13th June 2021
A Message from Abbot Mark
The ‘joy of the moment when Jesus looked at me’ as Pope Francis calls it is ultimately the reason why every monk joins his monastery. Each monk, like every Christian, has a different recollection of that transforming moment in his own life. For me the gaze and the voice of the Lord Jesus began to be a part of my life in my late teens. A few years later, I was 22 in 1979 when I arrived at Worth Abbey to become a novice in our Benedictine fraternity.
Since then, I have found that for each individual his or her encounter with the Lord Jesus establishes a calm and steady joy, like a quiet flame burning in our heart. As we monks live out our monastic calling, the Lord Jesus awakens within us an ever new mindfulness of his love, an inner energy that flows from his risen life. Like all our Christian brothers and sisters, monks call this joy God’s gift of his Holy Spirit.
Our fraternal life in the monastery is about recognising in each and celebrating with all God’s gift of joy, this calm centre to our lives, in daily thanksgiving to God, the ‘Father of Lights’ (James, 1.17). And it is also about offering a recognition of the same gift present in those whom the Lord Jesus calls to stand alongside us and to join us on our pilgrimage.
As I begin my ministry among my brethren and our wider Abbey Family as the seventh Abbot of Worth Abbey I invite you to come with me and all of the monks of Worth Abbey on our shared pilgrimage of prayer. In each one of us, the journey begins in hearing the Lord’s words, ‘You did not choose me, but I chose you’ (John 15.16), and it takes us to meet the One who already and always ‘seeks his workman in a multitude of people’ (Rule of St Benedict, Prologue 14).
Our Lady, Help of Christians, pray for us.
St Benedict, pray for us.