Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Nueva entrada

Greetings to you from El Monasterio de la Nuestra Señora de la Soledad in Atotilco, Mexico! I am here visting another one of Christ in the Desert´s dependent houses. It is an absolutely beautiful monastery, though like us new and relatively small. I am quickly learning to piece together the bits of Spanish that I know.

Their history is somewhat like our own. Fr Aelred Wall of Christ in the Desert arrived here first, but eventually two monks, Fr Ezekiel and Fr Fernando, came from an active Benedictine house in Tepeyac. Like our founders, they were seeking a more contemplative life than can typically be found in American religious life today. Fr Aelred died many years ago, but the two founders are still here, and they have managed to accomplish a great deal.

Founding a monastery is not an easy thing. Historian Peter Brown quipped that it is easier to found an empire. I would add the rejoinder that all things are possible for God, easy or not, and if God wants more contemplative monasteries, He will bring it about. But a prerequisite for these foundations to survive is for their founders to be tested. Tiles fired once tend to crack and fall apart, whereas tiles fired many times become hard as granite. A monastery intended to last can´t be propped up by money or projects, but ultimately makes it or fails based on the willingness of the founders and those who follow to be faithful to Christ. The Devil (and I have this on good authority) hates monasteries. So he is especially interested in dissuading (to put it lightly) those who attempt to start new ones. Monastery founders can expect one trial by fire after another, and if they are really saints, possibly to be tossed out by the second or third generation. Such is the pattern given to us by saintly founders since the Resurrection. That´s alright. Christ is our all, wherever we serve Him! So far my brothers haven´t expressed the intention to toss me out.

God´s blessings to you all. I apologize for any accidental accents or ñ symbols. Mexico´s keyboards are slightly different than the ones I am used to.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Prior Peter,

I really enjoy reading your blog. It seems that every post offers me something to consider. Also, I wish that your posts had a bibliography attached!

To whit, I just finished reading a history of Cluny, and I was fascinated. What are the titles of P. Brown's books on monastic foundations?

Please keep posting: your blog offers fruits for my prayer.

God Bless,


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If I, who seem to be your right hand and am called Presbyter and seem to
preach the Word of God, If I do something against the discipline of the Church
and the Rule of the Gospel so that I become a scandal to you, The Church, then
may the whole Church, in unanimous resolve, cut me, its right hand, off, and
throw me away.

Origen of Alexandria
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