September is a big birthday month in this family, and this month everyone got the outstanding, never-to-be equaled Mystic Monk Coffee, except for one brother, who doesn’t drink coffee, so I got him the CD
And of course, while I was ordering gifts, I discovered that the monks have two new blends. The budget wouldn’t stretch to try them both this month, so I tried the Hermit’s Bold Blend, which I was a little leery of. It sounded very bold, to me.
It is – incredible. Rich and smooth and delicious and soooo satifying. My husband took one sip and was saying, “new favorite!”
If you’re looking for a thrill, and you can’t afford to splurge, buy a packet of this stuff; it will, as they said back in the ’60′s (and perhaps in the monastery) “ring your chimes.”
As Deal Hudson writes here, their monastery in Wyoming is growing very quickly. They’ve just received four new postulants and clothed another novice. The New Oxford Review has a really terrific interview with one of the monks, Brother Simon Mary, which can be read in its entirety, here, though you have to scroll down just a little bit to find it. I like this part:
NOR: What were the hardest adjustments you had to make?
Br. Simon Mary: There were a few adjustments, but none was insurmountable. From the outside, one might say oh, there’s no TV, no radio, none of those modern conveniences. But I really don’t miss them. Probably the biggest adjustment was my unfamiliarity with the Carmelite way of life — it’s at the same time ancient yet unknown. It hasn’t been widely studied or promoted in our times.I’d say the hardest thing here is that as a contemplative monk, you are constantly faced with yourself — your humanness, your sinfulness, your struggles and failures to grow in the imitation of Christ. In the world there are so many distractions –TV, radio, and computer, for instance — but here you are confronted with yourself, you find yourself, see who you truly are. And only by seeing our weaknesses can we make progress in the spiritual life. The monastic life is so completely contrary to modern life.
Amen, brother. That’s why it’s so important to pull back and retreat, if you can. A going away retreat is the best, of course – getting totally away from the everyday stresses and concerns – but that’s not always possible. Then we have to be more disciplined; we have to make the decision to turn off the tv, or the radio, or the computer. We have to make the choice to pray, to put some time aside for stepping away, so that we may refresh ourselves. It is as true for the rest of us as for monastics.
And yeah, the silence is pesky. You are confronted, there, with yourself, in all of your brokenness, your faulty humanity and ugly pride. It is so much easier to not go there, to just stay cocooned within the noise and distraction of the screens and the static. But God speaks in the silence.
It is funny, isn’t it, how the world has changed, how much more difficult it is to even consider God, much less hear him, as we clutter up our lives?
I am writing this at 2:49 AM, having just posted Morning Prayer, below. My intention is to be detached, today. But there is no guarantee that by noon I won’t be hoisting up the black flag of hyper-political interest and jumping somewhere with a blade between my teeth intent on battle.
It’s unstoppable, our faultiness and our weakness. But we should try to savor the sane moments while we have them! Have some coffee! The day is begun!