At home in the desert

I’ll try to write a few lines, just to keep my heart open and my mouth ready to speak. This always happens when I travel for a long time and I meet many people. A need to be quiet, a temptation to lock myself in a room and not come out takes over and I find myself in a bubble of silence that is very difficult to burst. This cannot be of Christ – the very purpose of my travels is to be here, to serve the Monastery, to meet you face to face, to speak to you, to ask you questions and learn from you.

Traveling is hard because it reveals to me the extent to which I have grown roots somewhere else in the world, when – in fact – I should be able to feel both at home and ‘in the desert’ everywhere. We belong everywhere, for there are no physical boundaries in Christ; and we belong nowhere, for we are not created for this fallen world, but for Christ’s Kingdom.

When I travel, I always think of St Brendan and his absolute freedom from the idols of this world, the way in which he refused to allow anything in this ‘valley of death’ to define him – always sailing further, always looking for Christ’s Kingdom, to the Resurrection: his real home, his real roots.

There must be a way in which we can interact with the world which is neither indifference, nor idolatry. There must be a way in which we can still get involved with the world, without getting trapped by it. Among all the saints I know, St Brendan is the one whose central quest seems to be precisely this: to love the world with a love that has its source in Christ – not in myself, nor in the virtues of the ones I love. To live in this valley of death in a way that does not suffocate the life in me, but brings new life into this valley.


3 Responses

  • Father Seraphim –
    It is so good to hear you Blogging again!! I kept checking through the month of January to see if you had posted any reflections. I so appreciate your reflections.
    On another note, our 22-Year old son’s name is Brendon and we had deliberately named him after St Brendan. What an incredible man and life he lived in his incessant search for to deepen his union to Christ.
    Blessings to you and I look forward to hearing more from you!!

  • Thank you for your kind note, dear David, and please forgive me for how seldom I manage to write something. I am grateful for the support we receive for the Monastery, and I wish I could do more to repay you for that support. Until then, thank you for your kindness and may St Brendan bless us all. What a wonderful protector for your son!

  • Father Seraphim,

    Mark 1:32-39: Jesus offered Himself all day, but early the next morning He snuck away for a good while in order to find time alone for His prayer reset, re-centering on His Father. Then He moved on to the next duty, the next place.

    We all have a need to belong and put down roots, but perhaps the key is to do it in connection within heavenly realms that move with us through this world.

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