As a way of entering into the spirit of Pentecost together we wanted to share with you this Letter of Response to Abbot Primate Gregory Polan: responding to his question of our experience during this time of pandemic.
God brought us out of the distress
- Psalm 107: 28-31
As the Prologue to the Rule of Benedict says (vs. 11-12): The Spirit says… “Come and listen, and I will teach you the fear of God.” For our community this has been a time of deep learning and deeply recognizing that we together with all our brothers and sisters in this world are experiencing the same distress in varying ways. There are no ones of us who are exempt or more privileged. “God is calling us in love and showing us the way to live.” (RB Prol. v. 20) We have been called to let go of whatever arrogance and sense that we are in control that may easily creep into our life. We want to continue growing into the humility so central to our Gospel call and monastic spirituality.
Through the extended solitude of this time which has limited the usual guests to the monastery, we have experienced a strengthening depth to our brotherhood living in community with one another. We have consciously given priority to what is most important in our monastic witness: the searching and joy in our common prayer; the care for the beauty of creation that blesses and surrounds us; the inspired creativity of our craft work focused more simply and intently during this time; and the gift of this witness that we offer for the guests and friends whom we welcome in our monastic home.
We have also been aware that we have one another to live with and how so many others struggle in the isolation, distancing and anxieties of these moments. It remains continually an invitation to stay present to them offering our prayer, love and glimmers of hope “in the midst of the storm.”
Also, it has been a time for our friends and oblates to explore creative ways that they can be present to one another and not rely completely on our monastic community to support them and direct their prayer and witness to the Gospel call. This experience of independence has been a step forward for many of them to realize that the gift lies within them and among them as they reach out to one another. The Spirit continues to live and move equally in diverse ways through each and every one of us.
This has been a time of radical change, allowing our contemplative prayer and silence as well as our words speak to one another. It has been an opportunity to recognize more clearly that we do not always go forward but sometimes backwards or laterally to the side. However, we can still take small steps and discover together the answers are not always obvious right in front of us but slowly emerging as we attentively listen to the Spirit’s groaning response among and within us. This is the challenge of fidelity to our monastic way through stability, conversatio morum, and obedience.
Your brothers of Weston Priory