“Do Not Lament Me, O Mother” – CF735
Mutual Mercy in Practice
Our Dearest Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Bless! The Lord!
Often Lent is conceived in negative terms–what we can’t have or what we can’t do, instead of seeing what is underlying all self-restraint: freedom, true freedom from being ruled by our mere wants and desires. In this freedom, we can experience better interpersonal relationships as we are more sensitive to others needs when less concerned with our own. We can experience better appreciation for what we have, when we are more conscious of using things with attention rather than merely inundated with just more things. And we can experience more joy and love, when we are consciously giving more, and intently doing so from the heart. We can all do this, all we have to do is take the time and try.
St. Nicholas Church in Winter
Bridge over Spring-Fed Stream
Mercy is love in action. It is giving from the heart. It is taking time to pay attention to others, and their needs. It is the opposite of selfishness. We all need mercy, and the best way to touch it is to give it first. It is like a stream of love which when entered enlivens the heart and mind. It is a condition when the mercy of God blows through and fills every fiber of our being. It is a conscious choice to draw close, so close, to God and to all others here on earth. It is the best choice in life.
During Lent, this is enlarged by being more prayerful which draws us near to God, and then to others, by controlling our desires, which brings us beyond selfish thinking and acting, and then by giving even more, which opens the floodgate of mercy back to us. Therefore Lent is the season of love, kindness, compassion, care, and reaching out with great mercy. It is the time of change, which is the meaning of the Biblical word repent.
Common Monastic Building in Winter
Two Hand-Painted Icons from Our Icon Studio
Recent Life at St. Isaac’s Skete
Our life here at the Skete is a conscious effort, as we are just a few monks living in self-restraint, and also giving through prayer and outreach our mercy towards all our brothers and sisters in this world. It is a struggle because we are few and there is much that we try to do both inwardly and outwardly. It is a bridge to try to bring the precious things that we have found to enliven our own lives out to others, especially through a call to more prayer and providing beautiful and affordable icon reproductions at www.skete.com.
Although we have missed some of the worst weather that we hear about across the country, we still had a real winter, especially with ice and snow even interfering with our icon reproduction in bad conditions. That seems likely to change soon, even though we have fresh snow just today.
Monastic Cell in Skete Back Valley
Theotokos Chapel in Skete Back Valley
Our finances have been remarkably stretched this winter with its early cold weather and higher utility bills, furnaces going down, electrical failures, and illness. Recently one of the monks just got over a severe bout of pneumonia combined with a devastatingly strong flu. In changing our current website to a more current type (still in process) and adding social media (Facebook and Blogs), it was a big learning curve needed and very time consuming and financially straining. Lastly, our sales for icon reproductions were particularly low this February and early March.
Our Present Urgent Needs
We need your help. Please pray for us and, if possible, send us the means now to help us continue our life here, and our icon service to the church at large and to you. Our daily expenses are a greatly strained just now. Please give from the heart. Let your mercy shine towards us, and may His mercy shine towards you.
Your Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The monastics at St. Isaac of Syria Skete
and at the Convent of St. Silouan,
and the Faithful at St. Nicholas Church
Click for General Monastery Donations Page
Click for Donations to Common Monastic Building
* * * * *
Your donations are tax deductible.