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.

The outreach of Nazareth House Apostolate is in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Matthew 25:31-46. For more information see our website at www.nazarethhouseap.org

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.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016





Nazareth House Apostolate, St. Simeon Skete endeavors to serve those who seek to deepen the spiritual life through the Prayer Rope and offers a place of prayer to nourish the soul.
Like many monastic enclosures, we struggle to maintain the property & buildings and make ends meet. And like many other small convents and monasteries, as well as churches, we are burdened with a mortgage and necessary operational expenses. And yet, we hope for the ability to implement new projects and produce publications to further enhance spiritual opportunities for those we serve. So... on this #GivingTuesday I was preparing a great spiel on why you should give to Nazareth House Apostolate today.
However, what keeps gnawing at my heart... what keeps running through my head... is that the greatest need, for us at the skete, for you, for our nation, for the world is PRAYER. So as much as we need donations, and we do need financial support!,...we need prayers more. The whole world needs prayers more than we need donations. So on this #GivingTuesday, St. Simeon Skete is asking you to give the gift of prayer. Find a quiet space and pray. Pray for your family, your neighbor, the one you think deserves no prayer, pray for your pastor, your organist, the mechanic that fixes your car, pray for St. Simeon Skete, the world, children -born and unborn, pray... please pray. Thank you. God bless you all!


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Mary, Messenger of Peace

Today, Tuesday, September 6th, Nazareth House Apostolate, St. Simeon Skete celebrates its 20th Annual Feast of Our Lady of Nazareth, Mary, Messenger of Peace. 

Painting of the Statue of Mary, Messenger of Peace created after the appearance:
The following is written by Fr. Gabriel Harty, OP from his book "Heaven Sent":


Be content – you have all you need (Heaven Sent, Fr. Gabriel Harty, Pg. 124)

Only when pressed did Fr Seraphim reveal the secret that kept him in this sacred orbit. Once when alone in his hermitage, he saw a woman standing before him. She was dressed in Eastern garb and looked most graciously at him, with her right hand raised high and in an attitude of blessing. 



The left hand was stretched out to him and he strained to see what it was offering. It was empty, which he took to mean that there was really nothing that he lacked 


...He understood that he had all he needed and that the secret of spiritual living was to be content and to live in the present moment with the resources at hand. By way of bringing this truth home, Seraphim said that he would be content and at peace even if faced with capture and death, for he knew in his heart that with the divine grace he would have the resources at the time to accept whatever God had in store for him. When pressed about the woman who appeared so briefly in his cell, his words were: ‘I can’t call it a vision or apparition, it was all too real. She stood there a real woman of flesh and blood.’ Wishing to have an image made of what he has witnessed, Fr Seraphim realised that he could not afford to engage a fully-fledged artist. He had heard, however, of a young sculpture student, and when he met her, the first thing she blurted out was: ‘I had a dream last night that I was making a statue of Our Lady with the right hand raised and the left hand outstretched.’ I told him that he should try to contact this young lady again and have her give a written testimony relating her experience. -Harty, Gabriel (2012-05-23). Heaven Sent (p. 124 -125). Veritas. Kindle Edition. 


Rest for my soul 
I came away from St Simeon Skete with renewed devotion to the Rosary as an instrument of evangelisation and as a grace-filled means of contemplative prayer. From an ecumenical point of view, I am glad of having had the experience, though it was not easy coping with the Divine Office of Morning and Evening Prayer plus Compline each day – much longer than ours and chanted chorally with the King James version of the Psalms and Readings. Saint Simeon Skete has given me my own ‘old Kentucky home’, for everything there confirmed my long-established appreciation of the Gospel-value that underlies our traditional Marian Rosary. Father Seraphim and his beloved wife brought me back to the words of the Prophet Jeremiah, 6: 16: ‘Halt at the cross-roads, look well and ask yourselves which path it was that stood you in good stead long ago. That path follow, and you shall find rest for your souls.’   -Harty, Gabriel (2012-05-23). Heaven Sent (p. 124 -125). Veritas. Kindle Edition. 




"Lord Jesus, we thank you for giving us Mary, Messenger of Peace, to be our Mother.  Great warmth fills our hearts as we take refuge in the tenderness of your Mother's gaze; Grant that we might receive her message of peace by realizing what we have and who we are is enough, as we pray and live Your Way, Name and Life in union with Mary, Messenger of Peace." Amen 

Seraphim explains that the hand of Mary, Messenger of Peace is empty because we already have all we need to love and be God’s people. How many more churches do we need; how many more denominations do we need? Most of “religion” is the result of: not finding God; not finding Him to be enough; and not wanting Him to be enough. Much of religion is not about God, its about control and to a large degree political parties are not about good government, they’re after control.  

