“The monastery emanated an aura of serenity…”

The monastery emanated an aura of serenity and reverence. Besides the rustling of leaves and the wind dancing amidst the treetops, I was all alone. As the sun hid behind the clouds I gazed upon the facade of the monastery. Forlorn, decaying yet defiant in it’s timeless beauty, it captured my imagination. Looking up at the archaic entrance of the monastery, I read with a sense of reverence the ancient Greek inscriptions, “Let the love of Christ be the light of your life that guides you”. I stood in awe and silence. The words resonated within the depths of my soul and my heart stirred with sheer love for whom I loved most, Christ Jesus. Eventually passing through the doorway I felt an immense sense of tranquility, as though I had stepped from modernity into a bygone era devoid of superficial distractions.

“Suffering had merely tempered his heart…”

The sun cast its radiant glow over the blue water lapping against the sandstone walls. A lone man selling sea sponges on a boat gently bobbed in the water. From early morning to late afternoon, he would ply his trade. Despite rarely selling his wares, he was blessed with a radiant smile full of joy. I was drawn to this man with whom I struck up a friendship. Our talks revealed a life born of fortitude amidst adversity, yet filled with joy and amazing warmth. Suffering had merely tempered his heart, and in this man I sensed a deep sense of humility and serenity despite hardship. Never before had I experienced such hospitality. One day, in silent awe I looked at this man with love and said “God bless you in all things, and may you always find refuge in Him”. He responded with a sad but warm smile of conviction. “And that’s the greatest gift that one can ever wish for in life”

“Life has taught me that there is beauty and grace …”

The trials that we face in life are many, at times seemingly insurmountable, threatening to engulf us. The narrow path, however difficult and fraught with sacrifice is the mirror that reveals what we believe in and what we live for. Pain and suffering strip away the mask that represents the fragility of our lives. Life has taught me, that there is beauty and grace to be found even in the most difficult of times. A gentle word, a kind thought or an act of compassion during such trials manifests a spirit of hope and gratitude. The ability to love with courage beyond human strength and understanding, to show fortitude in times of adversity reflects what, and more importantly in Whom we live for. Yet how many pause to acknowledge that silent voice that forever knocks at the doorstep of our hearts, that has always beckoned us stirring, within the depths of our soul.

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29