A reflection by a recent Monastic Guest
Dear Monks of Mepkin,
This is one of those rare moments when I am so humbled and touched by gratitude that I do not know quite what to say. I am sure you are all familiar with the feeling. You have made a deep, deep impression on me as I’ve come to know you over this past month. Your generosity, peace, compassion, reflectiveness, openness, sincerity and love have been both palpable and gratuitous, and it is an example that I will not soon forget.
Th wisdom of your way of life is a light. For each one of you, I can think of several simple moments that contained within them a pure expression of love. Taken together, those expressions of love have created an environment that I have found extraordinarily healing , encouraging and restful.
As I have expressed to some of you in our conversations, I did not realize how far out of touch I had become with prayer and how distant I considered the idea of God until I was given the space here at Mepkin Abbey to deal with the ungraspable presence made manifest by your devotion. Whether you realized it or not, you have all restored in me the peace and strength that comes with learning there is a God so precious as to merit the total attention of one’s life.
It has been a revolutionary discovery for me. All of you were part of the process of persuasion.
Many of you have heard that I arrived here carrying a great deal of suffering in my heart from having witnessed unfathomable injustices committed against our migrant brothers and sisters. I still carry that out with me, but it is no longer a burden so much as it is a ground for renewed faith and a subject of prayer for me. That prayerful transformation occurred as I listened to you all chant the lamenting words of the psalms, and follow them up with words of praise. It has revealed to me a mystery that will occupy my spirit for years to come.
Your way of life, and all of you, as shining testaments to its value, has given me an unexpected hope that I haven’t felt in a long time. I am convinced now that with your prayers, combined with all those of our Christian sisters and brothers, serve to remind God of the suffering of his people, and doing so, we move humanity ever-so-incrementally towards justice. I do not know what the world would look like without these prayers.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for allowing me to share in your life for this brief month and for having taught me all that you have taught me. They are some of life’s most important lessons. “You have brought to me a greater joy/than they have with abundance of corn and new wine”. Ps 4:8 (Although, as I discovered while exploring the grounds, there is indeed an abundance of corn here as well….)
With much love.