Not finding God to be enough, not realizing we have what we need to live out the Shema (Mark 12:29-31) breeds greed and violence. Some years ago a reporter interviewing Seraphim asked “What happens if you’re captured by the rebels and shot?” Without a blink of hesitation he responded: “I have absolutely everything I need in order to be shot and killed and conversely I absolutely have everything I need to continue on living in this body.”

The essence of Mary's Message can be summed up in these words "You already have everything you need to be a follower of my Son by doing whatever He says." (St. Mercy Hermitage 6 Sept. 1996/ John 2:5) 














Friday, August 5, 2016

19th NHA Annual Rosary Novena for Peace


The above is a 1916 photo of a soldier in the midst of heavy battle; he clings to his rosary, preparing for death.

Rosary Novena For Peace
(Using the Remnant Rosary) 

(6th August to 15th August)
Nazareth House Apostolate 
St. Simeon Skete
185 Captains Cove Dr 
Taylorsville, KY 40071

On August 6th, 1945 at 8:15 AM Japan Standard Time an American B-29 bomber, The Enola Gay, drops the world's first atom bomb, over the city of Hiroshima. Approximately 80,0000 people are killed as a direct result of the blast, and another 35,000 are injured.  At least another 60,000 would be dead by the end of the year from the effects of the fallout.


Tonight at 7:15 PM  EST (thirteen hours behind JST), the chapel bell at St. Simeon Skete tolled 71 times, one ring for each year since the bomb was dropped. This will begin our nineteenth Annual Novena for Peace.  We invite you to join us in setting apart a special prayer time these next Nine Days (beginning tomorrow) with the intention of peace.


"All these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer with Mary, the Mother of Jesus" -Acts 1: 14

A TALE OF TWO CITIES
Nazareth where Mary gave us her peace plan:
“Do whatever He says” -Jn. 2:5
and

Hiroshima where it was ignored.


NAZARETH
Nazareth is where our Lord spent his hidden life, where “nothing” was coming forth but tables and chairs, where He lived as we must live, where the Son of God was simply the son of Mary and Joseph. The hiddeness and ordinariness of Nazareth is an icon to something beyond self. It is the accepting that people may say of us what others said of Him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (Jn.1:46), i.e. can anything good come out of this life of “ordinariness” and “hiddeness”, strategically placed in areas of need, making a difference by entering into the moment? Praying this Rosary Novena for Peace is our answer “for he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us” (Eph. 2:14); it is our answer because He said “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (Jn.14:27); it is our an- swer because we’re sent forth with peace, “Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you” (Jn. 20:21).

The Peace Plan for the World is Jesus, who gave us The Commandment (Mk. 12:28-31) to have a right relationship with God and Man. We can realize the Commandment when we follow Mary’s instruction relative to her Son, “Do whatever he says” (Jn.2:5). When we take up the Rosary, we are praying the life of Christ with a determination to do what he says in the Nazareth of our lives, Jesus.

HIROSHIMA
The atomic bomb named "Little Boy" was dropped on Hiroshima by the Enola Gay, a Boeing B-29 bomber at 8:15 in the morning of August 6, 1945. Immediately after the atomic bomb was dropped 70,000 Japanese were instantly killed.

As we experience this Rosary Novena for peace remember not only the destruction of that morning in 1945 but also the bombs that continue to drop. Bombs... bombs of intolerance, hatred, pride, unforgiveness, greed and selfishness. These destructions dropped by the planes of commerce, enforcement, body politics and religion where there is no longer any room for He who said, "What you've done unto the least of these my brethren you've done unto me." Mt. 25:40
May this Rosary Novena for Peace do what theology cannot: put a human face on suffering and redemption. May we find sacred space in two “conflicting” yet complementary Biblical quota- tions:

 "Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted" (Mt. 5:4) and
"The Lord has given, the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." (Job 1 :21)

Both thoughts can serve as a response to the two cities: those who mourn will be comforted, and all has happened as part of God’s perfect will and permissive will.

May you take up the Rosary once more, as I have asked many times in the past, and pray it in an In- carnational manner for the "little ones" and for peace in our world.

