Witness and communion, are well described in St. Paul’s words to the Corinthians: In Christ Jesus … you were enriched in every way [by the Father], with all discourse and knowledge, as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you, so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift. This means that the fullness of charisms has been poured out upon us by the Holy Spirit, and that there is nothing God could have done for us that he has not done by giving us Christ and by rooting our lives in Christ’s own life. Both the Father and the world should look at the faithful monk and see nothing but Christ: this is what it means to bear living witness. The unimaginable fidelity and goodness of God have taken the form of his bringing us into deepest communion with the beloved Son, truest koinonia, that is, intimate sharing of the divine life and mystery, as if it were by nature our own! Such intimacy in love may indeed be said to constitute, in a certain way, the vision of God—seeing God in the experience of the living Christ. In Christ, we have seen God’s Face and we have been saved! Such union with the Beloved and vision of him is the end of all contemplation and the utmost fulfillment of the monastic calling. Through word, sacrament, and prayer God has rooted us in Christ as our very Ground of Being, and the prayer typical of this state could be nothing other than thanksgiving and praise.
Like calls out unto like, and only if we become humble through conversion, watchful through keeping vigil, loving through service, and witnesses of Christ’s splendor through our whole lives, will we be able to embrace as we ought, at Christmas, God in his form of humiliation as the Babe of Bethlehem.
Photographs of our first snow by Brother Casimir. Meditation by Father Simeon.