Dear [One] in Christ
The words I write to you today are but a stepping stone. A humble invitation to hear the call of the ONE who knocks at the door of our hearts and calls us to follow His footsteps out into the desert.
From the beginning of Christian Monasticism there have been such souls: From those who walked out into the desert, to the Anchor holds in the city, to the Charter House, to Camaldoli.
And this vocation [following Him] is still alive today in the changing times of a modern world.
One sentence above all seems to have come down through the centuries from the first desert dwellers… [a sentence] from which every other word they spoke seemed to flow.
Once a Father was asked to speak a word, a message from God. He replied in a simple sentence:
“Sit in your cell and your cell will teach you everything.”
As this [truth] progresses and deepens you will find the difference between following a tradition and standing in the tradition. You will find yourself standing on the summit of all things looking at a church that can seem so divided and broken.
You will be one person standing alone before God on behalf of all, separated from all, and yet united to all.
Your solitude will become Ecumenical, in that despite what you perceive to be all your poverty, you will become the point of contact between God and humanity.
In the solitude, all the opposites and contradictions in the church and the world will meet. Sometimes they will be resolved in you and sometimes not.
You are to be the one chosen by the ONE to draw all in from East to West and lift [all] up to be consecrated in the truth that is God.
You will meet in this solitude with both Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, those who have no tradition, those who have been shut out from the church–even those that have no faith.
You are to be the tears and suffering, the hopes, joy and seeking of these countless unknown billions before God. You are to become the prayer for them. The prayer that gathers in and points to the ONE.
With and in the Christ you will be the prayer: “When I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all men to myself.”
To stand in the tradition you will draw on sources from both East and West.You will walk the way of those who through the centuries have been called to walk this path so hidden. You will walk alone, but in communion with them.
A path you will only ever discover by paradoxically walking alone. Listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit who will lead you ever deeper in to God’s will. It is so very subtle, but in the silence and solitude you will begin to listen to the whispering and whisper back to the listen of the ONE.
You have made different journeys in your life, but now the greatest journey of all is about to begin for you. Stay where you are now until the end…
A journey where all will be lost and all will be found. A journey where your heart, you mind, all your actions, thoughts, feelings and emotions will become one with the ONE so that you can become a channel of the Divine Light; Gods healing light and energy for humanity will flow through you.
This will only be possible and learned through the prayer of abandonment of Christ on the Cross. You will not be an observer, or stand at the foot of the cross, but become with Him on that cross: suffering, crying, pleading for all humanity.
All will be stripped away from you until there is nothing of the old self left. The Evil one during those hours, days, perhaps even moths and years will tempt you to abandon this path. He will send wolves in sheep’s clothing to prevent you walking it. Do not look back or to the side it will be disaster. Do not attempt to retrace your steps it will lead to great danger just keep moving forward…time and time again you must sacrifice and re-sacrifice yourself on the altar repeating the prayer of Saint John the Baptist, “He must increase. I must decrease.”
You must learn to pray at all times. Turn everything however simple in to a prayer. It will be the only way you will walk through this fire and survive.
When it becomes so difficult and you fall, and you will fall many times, you must pick yourself up and carry on. The hope of all humanity rests on your shoulder… [the hope] that all things can be restored in Christ.
When you pray all humanity prays and turns to God. If you do not pray, humanity will not pray and will turn from God. So you must pray until the end, whatever you face.
Remember both the warning and the promise contained in the Gospel,”The man who remains faithful to the end will be saved.”
Write this text out on the wall of your cell. Meditate on it often.
You journey alone, BUT ask the Lord to reveal to you who your spiritual father or mother should be in the early part of this journey. Let it be Gods choice. His or her role is to intercede day and night before God for you and teach how to test the spirits and journey into this way of life. It can not be learned from books, but from a lived experience. A tradition passed down from generation to generation.
This was the way of the Fathers and Mothers of the Desert.
“Sit in your cell and your cell will teach you everything.”
Obstacles will cone on this path. The Evil One will try and block those who are called to this way of life, [to keep them from] walking down this path. Sometimes those within the church will try and prevent your answering this call.
Not all will understand your calling.
So do not be fooled from the start into believing your solitude will be all peace and tranquility. No, it is a battleground until the end. The Evil one will attempt to drive you out of your solitude. You will be tempted in very subtle ways. Reveal absolutely everything to your spiritual Father or Mother. Around you and within you the struggle of humanity will take place, but remember every moment of prayer will become a moment of renewal; a new beginning for you, the church, and humanity.
The words from the scripture seem to apply to all the trials you will endure and contain the promise, if you persevere to the end in this way of life…If you aspire to serve the Lord… prepare yourself for an ordeal. Be sincere of heart, be steadfast and do not be alarmed when disaster comes.
Cling to Him and do not leave Him so that you may be honored at the end of your days.
Whatever happens to you accept it, and in the uncertainty of your present state, be patient, since Gold is tested in fire and worthy men [are tested] in the fire of humiliation.
Trust in Him and He will uphold you.”Follow a straight path and hope in Him.”
In the end in the words of a mystic, “All will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things will be well.”
This is our message of hope to the world. Beyond the struggle with sin, suffering, and death… all is well, because all is well in our Eternity with God.
The journey, in the words of another mystic: “A journey to God in God.”
Please pray for this poor Priest Monk and Solitary. I am just a poor man, a beggar knocking on Heavens door asking for mercy.
I love the story from the Fathers. One was very gifted, but on his death bed he was pleading with God for more time. This scandalized his disciples. He told them:
“I have just seen the vision of God. Now I realize I have only just begun to repent of my sins.”
Note from Roadturn: This letter, from a pilgrim-monk in the U.K., is published here with minimal editing.