing a life of silence and prayer we are able to talk to one another not from the busyness all around us, but from our heart. Benedict is very clear that we can get lost in a multitude of words but when we speak about what matters most to us we all grow together.
    This leads us to obedience. The first word of the Rule is "Listen." We listen with the whole of our person to our heart, to each other, our world, and the Gospels. When we authentically listen our response will flow from the Spirit who lives in our hearts and guides us on our way. We live by consensus and know that even when we don't know the future or what it holds, at least, we will continue listening together and respond with one heart.
    Our deepest hope is that this celebration will bring joy into all of our lives. We hope you will feel a part of this monastic commitment in your own way, in your own context, and that this too will give you strength to continue on your journeys. We are growing and changing, and our hearts are filled with gratitude for the abundance of life even as we truly miss being able to gather together in the Chapel for prayer.

            Also to the right of this page you may sign up to receive any news as soon as it is posted. That way, when we take a picture of the celebration you will know as soon as we post it. You might enjoy seeing all of us including brother Nhan wearing our tunic and scapular.

            Please consider visiting our new Gallery Shop tab on the homepage as you do your Christmas shopping. By making a purchase there you are supporting a way of life that is built upon the work of our hands. Being creative in this time is a way of embodying the monastic commitment.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Colors of the Season

The colors of this season have been spectacular this year. Our reds came early and were very strong, and the golds are lasting well into October. There is a beauty that touches our heart very deeply, because with all the uncertainties of our world we can still experience God's good gifts in creation. 

    In that spirit, a new mantra song was born that we would like to share with you.

The weave of seasons reveals the love of God. (refrain)

                 1. Gently we are made aware of the importance of time,                        of change and history.

                  2. Gently we learn to trust this movement of time;                                       the dance of night and day.

                 3. Prayerfully we change in wonder of grace;                                                      alive in the movement of time.

    There are so many different "seasons" to reflect upon. The seasons of our own lives, the seasons contained in a day which may contain storms and sun, and the season of this pandemic. All the seasons have the capacity to reveal the love of God, and it is our prayer for each person that they discover the meaning and challenge that this particular time holds.

    We are all well and hold you in our prayer. It is that connection in faith that continues to keep us alive in this moment of time. 

    Please note that on the right hand side of the page you may sign up by email for any new posts that occur under the "What's New" tab. It is an easy way to stay in touch with us without having to check to see if there have been any changes. Also, if anything immediate does occur you would know as soon as we publish a new posting.

Friday, September 18, 2020

This Year's Harvest



The harvest from our gardens 
has been abundant this year 
flowers, tomatoes, squash, potatoes,
apples, corn, carrots...

And perhaps the most surprising harvest
in this time of lesser movement:
a healing silence
born of deeper listening.

Please consider visiting the tab "Gallery Shop" on the main menu bar of our website homepage. It contains many items of our craftwork, including honey, maple syrup, candles, pottery, and woodwork. They are excellent for gifts!
Thank you for any orders you place. 

Monday, August 31, 2020

Thank you for your birthday greetings!

Wow!!! What a treasure of lovely birthday cards, photos, gifts, and loving messages for my 96th birthday!

    And how to express gratitude to so many friends and relatives for that thoughtful gift?
    I would really like to write to each one personally but that is far beyond possibilities for this aging monk.
    So, with the help of brothers here at the Priory, all the greetings have been stored in a neat and accessible container.
    On retreat days, I plan to review these precious messages and will offer a prayer of thanksgiving for so many of you who have graciously remembered me after all these years.
    As well as giving thanks, this should also be a way of keeping me out of mischief in my spare time!

Thank you, one and all, for your remembrance and loving-kindness.

With love,

brother John

Friday, August 21, 2020

Prayer connects us

Prayer connects us...heart to heart.

Physical distancing (social distancing) in this time of the Covid-19 pandemic creates the illusion that we are not dynamically connected to one another.

Yet, through prayer, we are actually and wonderfully closer to one another than is physically possible.

Prayer brings us below the surface of our day-to-day interactions and ordinary awareness into contact with the life-force of each person we call to presence in God's loving Spirit.

Calling upon God in prayer for one another opens pathways of connection that are healing and transforming.

In prayer, we enter into the mystery of grace and blessing where love enables us to encounter and cherish one another on a deeper level of being...                          


Friday, August 7, 2020

Remembering our brothers

During August mid-month we celebrate the Dormition (the Falling Asleep) of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Our brother Leo was the Abbot of the Dormition Abbey in Jerusalem when he founded Weston Priory. The anniversary of this "falling asleep in God" occurs just a few days later. On this occasion, we remember as well our brothers Philip, Columba, and Robert who have gone before us.

May our hearts awaken to God's vision inviting us to new life now and in the coming time.

Monday, July 20, 2020

July 2020

    We would like to thank you for all the cards and emails and letters that we have received during this time.  It is wonderful to be connected heart to heart, and to know that our presence to each other continues and deepens as we continue this journey of learning and listening.

  Receiving greetings from all of you is a lot like getting fresh produce from the garden.  Our summer has been one of hot weather and rain in a combination that makes vegetables and flowers grow.  We have been enjoying flowers for our prayer spaces whose presence to us during prayer is as eloquent as the Psalms.  The fresh greens, broccoli, summer squash, zucchini, cucumbers and carrots constantly remind us of how gracious the earth gifts us even though our own actions as a human family continue to be so negligent and even harmful.
   We were very surprised when we received news that brother Daniel's mother, Lupita, who lives in Mexico City, was tested positive for the coronavirius, but is doing well and probably will not need oxygen in her treatment.  Others who have written to us have not had the same experience and we grieve with the many persons who have lost one or more of their parents, their spouse, or persons very close to them, and whose lives with us here have ended because of the pandemic.  The deep blessing and comfort of our faith is invaluable when we meet with questions that have no answer.
    The Mexican sisters have not had any outbreaks in their many places of mission, but are now struggling with the question of how to open their schools.  Their commitment to the people, and to the children as the future of Mexico is very deep, but their own resources will be challenged during this time 
    We have posted a new video on our Holy Week that shows how silent the Priory was at the beginning of this unique time.  Although the roads may have a bit more traffic on them, the grounds are seldom visited, and our prayer as a community continues in the personal spaces within the cloister.  You may access all our videos anytime from our website tab "Photo Log". 
    You are constantly with us: "Our absent brothers and sisters."