Enter into the silence. Release your pain. Return whole.
We will accompany you on this walk...in this place.
WELCOME - LASKAVO PROSYMO - BIENVENIDO
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CASHING IN THE "LONGEVITY BONUS"
FINDING NEW PURPOSE LATER IN LIFE
Historically, our world has been a world for the young. Believe it or not, for 99% of human history, the average life expectancy has been less than 18 years, and what’s more, 2/3rds of all the people who have ever lived past 65 years of age are alive today! The good news for all 65-year olds today is that you still have a life span of 20 years. The not-quite-as-good news is that our system is not fully prepared to handle such longevity. What’s more, our models for retirement—and the financial entitlements that go along with leaving the workforce—are becoming untenable.
It might surprise most people to know this but before the 20th century, there was no definition for “retirement,” and if you search dictionaries for this term even today, what’s there is not too encouraging: “To disappear; to go away; to withdraw; the removal of something from service or use.” Not surprisingly, when people stop developing prematurely, they become older faster, they became sicker faster and in the process, they render themselves obsolete. So, what is the message that many hear or perceive? “Get out of the way because we don’t need you anymore.”
Women struggle less with this issue because of the female tendency to move in and out of different roles over the course of their lives. The same cannot be said for men. The masculine mentality has led men to see things in a much more clear cut (and thus limited) fashion: “Here is what I do.” “Here is what I did.” “Here is what I was.” Older people have learned the answers to many of life’s great questions but if you check out, not many people will be asking you for the answers. There’s an old African adage that says, “When an elder dies, it is like a library burning down.” So what are seniors/retirees to do in order to enjoy this “longevity bonus” beyond beyond practicing better financial planning and the physical hallmarks of healthy aging (i.e., diet, exercise, health care)?
Stay connected * Stay engaged * Reinvent oneself * Do something of PURPOSE
Seniors comprise a significant percentage of visitors to our Monastery and we have been enriched by the wisdom, generosity and faith that is so abundant in these elders who lived through the most trying times in our nation's history. For our part (with the Lord’s graces and with the peace & holiness of this place) we have been able assist seniors with the necessary healing, counseling and discernment to find that purpose…that ongoing call for the next phase of their lives. If you are one of these elders who has struggled to stay connected and engaged, and who would like to embark upon the reinvention that will lead to a life of purpose and meaning, please call or email us to see if we might be of service in your ongoing journey.
Believe it or not, what you do from this point could be the most important work of your lives.
Call or write Br. Gideon @ (707) 485-4162 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a consultation and please see the other ministries offered by the Monastery in the posts below. Thank you!
(Much of the information & statistics above comes from Ken Dychtwald, Ph.D., the internationally renowned gerontologist, psychologist, educator, lecturer, consultant, entrepreneur and expert on aging-related issues.)
HEALING THE DIVIDE: COUNSELING FOR COUPLES
The world needs the intercession of cloistered monks and nuns, both of which are in short supply, but our society also suffers from a lack of strong marriages. Let's face it...relationships are difficult in the best of circumstances and the struggle for a mutually satisfying marriage increases with each spouse's level of brokenness. Unions are often formed amidst the burdens of unconscious projections and unrealistic expectations. Intimacy is under constant siege from the remembrance of past wrongs, financial anxieties, lack of common time, insufficient communication, pornography and other addictions. "Keeping the peace" takes the place of feeling joy in one another's company and before you know it, husbands and wives are living separate lives. At the heart of these red flags, frequent crises and the telltale sentiment of relationship apathy lurk the spiritual components of our own brokenness. Fixing a relationship is a tall task but healing the individuals that make up the relationship is doable, and with both components returned to good working order, the union has a much better chance to survive, grow and flourish. Self-knowledge, the breaking of bad habits, stronger faith and the repair of relationships outside the marriage--just to name a few "adjustments"--aid couples in this critical fight, and as with our other ministries described below, the holiness, cadence and quiet of these Sacred Grounds also provide the necessary therapeutic value to bring healing, peace and greater purpose to individuals and couples alike.
