A picture is worth a thousand words I hear. This is a smattering of what we've been up to. We are neither here nor there as we decide our next step on this journey of life. We know it will be exciting when we "land" somewhere, but meanwhile we are in flux and trying to stay faithful in watching and praying.
This Eastern Catholic Church in Homer Glen near Chicago was a highlight of our recent travels. The priest, Father Loya, is the host of Light of the East on EWTN. He has hand painted every square inch of this church over the last 15 years. He encouraged us not to view this church as extraordinary saying," it is a run of the mill Byzantine Church." Beautiful things built for God have become so scarce that this becomes a standout when it should be normal. He also had strong words for an overweight, medicine dependent society and encouraged everyone to take up the Eastern Churches' call to fast 4 times a year to promote the interior life and health of the external man. As I looked around, most his congregation would fall into that category. Albeit hard to hear, the truth must be preached in season and out of season.
Our family is praying for you, our friends known and unknown, near and far. We hope you've made memories this summer and found yourself vulnerable enough to love and be loved that together we can hunger and thirst for God. I pray we are realizing every good thing in this life pales in comparison with heaven, bearing in my that all the ills will pass away with creation coming into its perfect redeemed state.
We found one! We found a diamond in the rough! With great joy we recently visited the Holy Transfiguration Skete up on the shores of Lake Superior and the Keweenaw Penninsula. It's amazing what a little Google search with the word "Byzantine" can pull up for you. In all our decades of coming "up north" for bits of the summer, we never knew we were just a few easy hours from a Byzantine Monastery! This places bustles with the lives of 7 concecrated men, some of which are young. Let's hear a hooray for vocations!
Being Byzantine or Eastern Catholics canonically who practice Roman Rite at home, we find this more rare Eastern presence so refreshing. It's like an oasis in the desert. The places where this truly "Ancient Faith" is stored are like a mystical experience for my soul.
This place towers over the shore and yet exists dwarfed in the majestic Michigan woods along the famed Covered Highway. The Skete supports itself with its Jampot which is well known for its jam, aged organic fruit cakes and confectionary delights which are shipped anywhere year round. The monks themselves live by the very work of their hands and have done so in this place for 32 years. The heavily bearded, black cassock wearing monks are cheerily welcoming and inspirational in their dedication to love, labor and savor a life completely hidden for God, in Christ.
During our short visit there weren't any "Great Vespers" or "Divine Liturgies" happening, so we will definetly have to return. I cannot wait to see in their chapel and receive some spiritual food, wade in nearby Jacob's Falls, and take a dip in expansive Lake Superior.
May Our Lord be forever honored in this holy and living place on the shore up north!
In His Grip,