St. Simeon Skete, Taylorsville Kentucky USA

With St. Simeon, the God receiver, as our patron, the skete seeks to practice the ideals found in our Rule, The Thousand Day Nazareth. In simplicity and poverty, the skete embraces the struggle of inner life through the practice of the Prayer Rope.

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Donations should be addressed to: Nazareth House Apostolate, 185 Captains Cove Drive, Taylorsville, Kentucky 40071.

Important Notice: All writings, posts, graphics & photographs in this blog are the copyrighted property of (unless otherwise indicated) Nazareth House Media, a division of Nazareth House Apostolate and cannot be copied, printed or used without written permission from NHA Media, Taylorsville, KY.

Sunday, February 18, 2024


Let your light so shine before men, that they may 

see your good works, and glorify your Father which 

is in heaven. St. Matt. v. 16.


Good Morning,

“I am the light of the world,” said Christ. Because he has come, we are no longer living in the shadow of death. We can live in light. But without darkness, we would not know the light.

God allows us to enter the darkness because he desires intensely that we identify with him, who took on himself the darkness of sin. In the darkness, we experience our helplessness and powerlessness.

In the darkness, we are blind. Now God can heal us. The act of faith takes place in darkness, in regions where intellect cannot penetrate. When we enter this darkness of faith, eventually the light bursts in. But not right away. First God says: “If you believe in me, come.” But most of us are too filled with fear even to start out.

There is a story of a boy in a burning house. His father is outside, calling to him, “Jump! Jump!” The child cries, “Daddy, I can’t see you!” “That’s okay,” the father says, “I can see you.” We want to see, not only the Father, whose arms are poised to catch us, but the very earth beneath his feet. We want everything sorted out and in order. We are afraid to walk into what seems like chaos to us, but is really perfect order to God.

We want to say to God, “Let’s get organized,” and God refuses to organize himself to our standards. We cannot manipulate him—but oh, how we try! — Soul of My Soul

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Pray, Pray Always

 "On this earthly pilgrimage—which for many has become a lonely road--we must walk in faith, keeping in our hearts the love of God above all things.

If you don’t know the faith, learn it. If you have forgotten it, find someone who knows it...get out the Bible and read, study and inwardly digest it.
Don’t be caught up in endless pointless polemics about who is more catholic (or proper or spiritual or devoted or more right) than whom. It’s the grand strategy of the devil to pit us against each other. He can do that easily if we don’t know what we’re doing, where we’re going, or why we claim the name Christian.
"We are hearing about and experiencing censorship in one manner or another these days -- Remember- No-one or Nothing can censor our prayers except our own sins. Pray, Pray always." - NHA (Remnant)

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Faith is a gift of God


O LORD, we beseech thee mercifully to receive the prayers of thy people who call upon thee; and grant that they may both perceive and know what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfil the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Good Morning

 Faith is a gift of God. Only he can bestow it, and it is a gift that he passionately desires to give us. However, he can only give it to us if we ask for it. When we ask for faith, we are turning our face towards his face, and he can look into our heart. He loves to see us facing him, but we for some reason try to avoid this. Even while begging him for favors, we close the eyes of our soul, so as to avoid looking at him. 

Yet he is always looking at us, with deep love. It is faith that allows us to enter peacefully into the dark night each of us faces at one time or another. Faith walks simply, like a child, between the darkness of human life and the hope of what is to come, “for eye has not seen, nor ear heard what God reserves for those who love him.” Faith is a kind of folly, a folly of God himself. Faith breaks through barriers. When our face is turned to God in faith, our eyes meet his, and each day becomes more luminous. 

The veil between God and us becomes thinner and thinner, until it seems we can almost reach out and touch him.  “For I am certain of this: neither death nor life, no angel, no prince, nothing that exists, nothing still to come, not any power, or height or depth, nor any created thing, can ever come between us and the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38–39 -(God in the Nitty-Gritty Life) 

Monday, January 11, 2021

“Down through the centuries and generations it has been seen that in suffering there is concealed a particular power that draws a person interiorly close to Christ, a special grace. To this grace many saints ... owe their profound conversion. A result of such a conversion is not only that the individual discovers the salvific meaning of suffering but above all that he becomes a completely new person. He discovers a new dimension, as it were, of his entire life and vocation ...”- John Paul II 

