There was a wise abbot and a monk, his student. The student asked the abbot, "Father Abbot, Christianity has existed in the Western world for two thousand years and yet, here things don't really look too much better than elsewhere! Abortion still stops many beating hearts, there is violence and drug abuse in our homes and on our streets, and there are so many other big problems in our societies. How is it possible that we allegedly are people of faith and yet don't live in a renewed and different way?" The two sat at the bank of a river during this conversation.
The abbot responded , "Take the boat and go out to the center of the river, the deepest spot, dive down, and bring up one of the stones from the riverbed." The monk does as he was told, rows to the middle of the river, jumps into the water, dives down to the bed of the river, and gets a stone. It is wet and the water drips off of it. He takes it to the abbot.
The abbot says, "Now take a hammer and break it into pieces." The young monk hits the stone and it breaks apart. The abbot says, "Have a look. For thousands of years this stone lay on the deepest spot of the river surrounded by water, and yet inside it remained completely dry. That's the way it is with us. We have heard the gospel externally, and yet, two thousand years later, we haven't been touched very much by the reality of the gospel in our interior."
St. Edith Stein once wrote, "We need hours during which we hearken silently." When we go on retreat, we leave behind the busyness and the continuous distractions of everyday life. We have the opportunity to listen inward, and to discern among the many voices around us and within us the voice of our unconditionally loving God, who speaks to us in Holy Scripture, through people and events, and whom we can touch in the Eucharistic bread and wine. Such a stance of listening and discerning is necessary in order for the water of the gospel to transform us inwardly.
From our Priory I can report that our Father Adam Patras, OSB, who had lived outside the monastery for some time, has returned to our community. We are happy!
Especially worth noting among the upcoming retreats on our program schedule is a weekend retreat on June 1-3 with St. Louis Jesuit Father Bob Dufford, who composed well known hymns like Be Not Afraid. The retreat will help participants open themselves toward a deepening relationship with God in prayer.
I am looking forward to seeing you again soon!
Father Thomas Leitner, OSB