“Although the life of a person is in a land full of thorns and weeds, there is always a space in which the good seed can grow. You have to trust God.” — Pope Francis
Hello Dear Friends,
Well June is here. The year of 2021 has now entered middle age and is moving rapidly towards 2022. We are hoping to reopen the Retreat House in September, God willing! At this time we are planning a deep cleaning, to get the Retreat House ready to receive guests again. A building being unused for over a year does not just sit idle, but as we all know everything moves towards chaos if left untended. Our weekends in September are already full. We have Cursillos scheduled for two weekends, as well as two different AA groups. So we will have availability for personal retreats during the week only throughout the month of September.
As we have all walked through this last year together, here at the monastery we have come to understand even more profoundly the gift of silence. With that in mind as we open up again, we are going to ask all of our retreatants to please observe this wonderful gift of silence. In the past we have not always strictly adhered to the silence, yet that is actually what people are seeking when they come here. So, when guests come on a private retreat we are going to request silence during their time with us. As for groups we will allow them to choose what works best for their group. I would like to share with you something I have come to understand in my spiritual journey. As we progress in our Spiritual Life, it is surprising to us at times that we seem to be getting worse, not making any progress at all. When in reality we are just growing in self-knowledge. It is during these times we are learning to grow deeper in understanding of ourselves.
The weeds and the wheat become more apparent because our inner conflict can be more keenly felt. Do not fear this self-knowledge, for it is one of the reasons we can open our hearts to the Holy Spirit. We can only be healed of what we are conscious of. Humility allows the heart to open without fear of rejection. In order to move more deeply into intimacy with God we have to choose to trust, for trust and fear cannot coexist. Either one or the other will take precedence. St.
Bernard was big on getting acquainted with our inner world (our heart) because when we pass over all will be revealed, so best to begin now. It is a great gift of the Holy Spirit to open up our souls to what it needs in the way of mercy and healing. The fire we walk through is the fire of Infinite Love. I believe St. Paul says it well: For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. (1 Corinthians 3: 11-15) The fire of God’s love is a healing fire, it is not to be feared, for all healing can cause suffering, but a suffering towards greater life, freedom and love. - Br.MD
Zoom Retreats – June Anger, Resentment, & Forgiveness - Saturday June 5 – Br. Mark Anxiety & Depression - Saturday June 26 – Br. Mark To register please call our office at 770-760-0959,
Monday – Friday 8:00-1:00. We are asking for a donation of $45.00 for our retreats. To see the rest of our Zoom Retreats for the year visit us at www.trappist.net .
Highlight – Br. Callistus Crachlow
Br. Callistus Crachlow was born October 13, 1948 in Trinidad and he is the oldest of 10 children. He made his Solemn Profession April 14, 2006. Br. Callistus wears many hats here at the Monastery and presently he is our Procurator. He also spends his time working in public relations and fundraising for the community. He is Mass Secretary, and when our Food Bank needed a new manager, he stepped up and took on that position. Br. Cal, as we call him, is always ready with a smile and has many talents. We are so blessed to have him as part of our community. Our Abbey Store is now online, besides some delectable delights, we have many items that would make perfect gifts for those special people in your life. Visit our web site at Holy Spirit Monastery Gifts To place an order from Our Abbey Store you can reach us by telephone at: 1-800-592-5203 OR Local 770-929-3448 or email us at email@example.com.
Letting go of the stones “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7 Around this time of the year, there will be graduation speeches all across the country. If this year is like last year, and the years before, many of the commencement addresses will urge the graduates to be men and women of vision. It may well be that a speaker or two will invoke a message of Robert F. Kennedy so as to inspire a sea of graduates to see a better life for all and to do what needs to be done to make it a reality: “Some men see things as they are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were, and ask why not.” Listening to these words and others like them, I imagine that more than a few students set their sights on future projects that will make a better world. They are encouraged to follow their dreams and make them come true. But there is another, no less important way of seeing ourselves and the world. It is a way of seeing God’s dream for us, and not our own. In a recent homily, Brother Peter Damien, one of our transitional deacons, mentioned how we are called to see with the eyes of God. To see with the eyes of God is to see a person as he or she truly is beneath appearances, biases and a prejudice that blinds. Consider the story of the Gospel in which an adulterous woman is condemned to death by stoning. The woman is saved by the intervention of Jesus who exposes the sinfulness of those about to kill her. They drop the stones from their hands and walk away.
There is that saying that some people are born with a silver spoon in their mouth. Each of us are born with a stone in our hand, equipped from day one to hurl it at anyone we perceive as different, a threat, an enemy. The stone could be slander, gossip, hatred, indifference —traits which are the root causes of human estrangement. Becoming a monk does not mean that we leave our stones at the cloister gate when we enter this life. Hopefully, this life puts us on a path on which we realize we have stones in our hands. We gradually learn ways to avoid throwing them. We learn in a monastery that countries, cultures, institutions and individuals are all victims of blindness. We just do not see each other well. And our blindness is often legitimized by those who stand to benefit from it. In this monastic community life, we can help each other see the goodness in each other, the truth embodied by each other, the presence of the God who sees through us into each other. We are not about seeing a way to revamp a society, or build a great bridge or city. We are here in this tiny plot of land tending as best we can to the growth of each other and our guests. That takes time. And learning to see as God sees takes time. There will come a day when we are able to let go of the stones in our hands and walk more lightly on this path to the kingdom. Until that day comes, we persevere, knowing both the feelings of clenching the stones and letting them go. With the grace that only God can give, a time will come when the stones fall from our hands, never again to be picked up. ++James Stephen Behrens, O.C.S.O,
Honey Creek Woodlands – A Natural Burial Ground At the Monastery of the Holy Spirit The Monastery community offers a quiet and beautiful resting place for people of all faiths, as well as those who have struggled to find faith. We are pleased to provide our land and promise to reverently protect it for those who share it with us. If you have any questions or would like to set up a tour, please call 770-483-7535. Our hours are 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM Monday-Sunday