Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I have been back a few weeks now from the period of rest, pilgrimage and retreat for which I am profoundly grateful to each of you for your prayers and generous support. { I should mention that on my return 175 emails, plus a few dozen snail mail letters and cards were waiting and I answered them before writing this!}

My doctor said on my return that I look years younger and certainly in body and soul I returned renewed.

The numbers of homeless and hungry men, women and children being served at the soup kitchen, where I volunteer, remains very high.

The Staff and Volunteers are tremendous – it is a great blessing, indeed an honour, to serve our Brothers and Sisters with such a great group of people.

Joy is one of the hallmarks experienced there.

Joy from the Staff and Volunteers: indeed the kitchen, clothing room, dining room echo with much laughter. There is gentle seriousness as well when at tea break in the morning we reflect on some spiritual reading and then as a group pray for the needs of others.
In fact, mid way through the daily meal for the homeless the resident chaplain prays in gratitude on behalf of everyone there and for the needs of the homeless, then blesses everyone in the dining room.
The silent, respectful, trusting in Him attentiveness of the hungry reminds me of the power of their prayer: the prayer of the humble which pierces the clouds to the very throne of God.

During the retreat with brother priests we focused on the great gift and mystery of Priesthood and the Holy Eucharist.

During one-on-one conversations with my brother priests I was struck more than ever by their immense love of every human being and also our common understanding of the intensity of spiritual warfare and the need to preach, with our lives, the Gospel of Life in face of the culture of death.

I have returned to a simpler routine where I spend the first couple of days each week serving in the soup kitchen and then three full days in poustinia [hermitage], use Saturday for those common little duties we all must do, cleaning for example, and try and spend Sundays in absolute silent contemplation of the Holy Trinity with the emphasis on gratitude.

However, as the Servant of God Catherine Doherty teaches us in her book POUSTINIA, whenever Christ comes calling by knocking on the door, literally or by phone, email, etc., then what He asks immediately becomes the duty of the moment – so for example last week part of each poustinia day was helping a friend move – sometimes Christ comes hungry for food and sometimes just hungry for our presence in the life of another – so, for example, one day a lonely elderly man in the building here just wanted a companion on his daily walk – and I found myself during the walk reminded of Christ walking with the disciples on the road to Emmaus!

Soon we will cross the threshold into the season of holy hope, Advent, beginning anew the rich liturgical cycle of the great events of our redemption – may it be for each of you this year a particular time of peace and joy, being assured of your place in my heart and prayer each day, especially during Holy Mass.

As promised I will next begin posting notes from the rest, pilgrimage and retreat.

1 comment:

Arthur Joseph said...

Wonderful Father. Thank-you