Two Streams: Towards Heaven or Towards Earth
Our Dearest Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Bless! The Lord!
Each day we get a chance to choose, whether we will follow the path upwards towards Heaven and its values and its ways, or the path downward which just leads to the values and ways of earth. When things are more stressful outside, such as the times we now live in, these choices are even more important to make good ones, and we can always do so by careful looking at the effects they will have on our hearts and minds.
When we are restrained with economic concerns and with our normal freedoms restricted through circumstance, we can be impatient, resentful, or angry, and this wounds our inward heart and mind, but when we choose instead to be generous and thankful even in such hard times, then we gain a Heavenly perspective and it is only through patience, as the Lord said, that we can “…possess ye your souls.” (Luke 21:19)
This Year So Far at the Skete
Our year this year from the time of Great Lent until now has been very restraining here at the Skete. The State of Wisconsin shut down our icon production shop and office here completely for over two months, and then we had to work through how to open up again with sensible restrictions for the safety for all of our employees and the monks who live here at the Skete. On one hand it was greatly challenging as not only were we closed, but almost all of our wholesale customers were closed too for some time, and we are not sure even whether some of them have even opened again due to the current pandemic still so active today.
On the other hand, we had an especially quiet and secluded Great Lent overall, with much time for solitude and prayer, more quiet than we have had since the early days of the Skete over 30 years ago. It was a blessed time for interior life, which is such a blessing. Time for prayer, writing, thinking, reading, and more prayer. What a hidden blessing!
We have continued to be generous as God provides and to be thankful each day, and still serve our customers with the beautiful icon reproductions in our very wide selection, and keep our monastic life’s rhythms in motion. We start each day in a prayer with all of our employees here to have God bless us all in our work. Whether it is raining or the sun is shining outside, the Sun of Righteousness is always shining down on all of us each day. May we all bask in His warmth and love! The trees and grass are still mostly green, as there has been much timely rain this summer until a few weeks ago, and the sky is still blue with little white flecked clouds overhead. All in His Beauty!
Our main color copier used for icon reproductions was dying for the last two years. With support now from our copier company, we got a newer upgrade, and were finally able to make all of the settings work to match the colors exactly. It is a much better machine. Without these troubles, we wouldn’t have found the cure. Half of our business is wholesale and it disappeared during this epidemic still going on, putting a real strain on our just manageable finances then, but we were fortunate to have three employees already set remotely to maintain our web store, our basic input of orders, and our production of icon prints and scanning to get new icons ready to offer. All that let us survive. We went behind in taking orders and still not being able to produce whatever was not in inventory, but most of that backlog has already been cleared and the rest will clear off soon. Almost all those orders are already being made.
Our Present Urgent Needs
We really need your help. Generous donations have helped us keep going so far. The amount is not the main thing, but the prayer and love with them. Please also make another icon order soon to help this summer’s cash flow. Please pray for us and, also send us the means now to help us continue our life here. Give now from the heart, and let the Light of Heaven bless you in your own patience and mercy. Let that mercy shine towards us, and may His mercy so shine towards you!
Your Brothers in Christ,
The monastics of St. Isaac of Syria Skete
and the community at St. Nicholas Church
Make your donation Here
Your donation is tax deductible.