And the flowering of a monastic brotherhood (part 4)
The Move to the Island
After packing our belongings we returned to the island from Oregon, with the camper so full we scraped the bottom as we drove onto the ferry. We gave thanks to God as we stood on the deck, closing in on our new island home. I had dreamed of living on an island, nestled in a forest, for much of my life, and now God was granting me my wish.
The two-bedroom house was up for sale, and the agreement was that we would move out within thirty days once they found a buyer. Since there were no other houses within our price range, we worried we’d have to leave the island before winter set in. The constant flow of perspective buyers worried us a bit, but we trusted God’s will would be done. With a ceiling of only six feet five inches high, the look on people’s faces upon seeing me with my kamilavka (a stiff monastic hat), with only an inch to spare, was priceless.
The island’s weekly newspaper had an ad for an old farmhouse that had caught our eye when we first explored the island, so with the sale of the first house we packed up and moved within sixty days of having come to the island. The house had been built in 1906 by a Norwegian shipbuilder during the days Dockton had been the location of the largest dry dock north of San Francisco.
Soon after moving into the house, we drove back to Santa Rosa, CA., retrieved the monastery’s library, icons, and furniture out of storage, received a blessing from my spiritual father, Archimandrite Dimitry, and said goodbye to our many friends and benefactors in the Bay Area. Once back on the island we turned a small room on the main floor into a chapel, with the living room, complete with fireplace, becoming our community room and library. The second floor had two bedrooms, the largest of which we separated into two cells by constructing a wall and turning the extra bedroom into a guestroom. An old school bell from Montana, a gift from Father Paul’s dad, was hung from the front porch, completed our move. Set in the middle of two acres, with a beautiful pasture serving as the backdrop and a small orchard in the front yard, the house was truly an answer to prayer. After planting a vegetable garden, we settled into living the rural life we’d so desired.
The islanders welcomed us warmly, making us feel as though we’d always been a part of the community. A neighbor left flowers and fresh farm eggs on our doorstep, and another islander gifted us with a large basket filled with smoked salmon, and fresh garden vegetables. When walking out on a pier to view close up a commercial fishing vessel, the captain gave us three freshly caught salmon, all the largest I’d ever seen. A woman who worked in one of the two island grocery stores would approach us monthly, in the store, with a check written out in the amount of $200.00. Complete strangers would approach us at the post office, welcoming us to the island.
Love in Christ,
Photo: Sitting in front of the Caffe Trieste in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco, with my long time Capuchan-Franciscan friends, Brother Peter and Father John. Father John is pastor of the National Shrine of Saint Francis, which is just across the street from the cafe.
Sunday November 5, 2017 / October 23, 2017
22nd Sunday after Pentecost. Tone five.
Holy Apostle James the Brother of the Lord (63).
Translation of the relics of Blessed James of Borovichi, wonderworker of Novgorod (1540).
New Hieromartyrs Nicholas, Vladimir, Alexander, Nicholas, Emilian and Sozont priests (1937).
New Hieromartyr Archpriest Vladimir Ambartsumov of Moscow (1937).
Venerable Euphrosyne (1942).
St. Ignatius, patriarch of Constantinople (877).
Venerable Elisha of Lavrishevo, Belo-Russia (1250).
Venerable Nicephorus of Charsianos, Constantinople.
Venerable Petronius, disciple of St. Pachomius the Great (346).
Venerable Oda of Amay, foundress of churches (723) (Neth.).
St. Macarius the Roman of Mesopotamia.
St. Ethelfleda, abbes of Romsey.
The Scripture Readings
Jesus Restores Peter
15 So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”
16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”
17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?”
And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep. 18 Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.” 19 This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.”
The Beloved Disciple and His Book
20 Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?” 21 Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?”
22 Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.”
23 Then this saying went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?”
24 This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true.
25 And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.
Glory Only in the Cross
11 See with what large letters I have written to you with my own hand! 12 As many as desire to make a good showing in the flesh, these would compel you to be circumcised, only that they may not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. 13 For not even those who are circumcised keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh. 14 But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom[a] the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.
Blessing and a Plea
16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.
17 From now on let no one trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.
18 Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
The Rich Man and Lazarus
19 “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. 20 But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, 21 desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
24 “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. 26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’
27 “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, 28 for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ 29 Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’”