Letter to our friends

Whit Sunday 2012

Dear Friends,

The monks of Egypt, in ancient times, were simple people, issued in their great majority from the rural world. It is their way of life that made “giants” out of them – faithful to the service of the Lord, according to the fine expression of Saint Benedict – and faithful to prayer. Formed by the contact with an experienced elder, they have left us the account of their experiences and their difficulties, and the advice of the elders aided them to persevere in the monastic life. These are called apophthegms (according to the Greek root: sentences, maxims of the elders).

Today there may also be simple people, issued no longer from the now dispersed rural world, but from urban zones; and the same life led with the same sincerity and in the same way will make out of them a new group of men, faithful to the service of the Lord and of prayer. These youth of today, formed by elders – that is, those youth of yesterday of which the hair, if there is still any, has whitened – can equally leave their accounts taken from real life experiences.

And so here are some contemporary apophthegms gathered by our brothers. The first is borrowed from a homily of the Holy Father on Maundy Thursday: “Saints show us (…) how we should put ourselves to the service of Christ. And they help us understand that God does not look at great numbers and exterior success, but makes his victories in the humble sign of the mustard seed.” Here we find enough to console the monks who devote themselves to making the mustards of Novy Dvur.

The second apophthegm is due to the pen of the cellarer of Sept-Fons, who, offering to his clients the most recent product of the Abbey of Novy Dvur, writes: “Do not be surprised if the shower gel does not foam up like soap. The more a gel foams up, the more it is irritating.” It would thus be the foam which would be irritating and reveal little of the quality of the product! To move in on his thinking: your lives as well as ours, our lives as well as yours are weaved together in such a way that worries, contradictions and all kinds of obstacles are never lacking. Some people make a great deal of foam about it. Others know how to pass over them, avoiding making mountains out of these things; they fill up valleys, transform cliffs into large plains and bluffs into shaded prairies. And so, they flatten the path of the Lord (cf. Is 41, 3). Whosoever has lived in a monastic community or in a numerous family knows just how much this precept is true. So, let’s avoid the foam! And to do this, choose, rather than others, the shower gel of Novy Dvur!

And now more news: two solemn professions have passed or are coming up: that of Brother Marian at Novy Dvur, on May 8; that of Brother Jean-Gabriel at Sept-Fons, the day of the Pentecost. Brother Marian is from Slovakia, from a little town located on the frontier which separated his country from Hungary. Brother Jean-Gabriel bears the name of a French Lazarist priest, martyred in China. Vast horizons come together around the same vocation. Again at Sept-Fons, on the day of the Feast of the Holy Heart, Brother Jean the Baptist will be ordained priest and Brother Petr will be ordained deacon. We confide to your prayer these young brothers.

You will be receiving in September a special issue to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the foundation of Novy Dvur (August 20, 2002-2012). We will mark that anniversary by an increase of recollection and of prayer. In this special issue, you will find a reflection on this theme: is it legitimate for monks to solicit the generosity of their friends? In the meantime, be assured of our most sincere thanks.

Thank God, with us, for these past ten years and ask him for his protection for the years to come. We pray regularly for each one of your intentions.

With my faithful sentiments,
Br. M.-Samuel,
Abbot of Novy Dvur

Tenth Anniversary Homily – Saint Bernard 2012

February 2009
September, 2nd 2014
Autumn 2013
July 5, 2013
March 10, 2013
A few weeks before Christmas 2012
September 2, 2012, Solemnity of the Dedication of Novy Dvur
January 11, 2012
September 30, 2011, Feast of Saint Jerome
May 1 2011
September 2 2010
May, 2010
January 29, 2010
Pentecost 2009
February 2009
May, 2008
February 2, 2008
September 2, 2007
July 5, 2007
September 2, 2006
March 25, 2006
February 2, 2006
September 2, 2005