Monks and Prayer Books
- Zack Thompson
- Jan 30, 2013
- Category: General
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Spending Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of last week with Brothers David and Jonathan SSJE was certainly a gift for me, and I would venture to say the same is true for our place for faith. I was reminded of the profundity of encountering lives utterly devoted to prayer and growth in the life of the Spirit. The freedom, joy, and love embodied in their person and teaching captured my imagination. What does it look like to follow Jesus in this world? What might it mean to take my faith seriously and let it be a gift to those around me? For me, the Brothers did a little more than hint at a response. They embodied the answers to such questions.
I am grateful that Holy Innocents’ is the kind of parish that can fill up the seats of a Sunday formation hour to listen attentively for the nuances of monastic wisdom; that we are the kind of people that venture to a Saturday retreat and sit with difficult questions; that we are a place for faith that is willing to worship in the beauty of holiness with the Brothers and be swept into the mystery of life in Christ.
Their insights into prayer and community life have much to teach us. For thirty years David and Jonathan have allowed their lives to be shaped by the habits of the Prayer Book in an intentional community, and the spiritual fruit of such an endeavor is so readily evident. Nevertheless they were honest about the struggles and difficulties of living in such a community and that is surely just as instructive for us. Learning to be a sacramental community of forgiveness and reconciliation is as much of a struggle for fifteen monks as it is for us. But with a deep commitment and abiding trust in the mercy and loving kindness of our God we can become agents of healing and reconciliation. We can become gifts to one another as we recognize the gift of sacrament in our lives.
Our Prayer Book is a remarkable part of our inheritance. In it we find the rhythms of life-- every area of life-- from birth to death. Did you notice what the Brothers always had in hand? They clutched onto the Prayer Book so often because they know its riches.