Monday, November 20, 2017

"Silence, Prayer, Poustinia": A Video

"The Christian life is a real's actually a blood and guts battle, especially an interior battle with the reality of sin and temptation that we deal with in our lives every day" (Mother Theodora).

We hope you are inspired by this 17-minute video, produced for our recent Bridegroom's Banquet, in which we share some wisdom that we have learned about silence and prayer. We and a couple of poustinia guests also share some experiences of our time in the poustinia (literally "desert," but referring to our retreat house used for silent retreats). We hope that our video helps you to understand the importance of silence and daily prayer, and perhaps plants a seed for a future retreat! Some of the funds raised at the Bridegroom's Banquet will help us to renovate our remaining empty buildings into additional retreat space, so that more people will be able to take time to be alone with Jesus, the Bridegroom of our souls.

The video was filmed and edited by Bowling Green University film student David Bratnick, parishioner of our Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

We surpassed our goal at the "Bridegroom's Banquet!"

Thanks to the generous support of many, we received over $82,000 in donations and pledges at our Nov. 11 Bridegroom's Banquet or through pre-event donations. Generous benefactors pledged to match up to $75,000! We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of support, which will help keep the monastery running in the coming year and will help us to renovate our remaining empty buildings into retreat space.

Some attendees of the banquet attended the Vigil Divine Liturgy at St. Joseph Byzantine Catholic Church in Brecksville, Ohio, the parish which generously hosted our event. We then cantored Great Vespers, at which Bishop Milan presided, and then dinner followed in the hall downstairs. About 250 guests enjoyed the evening with us.

We shared a 17-minute video titled, "Silence, Prayer, Poustinia," filmed at the monastery by film student and Cathedral parishioner David Bratnick, which we will share with you soon. Donations were then collected, and while they were being counted, Fr. Ryan Mann (St. Charles Borromeo, Parma) and Fr. Jacob Bearer (St. Francis de Sales, Akron) provided many laughs with three improv comedy skits.

Enjoy more photos here. Thank you so much for all of your prayers and support!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Prayer for the Nativity Fast

In the Byzantine Tradition, the 40-day fasting period in preparation for the Nativity of Our Lord begins today. Below is a prayer from the service of Royal Hours on the eve of the Nativity. It can be used as a daily prayer during the Nativity Fast. May your journey to this great feast be blessed!

O Christ our Lord and God, You did not think equality with God something to be grasped at, but You emptied Yourself, took the form of a slave and were born in human likeness. Enlighten us as we prepare to celebrate Your holy birth. Make us worthy to see the mystery of Your becoming man for us, while remaining God in eternity. Fill our minds with understanding, that we might see You even in the least of our brothers and sisters. You have given us the gift of Your Holy Spirit, You have loved us even to the point of your saving death and glorious resurrection, grant us also a faith that cannot be confused, a love that does not pretend, and a wisdom that is complete. You have said, "Unless you become like children, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven." Grant that in this feast we may again experience the rebirth we were given in baptism, and sing out with the angels, "Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth to those on whom His favor rests." You have humbled Yourself, O Christ our God. May Your name be exalted, together with the name of Your eternal Father and the name of Your all-holy, good and life-giving Spirit, now and ever and forever. Amen.