May priests and religious chart programs of infiltrating areas of greatest need, "broadcasting" and bearing the Mysteries to the ends of the earth (Acts 1 :8). May they introduce and re-introduce this praying of the Rosary into all areas of life: families, cities, neighborhoods, offices, riding buses, walking streets ...

May we be aided in all our efforts with the grace and strength of the Lord whose life we contemplate in the Rosary, and may we be accompanied by Our Lady of the Nazareth as we continue the work of entering into all of life with the Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6).

“Mary, Messenger of Peace”.
  1. Her right hand raised in a gesture 
    of peace. 


  2. Left hand held out in a gesture of offering but there’s nothing in her hand. The reason why her hand is empty is because we already have all we need to love and be God’s people. 


    How many more churches do we need; how many more denominations do we need? Most of “religion” is the result of: not finding God; not finding Him to be enough; and not wanting Him to be enough. Much of religion is not about God, its about control and to a large degree political parties are not about good government, they’re after control. 

    Not finding God to be enough, not realizing we have what we need to live out the Shema (Mark 12:29 -31) breeds greed and violence. Some years ago a reporter interviewing Seraphim asked “What happens if you’re captured by the rebels and shot?” Without a blink of hesitation he responded: “I have absolutely everything I need in order to be shot and killed and conversely I have absolutely everything I need to continue on living in this body.” 




ENCOURAGEMENTS
1. Relative to the orientation message and the deaths of Hiroshima, instead of asking why, try to focus on the kind of theology needed to explain these events.
2. Meditate on the following Scriptures: Mt. 25:31-46; Heb. 13:3; John 1:14
3. Vicki Hicks on a trip to Africa organized a team to bear witness of the slaughter of 280 young people who were caught after curfew. She went with her Rosary and prayed on the sight of the tragedy with what she called instead of "air drops", "prayer drops." Find a place of great need, go, take your Rosary, and pray. Such places could be among the rich poor, ie. banking, insurance, judicial, law offices, etc.
4. If you cannot come to the skete to pray your Novena before the Shrine for Peace, print out the photo below, so you can be in solidarity with those who can be present at the 5:00 PM Vespers and Rosary. Create a sacred space, enthrone your picture, kneel, say your Rosary. This can be done at home or places as suggested above.

Remember dear ones, sacrifice, penance and prayer.
My love-
Being absorbed Into His Mercy, 
  - Seraphim+ 







The Shrine
The Rosary Novena for Peace Shrine has a dual focus; one representing Nazareth in the statue of Mary, Messenger of Peace that we might realize what we have and who we are is enough as we pray and live our Lord’s Way, Name and Life in union with Mary, Messenger of Peace.

The second focus, to the left of Mary, Messenger of Peace, is an urn which contains Trinitite, representing Hiroshima. Trinitite is the surface of the earth that was instantaneously melted by the heat of the first atomic bomb test blast. Shortly before dawn on July 16, 1945, at 5:29:45 AM Mountain War Time, the atomic age was born. After years of experimentation and preparation, the plutonium bomb, nicknamed "the Gadget," was placed on top of a one-hundred foot tower at a site termed "Trinity" by the scientists of the "Manhattan Project." Inside, about twelve pounds of plutonium was imploded to start the fusion reaction which resulted in a blast equal to twenty thousand tons of TNT. The fireball was almost as bright as twenty suns. It is this melted earth from the first atomic bomb blast that is housed in the urn of the shrine. 

“Lord Jesus, we thank you for giving us Mary, Messenger of Peace, to be our Mother. Great warmth fills our hearts as we take refuge in the tenderness of your Mother’s gaze; Grant that we might receive her message of peace by realizing what we have and who we are is enough, as we pray and live Your Way, Name and Life in union with Mary, Messenger of Peace.” Amen. 



Litany of Non-Violence

God, aware of my own brokenness,
I ask the gift of courage to identify how 

and where I am in need of conversation 

in order to live in solidarity with all people.


Deliver me from the violence of superiority and disdain. 
Grant me the desire, and the humility,
to listen with special care to those whose experiences 
and attitudes are different from my own.


Deliver me from the violence of greed and privilege. 
Grant me the desire, and the will, to live simply
so others may have their just share of Earth’s resources.


Deliver me from the silence that gives consent 
to abuse, war and evil.
Grant me the desire, and the courage, to risk speaking 
and acting for the common good.


Deliver me from the violence of irreverence, exploitation and control.
Grant me the desire, and the strength, 
to act responsibly within the cycle of creation.


