Abbot Philip: The Perseverance to Fail

monk-newmexico-240348-o“As I reflect on the monastic life that is a gift in all of these houses, I see the mercy of God at the center of all that happens.  I can’t always manage to live that mercy, even if I try my best.  It is as though I stand on the shore and see another land in the distance at times and know that I must get there even when it seems impossible.

Following Jesus Christ and seeking to be faithful to Him and to His Church has been the beacon in my life for many, many years. For all of us who want to follow Christ and to deepen the spiritual life within us, it is necessary to have this perseverance of continuing to follow Christ no matter how many times we fail or set out in a wrong direction or simply are not aware of what He is asking of us.  The only good that monastic life has to offer or that any Christian spiritual life has to offer is to point ourselves and others to Jesus Christ.  In Him we find life and joy and all that is worth wanting.  As many times as I have wandered away from this path, just as many times He has recalled me and pardoned me and told me of His love.  It is humbling to know that He is always there, so faithful and so constant.

When I am at my best, I am happy simply to be in His presence, giving thanks.  When I am at my worst, He is there trying to find a way to attract me back to Him and to His way.When I was young I wanted to be a saint and a mystic.  Now I pray that I may persevere and always respond to His love.  There is no desire to be anything or anyone, simply to try to persevere to the end.”–Abbot Philip, Christ in the Desert monastery, New Mexico

Read more from Abbot Philip’s Notebook.

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