What a fragile thing a monastery is, how easily the living flame of Godward zeal can be reduced to a cinder. We must all work together to keep the flame alive. How? We know the answer: Prefer nothing to the love of Christ; embrace whatever share of the cross the Lord may give you, finding there your peace; be faithful to the Work of God, to lectio, to prayer; always put the common life first; bear each other’s burdens; nurture your yearning to see the face of God. If we live by these tenets, the bedrock of our Rule, we resist the lethargy of passing time. We re-kindle our first love. There will be a spring in our step, a founders’ spring, a clear orientation towards the supernatural.
Our job is to dispose ourselves as best we can to receive with thanks whatever the Lord grants in his love, for his glory and our thriving. It is surely essential that, while keeping death before our eyes at all times, we really live, remembering that life is pure divine gift, to be received reverently, responsibly, gladly.
Photo by Brother Brian. Excerpt from Dom Eric Varden's retreat conference: 1.