"The Jesus Prayer is understood best, when it is considered in connection with the Eucharist, where we are permitted to join our self-surrender to Christ's perfect act of Love: Bringing before Thee Thine of Thine own, From all and for all (Liturgy of St.John Chrysostom) In this self-offering within the consecration, we are part of Christ, even before we receive Him in communion. Both self-oblation and communion are things which happen in eternity as well as in time. In the Eucharist, it is self-evident that Christ is all that we have and and all that we are. He is, one might say, the most perfect expression of the whole of our being as we desire it to be. Our thoughts, our will, all the words we could ever find to express ourselves are Himself. Thus, in the Eucharist, as far as we offer ourselves, we are wholly simple, there we attain oneness. The practice of the Jesus Prayer, in which we allow Christ Himself to be our prayer, is the abiding in this simplicity and oneness." - Mother Maria

Friday, September 18, 2020

Devotion, Prayer, Scotch Tape and Ale8

September is the Month of Mary of Sorrows.  The Feast Day for the Sorrows of Mary is 15th of September.  Nazareth House Apostolate is convinced that Pilgrimage is important and necessary, especially in these troublesome times. 

There is a special place hidden away in Kentucky, where everyday people make pilgrimage.  It is a location where the property owner had a vision of Mary on the top of the hill.  A shrine was built in which the  statue of Mary of Sorrows was placed.  

Stairs reaching up the hill to the shrine were made, the neighbors pitched in. 

When the property owner passed away the neighbors and others purchased the property from Medicare which had taken the property to cover the cost of the lady's medical bills.  This Shrine is not owned by the church, but by laity.   This Shrine is not a church but is most definitely the unity of the Body of Christ within the brethren.

People come here and symbolically lay their hurts, their fears, their struggles, their hopes, their addictions and their thanksgivings at the feet of Mary, the "Yes" to God.  Knowing that Mary will do what she always does, point them to her Son, Jesus.  

At first glance, the artificial flowers, the items piled up at the shrine look almost "kitschy", gaudy... but as with anything, if you take the time to look deeper you see clearer.  Each item is a concrete memorial of the prayers of the people.   

A tape dispenser may be a prayer for binding things together, the Ale8 a last reminder of a deceased loved one, a pack of cigarettes in prayer for quitting.  I've seen full bottles of bourbon, left behind in prayers of sobriety.   This is humanity piled up and laid at our Holy Mother's feet, offered to her Son. 

When you arrive at the Shrine you are greeted by statues of Angels and the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Just a bit East of the Sacred Heart is a Statue of Mary that leads to the bridge and the stairway to the Shrine. 

As you cross the bridge, you look over to see a building being constructed. 

This is a chapel being built by a man who lives in Cleveland, makes the bricks in his basement and hauls them to Kentucky in his old but well maintained car

 periodically adding a row of blocks to the chapel each visit.  The man's name is David Stillwell and he is an amazing Godly man. 

He'd like to finish the chapel some day, but it doesn't matter to him if he doesn't because his efforts are his gift to God. 

The people that come here are all amazing, and it is one of our favorite pilgrimage places to take the pilgrims that come to Nazareth House Apostolate. 

It is a holy place, complete with a stream to prepare for prayer with Ablutions.


“In the Name of...”, make a simple intention, then: 

  1. Wash the hands to the wrists saying: “May these hands be instruments of peace.”
  2. Then cup a handful of water to the lips with the right hand, rinsing the mouth three times saying: “May this mouth speak only the pleasing words, the healing words, the truthful words.”
  3. Then lightly sniff water into the nose three times, which has a remarkable brightening effect on the senses.  Begin this stage by saying: “May I long for the sweet fragrance of His presence”, then sniff the water into the nose. 
  4. Next wash the whole face and eyes saying: “May this face shine with the light of His countenance.  May these eyes behold the hand of the Creator everywhere they look.” 
  5. Clean the ears by inserting the tips of the index fingers, wetted with water, into the ears twisting them around and in the folds of the ears then next pass the thumb behind the ears from the bottom, upwards and then over the nape of the neck saying: “May these ears be attentive to the resonance of His Word; may this neck bend in humility to the One. 
  6. Wash feet (right foot first) up to the ankles, making sure that no parts of the feet are left dry.  “May these feet walk on holy ground.” 

True Ablutions: 

The purpose of washing each of these parts of the body is that it gives you time, bit by bit, part by part, to move your awareness away from the world and toward God.  It is to remind you of the need for inward impurity to be removed, a washing the self of the self (Ps. 51:2,7; Jn. 4:10-14; Jn. 3:3; Gal. 2:20). 

Time to say within your heart: 

I am now going to establish a connection with God

I am going to turn toward God.

I am going to hand over my cares and my love to God. 

As you make your way up the stairs you pass a Nativity Shrine, a Bathtub Mary

and small grottos.  This is not a perfectly groomed, sterile, disinfected, well marketed tourist spot.  This is a place that wreaks of humanity: its flaws, its strengths, positives, negatives -all coming together offering it all to God for His Will to be done.

