August 15th, 2017
Dear Friends of MMJMJ,
Blessed Feast of the Assumption!
As we at the Monastery celebrate this feast celebrating our Lady being assumed, body and soul, into heaven, we pray her litany: “Virgin most prudent, Virgin most merciful, Virgin most faithful, pray for us.” These are some of the titles given to our Lady, and in them we see not only her exaltation as Queen of the universe, but also the quiet, humble maid of Nazareth who was faithful in her daily life to the will of God. As Queen and Heavenly Mother, she is a reliable and merciful source of grace in our Christian lives; as humble handmaid of the Lord she reveals the way of virtue she took to attain the joy, peace, and glory she now shares with her Son in heaven – the way which each of us, dear friends, is invited by our Lord to take.
This is a great encouragement for all of us, whatever be our state in life (Monk, Priest, married, or single), as it reveals to us that to love our Lord it is not necessary for us to do big things, but rather to simply pray and be faithful in doing our daily tasks with love and gratitude. The prophet Micah gives us a confirmation of this wonderful truth: “He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” St. Augustine adds his voice: “To live well is nothing other than to love God with all one's heart, with all one's soul and with all one's efforts.” In her simple, humble life of virtue, Mary was living the great commandment: To love God with her whole being – and because, by God’s grace, she did it perfectly, she merited being assumed by her Son into heaven. May each of us, through her powerful intercession, love God with her humility and purity of heart, that we may share in her exaltation in glory.
The last time we wrote in June, you may recall that we were drilling a well on our land. We have very good news of the results. We were aiming for 10 gallons per minute; the Lord, through the intercession of St. Joseph, gave us much more than we needed – 15 gallons per minute! We have been informed that this is a far greater amount than is usually expected in the area. On top of all this, the well was completed on none other than the feast celebrating that from which our Monastery takes its name – the Feast of the Sacred Heart! We are grateful to God for blessing us and giving us all further confidence that His hand is with us in the Monastery project.
But, as Jesus said to Nathaniel, “you will see greater things than these.” This September, one of our Monks, John Michael, who was ordained a Deacon in February of this year, is going to receive the Order of the Priesthood of Jesus Christ! This is a tremendous grace and blessing for the Monastery, and also for the Church as a whole – indeed, for the whole world. As our faith teaches us, what a Priest is and what a Priest does, through Christ, is more valuable than we can imagine. The power and grace of Jesus Christ works through the Priest to sanctify souls, forgive sins, prepare the dying for their final moment of life, and nourish us with the very Body
and Blood of our Savior. As St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”
We invite all of you to share the joy of Father-to-be John Michael’s ordination to the Priesthood, which will take place at St. James the Greater Protocathedral Church in Vancouver, Washington on September 9th at 11:00AM. We are very grateful for your presence in our lives, for your support, and for all your prayers – prayers which have a part in many of our blessings, from Monk John Michael’s preparation for the Priesthood, to the preparation of the novices for vows, to the abundant water output of our well. We also pray for you and your families that through the intercession of our Blessed Mother, assumed into heaven, you would receive abundant grace to live simple, joyful lives of gratitude and virtue. And, we pray with the priestly benediction given by God to Moses,
“The Lord bless you and keep you: The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you: The Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26)
In the love of the Holy Family,
The Maronite Monks of Jesus, Mary and Joseph