Letter to our friends

A few weeks before Christmas 2012

Dear Friends,

Christmas can be the time of widening our horizons, instead of closing them in as we usually do. There is the  story of a Russian Christian, who complained that the number of believers had greatly diminished. Someone asked him, “How many are there?” The other person responded – with a small number – and his interlocutor said, “That’s enough!” How many monks and Christians are we? During the course of the last century, the world changed. Christendom, from which missionaries went to carry the Good News, disappeared. From now on, we are in the midst of the mission land. The two Cities, Christian and non-Christian, are entangled, one with the  other. It is a new situation that requires new attitudes and a new faithfulness. Today, like yesterday, Christians and monks serve the Lord through those who live around them. And since the world is small, since it is enough to just get in an airplane to catch up to the path of the sun, who are those who are the closest to us? All of humanity. When we pray, the Lord leans over everyone. Without this conviction of faith, would there really be young people to commit themselves to the monastic life today?

This Christmas and the New Year, you will not receive a calendar. The newsletter that celebrated the tenth anniversary of the foundation of Novy Dvur will have to take its place. We do not let events such as this one break the banal rhythm and the ordinary rhythm of our lives. For that very banality can hide a precious fidelity. Isn’t it pretty much the same among our families? That said, let us try to gather some special events. First of all, the  construction work.

At Novy Dvur, the construction on the workshop buildings is progressing normally. Since the number and the volume of our monastic products are increasing, these new areas will be welcome, theoretically in spring 2014 . And so it is time to start thinking about the construction of the Stella Matutina chapel, which we have been talking about for such a long time. It will be an easily accessible place where our visitors will be able to pray during the day.

At Sept-Fons, we have been talking for a long time about restoring the common areas (washroom, cloister, dormitory). If God wills it… Let us avoid making any estimates of the date of the beginning of the works, however necessary they may be. As you know, Sept-Fons also helps other monastic communities.

Recently, I had the chance, for a few days, to share the daily life of one of these communities that possessed nothing that it should have been able to legitimately claim: neither liberty of movement, nor comfort, nor sufficient resources, nor any of the necessary means of giving a solid formation to its young members, nor personalities powerful enough to confront this exceptional situation, nor out-of-the ordinary virtues! And yet, in that community, which is to all appearances very poor, the brothers pray, develop, persevere, and welcome younger members who join. The work of divine grace is perceptible. Upon my return, a brother asked me: “Did this visit change the  way you look at Novy Dvur?” – “Yes,” I said, “I understand better the role of grace; I am less afraid of my own shortcomings and the shortcomings of the brothers.”

We will finish this letter with an anecdote. Last spring, one of our brothers whose family came to visit told me, in the evening, what he had heard: a comet was going to smash into planet Earth and destroy it. There wasn’t anybody who wasn’t talking about it… The end of the world would be set for this autumn! I had a good laugh. A brother of Sept-Fons, to whom I told that tale over the telephone, said to me, “What luck!” Autumn has passed, with neither comet nor end of the world on the horizon… Should we say “alas”? Some competent friends, professionals in several domains, help our community with their advice. One of them, in Prague, organised a symposium in Japan last October on the subject: Putting an end to catastrophism. No one from our ranks participated, obviously. But I promised myself to offer to our two cellarers, that of Sept-Fons and that of Novy Dvur, the results of that meeting: The world is not going as badly as we might think! With these optimistic reflections,

I wish you a joyful Christmas and a Happy New Year 2013.

Br. Samuel, Abbot of Nový Dvůr

February 2009
September, 2nd 2014
Autumn 2013
July 5, 2013
March 10, 2013
September 2, 2012, Solemnity of the Dedication of Novy Dvur
Whit Sunday 2012
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