God of love, mercy and justice,
acknowledging my complicity in those attitudes,

action and words which perpetuate violence, 
I beg the grace of a non-violent heart. Amen. 


Start your Rosary Novena for Peace on the 6th day of August. Say the Chaplet of the day, according to the day of the week. For instance, If the 6th of August falls on a Saturday you begin the Novena with the Joyful Mysteries.  This year we begin on a Saturday. 


Mondays and Saturdays– Joyful Mysteries 
Tuesdays and Fridays - Sorrowful Mysteries 
Wednesdays and Sundays—Glorious 
Mysteries Thursdays—Luminous Mysteries 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Pilgrimage

Seeing the divisiveness of the world today, especially in America, a young reporter sought out a Desert monk to receive wisdom on how religion could "fix things".   The reporter tried to be clever and was hoping to get a story that might either generate disagreement or a positive response in order to better the ratings.  However, when asked the question on how to reclaim unity,  and bring people back to God, the monk just answered "Pilgrimage" and turned and walked away.  The Reporter was speechless and stood there, trying to figure out what to do next.


We understand the monk completely. At the skete,  we have always sought to make pilgrimage.


 Throughout history people have made pilgrimages to Holy Places.



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.



"The evolution of modern transportation systems and requirements to fit into work schedules have changed pilgrimage.  Few today would entertain a year -round trip from the UK to the Holy Land, which was the norm in the middle ages - along with all the hardships."  - Dr. Justine Digance of Griffith University of Australia.  In America, even fewer make pilgrimages.




When the monk replied "Pilgrimage"; what he was saying is that if more people began to come apart from the daily bombardment of the media, the political scene and the economy that seek to divide us with the industrialization of horror and doubt and if we instead searched out holy places we would begin to disconnect to connect.  And the connection is a re-connecting to God.  The journey done right makes the arriving rewarding.





The definition of a Pilgrim is a person who journeys to a sacred place for religious reasons.





As you've heard us say so many times here at St. Simeon Skete, it is the walking the path we pray and praying the path we walk.


A pilgrimage is a spiritual journey with a sacred purpose.  It's much more than jumping into the car to go look at Religious Statues.  Its an act of prayer, each step brings us to an intersection of integrating the past, present and future.  Progress is determined by the rest and action.  In our steps, the progress, moving forward is determined by the stability of the rest as found in the foot that holds the weight of the body and the foot that moves forward.  Here we learn to be at home with the ground at our feet.



What do we do on pilgrimage?

"And what I say unto you, I say unto all: Watch." Mk. 13:37








Let us create space dedicated to God in our lives, departing from the ways of the world.  

Pilgrimage

Seeing the divisiveness of the world today, especially in America, a young reporter sought out a Desert monk to receive wisdom on how religion could "fix things".   The reporter tried to be clever and was hoping to get a story that might either generate disagreement or a positive response in order to better the ratings.  However, when asked the question on how to reclaim unity,  and bring people back to God, the monk just answered "Pilgrimage" and turned and walked away.  The Reporter was speechless and stood there, trying to figure out what to do next.


We understand the monk completely. At the skete,  we have always sought to make pilgrimage.


 Throughout history people have made pilgrimages to Holy Places.



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.



"The evolution of modern transportation systems and requirements to fit into work schedules have changed pilgrimage.  Few today would entertain a year -round trip from the UK to the Holy Land, which was the norm in the middle ages - along with all the hardships."  - Dr. Justine Digance of Griffith University of Australia.  In America, even fewer make pilgrimages.




When the monk replied "Pilgrimage"; what he was saying is that if more people began to come apart from the daily bombardment of the media, the political scene and the economy that seek to divide us with horror and doubt and if we instead searched out holy places we would begin to disconnect to connect.  And the connection is a re-connecting to God.  The journey done right makes the arriving rewarding.





The definition of a Pilgrim is a person who journeys to a sacred place for religious reasons.




As you've heard us say so many times here at St. Simeon Skete, it is the walking the path we pray and praying the path we walk.


A pilgrimage is a spiritual journey with a sacred purpose.  It's much more than jumping into the car to go look at Religious Statues.  Its an act of prayer, each step brings us to an intersection of integrating the past, present and future.  Progress is determined by the rest and action.  In our steps, the progress, moving forward is determined by the stability of the rest as found in the foot that holds the weight of the body and the foot that moves forward.  Here we learn to be at home at the ground of our feet.



What do we do on pilgrimage?

"And what I say unto you, I say unto all: Watch." Mk. 13:37