For a consultation and additional information, please call or write Br. Gideon @ (707) 485-4162 - email@example.com
GIVING HIM SPACE TO WORK
As alluded to above, our task…our privilege at this place, in this vocation and in this life is to immerse ourselves in the work of healing. Some wounds lend themselves more readily to successful diagnosis and treatment, but let there be no doubt: we all struggle with the maladies of heart, mind, body and soul. Our “patients” may come from near and far, but all communicate—through either word or deed—a longing to find lasting peace, healing, a greater sense of purpose and a stronger faith. To assist each person in his or her quest for these graces, we support and encourage those who have placed themselves under our care to strive for courage, honesty and self-knowledge, all the while fortifying themselves in the armor of faith, prayer and the humble—yet powerful—status of one of Our Lord’s cherished, “Little Ones.”
And would He not hasten to vindicate any who embark upon such a journey? He would—and does—hasten to reward the efforts of His wounded sons and daughters, and it has been our observation that He does not require abundant tears, kneeling, pleading and fervent promises, but rather just a little space. With this sometimes surprisingly modest opening, He may extract the key log from the logjam, allowing the healing graces to flow less impeded. As is His right, His timing and methods may not satisfy our need for painless treatments and immediate remedies, but at the end of the day, week, year and life, His wisdom and mercy shine forth, leaving us hale, whole and wiser for our struggles.
When is a person ready for undertaking this necessary task of his or her own healing…of reclaiming the authority for his or her own life…and of laying to rest (or casting out) those unclean spirits whose sole purpose is to inflict suffering upon us, destroy our hope and lead us down the pathway of knowingly or unknowingly rejecting our own salvation?
Will tomorrow be the day or is the time finally here…and now?
NEW ICON WORKSHOP SCHEDULE FOR 2019!
Back by popular demand are Fr. Damian's Icon Retreats for the New Year. Below is all the pertinent information. See you soon!
Jan 16th - 20th: The Oratory, Rock Hill, SC; Call Judy @ 803 327-2097
Feb 11th - 15th: Holy Transfiguration Monastery Call Petro @ 310 985-9597 **
Feb 25th - Mar 1: St. Gertrude's, Cottonwood, ID; Call 208 962-2000
May 1st - 5th: The Oratory, Rock Hill, SC; Call Judy @ 803 327-2097
May 29 - Jun 2; Port Townsend, WA; Call Jean Kaldahl @ 360 379-1802
Jun 24th - 28th: St. Josephat's, Edmonton, AB; Call Fr. Peter Babej @ 780 993-8037
Jul 22nd - 26th: St. Francis Springs, Stoneville, NC; Call Ann Bauer @ 336 573-3751
Aug 18th - 22nd; St. Placid Priory Spiritual Center, Lacy, WA; Call Sr. Lucy @ 360 438-2595
Aug 23rd - 28th Holy Theophany, Olympia, WA; Call Mother Seraphina @ 360 491- 8233
Sep 10th - 15th: St. Basil, Sterling Heights, MI; Call Fr. Mychail @ 568 719-4425
Oct 2nd - 6th: Immaculate Heart, Spokane, WA; Call Sr. Mary Eucharista @ 509 448-1224
Oct 29th - Nov 2nd Greenbough House of Prayer, Adrian, GA; Call Steve or Fay @ 478 668-4758
**The cost for this retreat is $550 for the week for 'boarders' and $350 for daily commuters
THE (SURPRISING?) CONNECTION BETWEEN CONFESSION AND VOCATION DISCERNMENT
"I kept it secret and my frame was wasted
I groaned all day long
But now I have acknowledged my sins
My guilt I did not hide"
Judging from the comments we hear from priests who visit to the Monastery, it appears that the Sacrament of Reconciliation is--to put it mildly--an underutilized sacrament in our UGC Church. This is problematic on many fronts, the most serious of which is that most people needlessly live under the burdensome weight of often serious--and even mortal--sin. Yet for those Catholics--of all ages--who are still trying to figure who & what they are, and what they are being asked to do, the lack of time in the confessional is preventing them from utilizing one of the greatest tools of discernment. St. John Paul the Great, who in his earlier years desired to make himself a "captive to the confessional," had the following to say about this critical issue:
"Moreover, the sanctification received through the regular practice of confession and a lengthy, conversational review of one's life in all its dimensions would lead to vocational clarity. The penitent would come to know what he or she ought to do, as well as who he or she was. A career was not the purpose of life. Life was vocational, and one of the confessor's privileges was to help the penitent discern the vocation to which God had called him or her. As he once told (an unidentified parishioner) whether one lived in a convent, in marriage or as a single person in the world, "You have to live for a concrete purpose.""
