Coming full circle: Back at St Anthony’s Monastery, Arizona

God has such a strange, wonderful way of making sense of our experiences as we approach their end! As we go through our lives, nothing makes much sense, does it? In my case, as least, moving forward with my life always feels like a blind man finding his way in the dark, trying hard to understand something (my life!) that lacks any sense of order or purpose. And then, now and again, God steps in and lifts up this cloud covering my eyes; and, suddenly, the chaos that used to be my life reveals itself as a perfectly controlled intention – the problems seems to be that the intention is never my own, but that of God. I’m not complaining, don’t get me wrong – may it always be like this! – but it always takes me by surprise.

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This is a quick note, just to say that I’m back at St Anthony’s monastery, in Arizona. It was not my intention to come here in February, at the very beginning of my fundraising trips, and I definitely didn’t plan to return here at the very end. And yet, my first stop in February was in Fr Ephraim’s cell, getting this holy man’s blessing before starting my travels; and, by God’s grace, my last stop is back here, in the monastery he brought to life in the middle of the desert.

May his blessing, along with the prayers of all of us, bring spiritual fruit in the Hebrides, too. It’s been a long period of draught in the Celtic isles, more than a thousand years of no monastic presence. By God’s grace, and with your help, we are slowly getting closer to changing that. May the Holy Spirit pour over these isles again. May each drop of rain (and we have billions every day!) be a touch of His life-creating love.

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