Though I only stayed once at St. Andrew’s Abbey in Valyermo, California, I feel close to the community there through several friends who are actively involved in the life of the monastery and through reading its quarterly “Chronicle.”
In the most recent issue there is this reflection by a longtime visitor who is a Missionary of Charity. Here is a portion:
As I dragged my steps wearily past the refectory I could see the light on in the kitchen. At that time the kitchen windows were still clear, not opaque as now, and I could see the little tramp alone inside. He had just finished the mopping, and he stood there for a few moments, surveying the counters, the stoves, the work-tables. Everything was in order, all the utensils in their drawers, all the surfaces tidy. He stood still for another moment, then quietly, reverently genuflected, went slowly to the door, turned off the lights and left.
His action woke me with a start from my headful of thoughts, fantasies, fears and worries.
God is truly here, palpably present in this very place, in this very moment. Christ is truly present in the kitchen, breathingly alive here where I stand outside, as the quail make their little night noises beneath the junipers. To genuflect, to bend the knee, is to proclaim one’s faiththat God becomes flesh in Jesus, abides with us tenderly in the Eucharist. But my little hobo finds him truly present in the empty scullery, feels him heart-breakingly near amid the quiet clicking of the ovens as they cool. It doesn’t matter what tomorrow brings, the Holy One is here, now. That’s all I need. Like my fellow wanderer, I am at peace. Whatever tomorrow brings, wherever the road leads, God is there. All days and all roads are encompassed in this moment in this desert night. Emmanuel, God-with-us, is evoked, recognized and adored in the humblest gesture of the least of his brothers. I am the witness, and for a moment I understand, I see.
The Abbey’s website is: http://www.saintandrewsabbey.com
The rest of the reflection can be found by clicking the link: “Valyermo Chronicle.”