As you approach the top of the hill you first glimpse a Golden Cross before you see the Shrine.

The shrine is in a cleared area surrounded by woodland and wildflowers.

On our visit for the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows this week, there was a man cutting the grass and trimming with a weed-eater.  He said that he and his wife have taken over the care of the lawn as a penance and devotion to God. 

Pilgrimage is both a journey and a sacred destination.  Its a conscious effort to journey afar either in search of meaning or as an act of praise, prayer and worship.

There are many places in the USA exactly like this, tucked away waiting for people to fill with prayer. In these days of confusion, I urge you to take the time to look for them.  We must remove ourselves from the bombardment of media, social media and all that seeks to distract us from our real center of focus - Our Lord and Our God.   Find your place of pilgrimage and visit often. 

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

"And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while..." - Mark 6:31


Saturday, June 27, 2020

Where is Peace Found?

Matthew 4:1-11 

Keep your eyes on the Heart that refused to turn stones into bread, jump from great heights, and rule with great power. 

Who allows His Heart to be touched by the poor, the maimed, the halt and blind.  A Heart that becomes poor with the poor, rejected with the rejected and abandoned with the abandoned. 

"Where is peace found? - it is there in those places of the heart we feel broken, insecure, in agony, most afraid..   
Why there?  

Because in our weakness our familiar ways of: controlling and manipulating are being stripped away, where we no longer fix, force or find! --  Right there where we are most vulnerable, The Peace That is Not of This World is mysteriously hidden - "Peace that surpasses all understanding will guard your HEARTS and mind through Christ Jesus." - Phil. 4-8. 

You see, I am convinced that everything which happens to us is the instrument by which He Himself draws us into His wounded Heart through our own human condition.  It is He who first suffers the pain we suffer -this is love!  Only in the awesome environment of such Truth can we hear Christ speak to us Heart to heart. 

My Elder, Fr. McNulty, shares a  conversation between himself and Christ - Jesus speaking to him:

"You and I are one. You must not look anywhere else for the meaning of your pain or darkness, no matter what the sin or the consequences of it.  Come into my Heart through yours and I will show you everything.  All I need is a heart pierced by its own human condition just like Mine has been pierced, a heart that has no place else to go but to My Heart. I will do the rest."

Only God can say and do things like that.  This is not psychology, or mere spirituality, but Grace formed by revelation, not meant to be learned theoretically, but personally experienced and assimilated." -Seraphim+ NHA

Jesus Is Tested in the Wilderness

4 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple.6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”
11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Friday, June 26, 2020

The Rich Man and Lazarus

"The rich man didn't notice Lazarus.  He didn't see Lazarus.

There's a certain way the Gospel is heard when a person's stomach is empty and when a person's stomach is satisfied.

(Mt. 11:5- 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.)  The Gospel is first preached to those who are NOT full.

When you are empty, abandoned, uncared for, and feel like there is no way out - not just for the next five minutes but for your life...  What happens to the human spirit when that is the situation?

How do you relate to life? How do you continue to believe? How do you continue to have hope?  How do you continue to care?  Can faith still be quick and glib?

There are two kinds of Lazarus:
1. The Lazarus that identifies with the individual
2. The Lazarus that confronts

People ask the question, "if God is good and caring how come all this bad is happening?"

But the answers can't be too quick, they'll pass away as fast as they came!  Why? Because they've never been thirsted for, or any space made inside for,  or agonized for.  So often when the answer comes, its an excuse to stop asking, thirsting, or longing.  If your answers are still working, then you're not growing.

What Jesus, The Cross reveals is that God is not separate from humanity, history, suffering, pain, loss or loneliness.  God is He who is participating with us, in us and as us!  That's the only hope many have in this world.

We must face life and death.  Everything is dying, shedding its strength, breaking down, wearing out.  That's hard for us to accept and all our life we've been looking for the opposite; something that is not dying, shedding strength, breaking down or wearing out.

For years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, our government, Christmas, marriages, etc.  How can we expect anything from God when we demand He leave us alone?

It is better to love God and die unknown than to love the world and be a big shot!

When I leave my books, answers, security and certitudes behind and I open the door (Rev. 3:20 - Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me) it means putting my life on the line.  When I go through the door, will I see the Lazarus who is Jesus? the Lazarus who is ignored? the Lazarus who is discounted, hunted, shot?

Or ..when I go through the door will I continue to see my own definitions of truth, reality, certitudes and discounting that in reality keeps me from seeing any definitions, truth, reality or certitudes."   
Seraphim's+, journal

The Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16 19-31)

19 “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's side.[a] The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ 27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father's house— 28 for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”