("Witness to Hope," by George Weigel)
If you consider the matter, why wouldn't this be the case? Is it so strange that Our Lord would desire to speak to each of us through our Confessor? Might He not want to reward us for the the faith, time, effort and humility necessary for making regular confessions? Does He NOT want each of us to discern our true calling...or our later-in-life second, third of fourth callings? Many good things will happen in the lives of who makes regular trips to the confessional and as unexpected as it may sound, the "vocational clarity" that St. John Paul the Great mentioned above would likely be one of the most life-changing.
If you haven't visited our site before, please scroll down to the related information on our Midlife and Deliverance ministries.
DOES MY SUFFERING COME FROM A PHYSIOLOGICAL OR A SPIRITUAL SOURCE?
THE CASE OF DESPONDENCY AND DEPRESSION
Having spent nearly 18 years in the pharmaceutical / biotech industry, six years of which were with mental health innovator, Eli Lilly, I have great respect for the role of evidence-based medicine for the treatment of our various maladies. This experience has been valuable to deliverance ministry because for the most part, those who are sent to me have been through counseling and have usually taken various meds to control mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, bi-polar, ADD, OCD, insomnia, etc. Because of this, when discussing the ubiquitous spirits of depression and anxiety, this question often comes up:
“How do I know whether my current symptoms of depression / anxiety / mania are from an unclean spirit?”
Before acquiring a recent book called, “Time and Despondency,” (by Nicole M. Roccas) I sought the answer to such questions by revisiting the person’s experience with psychological counseling and discussing the meds the person took, often for several years, but which in the end never gave them their desired results. But despite covering relevant medical history, the question above is still a perplexing one, which deserves a better answer. Fortunately, I believe I stumbled upon a more informed answer with my fortuitous purchase of this timely book. In the essential task of defining despondency, the author says:
“Leaving aside the discussion of sin for a moment, let us address depression and despondency in greater detail. To be sure these conditions share much in common, so much so that they can be difficult to distinguish or clearly diagnose. Like two circles from a Venn diagram, they overlap on many of their symptoms—irritability, fatigue, restlessness, boredom and hopelessness are just some examples. Nonetheless, despondency and depression are separate circles; the two concepts have entirely different historical roots and are associated with divergent paradigms concerning the human person."
“Our knowledge of depression is rooted in the body-centered perceptions of Western medicine, which sees this affliction through the lens of physical processes like biochemical imbalances or weakened mood regulators in the brain. Concepts of despondency, on the other hand, originated in the soul-centered worldview of early Christian monasticism. That is not to say despondency has no physical manifestations, but simply that it begins in the soul and works outward to poison and paralyze the entire human person.”
““Whenever the soul becomes ill,” wrote Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos, “instead of being nourished by God, (it) sucks the body dry.” As far back as the 4th century, Evagrius (Ponticus c. 346-399) mentioned a host of physical manifestations of despondency that included bodily weakness and excessive sleep. Considering the outward destruction despondency can cause, Evagrius described it as the worst of the legismoi (eight evil thoughts or terrible temptations from which all sinful behavior springs) —when left unchecked, he noted it can lead to suicide.”
“To sum things up, the Church has historically seen despondency as one of many indications that a person is unwell...a symptom of brokenness that can fragment and distort all levels of our experience.”
To learn more about the process of Deliverance, please scroll down to our postings on "Midlife" and "Deliverance."
