Abbot Philip: ‘We Rise Early, We Pray A Lot’

Occasional excerpts from the extraordinary letters of Abbot Phillip from Christ in the Desert Monastery, Abiquiu, New Mexico.

… At home in Christ in the Desert, everything continues to function well, even in my absence. This is one of the most important aspects of monastic life: the monastery continues to live a normal and regular life even when the abbot is away. Far too often people think that the whole monastery depends on the abbot. There is no doubt that any abbot gives a particular identity to a community. That is simply part of the job. One day there will be another abbot and all of us will have to adjust to his way of doing things. On the other hand, if an abbot can keep delegating as much as possible, the community takes on its own fairly clear identity, more leaders are formed and when it is time to change abbots, the change is not so difficult. …

Our life is supposed to be a life that is not easy to live. It is not supposed to be so difficult that no one can live it. The challenge comes from the necessary focus on the inner life and the disciplines that support that inner life. We rise early, we pray a lot, we work hard and we read the Scriptures and commentaries on them. The life is pretty much the same, day after day, week after week and month after month. The monotony is to free our inner energies so that they focus on prayer and contemplation. For me, it is an enormous blessing of God that we have so many men try our life. It is another great blessing that so many actually stay and persevere….–Abbot Philip, OSB

Read his whole letter.

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