I went to the little skete nearby last week, it was great. I missed the ferry at 120 however, and that, while being a huge pain in the behind, turned out okay, I got some good reading and writing done ( I think ) while waiting, but then I rode my bike up the hill to the monastery, and goodness am I out of shape. (yes, the answer is yes) but it was good. I got there, all out of breath and almost delirious because of the ride, and when I finally caught my breath, I had already asked for a blessing and hugged brother moses, it was so good to be there. such a beautiful place. so much peace. the glow that I couldn't see was more than obvious in the darkness. three of them. we sang vespers, it was great. they always let me record it on my computer, and I did, there were moments of beauty, but not the music, though that too, but when I forgot myself and just joined in with more than my voice, it was great. I belonged, and I did. as their guest. such hospitality. They also had me over for dinner, and I didn't bring anything, they are such great and humble guys, and they make good food too.
It struck me that being a monk is SO different from the kind of lives we live. I mean, really, when you enter a monastery, pretty much you are deciding to spend the rest of your life loving the people who come to you, and preparing to die, which really means living well, and preparing to live better.
They told me about Fr. John, Papa John, and how he was such a beautiful man, in his caring for his sick wife, his care for his parishioners, his foolish generosity. Apparently, he and his wife inherited a large sum of money, that could be described in fractions of a million dollars, and two weeks later they had no money left because they were aware of families who needed it. generous. Holy foolishness. They told me of how his wife became a strong intercessor in her illness, how vladyka would give her long lists of sick people to pray for, and she would spend a lot of time in prayer. they sounded like saints.
They told me that when they heard of Papa John's passing, they opened a bottle of wine to celebrate, and Fr. Gregory told me he hoped his children do the same, referring to the brothers there I assume. I will go and bring a bottle to share with them, as I expect to visit more often.
I thought of my busy life, and how the silence and simplicity is SO attractive in some ways, especially right now in the insanity of school, work, practicum, RA, etc, and trying to keep up with a few circles of ever-widening geographically spread out friends.
It was great to be there, and especially fun when Fr.Gregory makes references like when I was leaving, he said 'as Gandalf said, 'shadowfax, show us the meaning of haste'' because I was leaving on my bike, in the dark, down a steep hill to the ferry which was at least twenty minutes away, which was leaving in twenty minutes. I made it, soaking wet, after riding in the dark through the rain.
I love knowing monks. It makes me holier to be able to see their eyes. Just like having known Papa John.


oh, and Fr. Gregory likes scotch, so next we all traipse up there, we have to get a collection together to get him a nice bottle of presbyterian holy water, speaking of which, Matthew, when you come, you need to bring us some, I hear alberta has good prices on good scotch, like glenmorangie!


Matthew Francis said...

Dave - great post - and, yes! that could definitely be arranged. Apparently we have access to hundreds of more varieties of single malts here than in BC - strange, non?

I found a great bottle of 12 year old Macallans for a friend of mine. That's the goods.

On a related note, my good friend David Goa told me he remembered drinking scoth with Fr. John at Bishop's University like 25 years ago or something.

Matthew Francis said...

Um, yeah, that'd be "scotch" not "schoth."

Marco said...

Dude, I can't see why you want to be a caffeine addict. Trust me, any addiction is bad for you.

However, yerba mate is where it's at. I think my brother actually played a big part in introducing it to TWU. Him and Stef Goertzen.

pasivirta said...

Hey Marco, I don't 'want' to be a caffiene addict, but I need to stay awake while I do my homework, and I fall asleep constantly, so I figure enough is enough. I must stay awake, come hell or high water. but yerba sounds better than coffee for sure.

good to hear your 'voice'

and Matthew, I often misspell scotch when I am typing it. its very strange. That sounds like a great memory David's. Is he a writer? his name sounds familiar...

Matthew Francis said...

Yeah, he's written a fair bit over the years, mainly theology, liturgics, and culture. He's the "Curator Emeritus" of the Royal Alberta Museum.