Of all the metaphors for this critical period in one’s life, the storm-tossed ship on a violent sea may be the most appropriate for many who are (roughly) somewhere between 40 and 65 years of age. Midlife can be a time of great tumult, uncertainty, fear and confusion. It can be the time when we awaken to a question that seems cliched but feels very real if disillusionment has set in:“Is this it? Is this my life?” But despite—or maybe because of—the pain, midlife can also be a time of great opportunity. It can be THE time for figuring out who—beyond the roles we’ve played throughout our lives—we really are. Midlife can raise necessary questions about the true value of big homes, money, prestige, fame and stuff. It can be a time of self-knowledge, healing, great purpose, peace, faith and the entry point into living one’s authentic life.
Not shown in the picture above is the person who thinks he or she is in charge of the ship. Shivering, gaunt, lashed by the wind, the rain and the waves, he or she still clings to the ship’s wheel with the skeleton hand of one who would sooner drive ‘their’ vessel to the bottom of the sea than relinquish control of its direction. Anxious, depressed, struggling with insomnia, GI disorders, migraines, mysterious illnesses (that resist accurate diagnoses and successful treatments) and distressed relationships, this person either cannot or will not perceive that none of us ever really controls the ship. And so they—and those around them—will suffer as Our Lord waits patiently for their realization that He is the One who is in charge of the vessel.
Mt. Tabor can help people struggling with these questions, afflictions and fears. We can help you find where things went off track, where callings were missed or disregarded, and more importantly, what to do for the road—the voyage—ahead.
For more details, please call or write Br. Gideon at (707) 485-4162 firstname.lastname@example.org
MT. TABOR DELIVERANCE MINISTRY
Prayer is the monk's most effective tool but some situations require additional tools. Hopelessness and despair can erode our well being until all we see is darkness. Unforgiveness--for ourselves and others--can stifle healing and spiritual growth. Resentment towards God begins in subtle ways but can metastasize until our very faith is threatened. Rejection, abandonment and un-love afflict us with their wounds--often during our early years--before re-emerging to play havoc with our lives in adulthood. Unfortunately, many of us try to medicate our suffering in ultimately destructive (not to mention ineffective) ways or eventually grow resigned to the "fact" that, "It's just something I'm going to have to endure."
But we can renounce these afflictions, reclaim the authority in our own lives and find lasting healing & peace. How? The Gospel gives us the power for this work, Our Lord has given us the people and the Monastery on our Holy Mountain has given us the place.
For additional details and a confidential consultation, please call, email or text Br. Gideon at (707) 485-4162; email@example.com
In striving to live the Eastern Monastic life as we do (which itself is a tall order) we often see only our failures, both as individuals and as a monastery. A month or so before the fire, though, a young man reminded us that we hold no monopoly on the perception of this place, which remains the sole right of any individual who chances upon these grounds. We often speak of "old souls," and though that designation might not fit our recent visitor to a T, we certainly saw, heard and felt a generous amount of wisdom in this 28-year old, which we share not to pat ourselves on the back, but to challenge ourselves to live up to his perception of our home...and by extension, us. We share it with you because we know that many in our troubled society are searching for the place he describes, and that many of the disillusioned among us may think that such a place can only be a Shangri-La or an El Dorado. It that's the case, then it's apparent that an old adage about such things may be true, as well: "Beneath every legend, there is always a kernel of truth..."
"Brothers of Mt. Tabor,
I've often dreamed of being able to travel back in time, to join in the intense, singular worship of the early Christians. I had no idea that this was possible until I arrived here Tuesday night. Your morning service is one the the most beautiful things I have seen in my life. We are so lucky to have you men here, keeping this way of life alive. I wanted to thank all of you for being so kind and welcoming, for including me in your prayers, for helping me to follow along in the services. Thank you to those who shared your own stories with me; hearing of your journeys touched me deeply and helped me to develop in faith. The only thing I regret is that I couldn't have stayed longer. Peace be with all of you. ~ Paul "