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.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Written Friday April 13th: 

I just got back from Stations of the cross.  There were children there today, something a little different at the Skete.  
Stations of the Cross at St. Simeon Skete 

People tend to tense up at the thought of children at this service.  They are worried about noises and distractions. 
Os (His Baptism is on Sunday)

But somehow I’m sure that there were plenty of noises and distractions at the first Journey of Crucifixion.  And so it was today -  but nothing outrageous, just normal blurts and squawks of children with the added joy of a little girl sweetly singing the Stabat Mater.   
The Millers at St. Simeon Skete
We try to pretty up the Stations of the Cross, make it antiseptic: Gorgeous paintings that show very little pain.  But the Cross wasn’t pretty.  Neither is humanity - it blares loudly - the good, the bad, and the ugly - the things that we are all made of.  

We try so hard to clean up what goes on at the cross, so we don’t have to think about it.  “Keep the kids quiet”,   “Silence”  When Jesus says take up thy cross and follow me - we want that cross to be light as a feather and sparkling clean like a diamond.  Its not.  We’re not.  
Newton Miller with brother Rudy

Today at the Stations, I was carrying Newt.  He’s a young lad with autism.  I know autism has its complications in his life and his parents lives - but I see it as a different form of reality.  We all have our cross to bear and Newt and his family carry theirs with great care and dignity, getting back up and moving forward if they fall.
Newton Miller 
As I carried Newt from Station to Station, he was quiet but then at one point, he grabbed my face and forced my face in closer towards his face.  Instinctively, I wanted to turn away to look at the plaque of the station we were on  - the fifth station, Simon helps Jesus carry his cross.  But Newt held my face tight and said “Open your eyes”  My eyes were opened but I was looking down.  Again he said “Open your eyes” and as I looked up and my eyes met Newt’s, he was staring deep into my eyes, a penetrating gaze.   They say that he has difficulty communicating, that’s the nature of Autism.
Newton Miller

Jesus is trying to reach out, communicate in everyone, in every circumstance and most of the time He is ignored.  In Newt’s eyes I could see Jesus, quite clearly ...clearer than in the bronze plaques on the wall and Newt had no trouble communicating to me without words, the Jesus Life Prayer of the Nazareth Rosary: “Jesus your life is living in me” 
John 14:17
the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be
in you.
Romans 8:9
You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God
lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.
Romans 8:11
And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is
living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.
1 Corinthians 3:16
Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that
God's Spirit lives in you?
Ephesians 2:22
And in him you too are being built together to become
a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
2 Timothy 1:14
Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the
Holy Spirit who lives in us.
1 John 3:24
Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that
he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Going Deep

Today on this Easter Monday, the staff and communities of NHA are enjoying Sham El Nessim or Emmaus Day.  We will go on a journey and take along some food for an outdoor picnic - "sniffing the breeze. "   As we do so, we hold you all in our prayers. 

In Sierra Leone the work has stopped until the Holidays are over.  

Tomorrow the workers will return to the well.  Thanks for all of the support we have paid for the completion of this project. 

As the workers in Sierra Leone go deeper  into the earth, 

back at St. Simeon Skete we continue to deepen the prayer.  

We are still waiting some of our regular monthly funding to make the monthly expenses for our March commitment to those suffering in Sierra Leone.  

Donations have been delayed due to tax time pressures and Christmas credit arriving for some, we understand - bills must be paid.   We went through the same "delay" last year.  I have explained things to the teachers and they are doing okay, they know we will come through, they trust God to provide.  We are hoping to be able to make our obligations this week.

Last week, there was a flurry of work being done at the well.  Maundy Thursday's heavy rains helped give things a test.   We are making a tremendous effort to finish this properly and efficiently.  This well is not only for our compound, but for the NHA School and neighbors. 

 The men have worked very hard.  They showed up on Good Friday to work but James dismissed them explaining they must not work on Holy Days.   

They will return to work on Tuesday.  

Please keep them in your prayers.  

Its a difficult job with many dangers and they do not have modern equipment.   

In your charity, if you are able to send in an extra donation at this time, we would appreciate your kindness.  I don't want to keep the teachers waiting for their salary much longer nor do I want those who depend on us to be without food or necessities.   Thank you.  

Nazareth House Apostolate
185 Captains Cove Drive
Taylorsville, KY 40071 

or donations can be made using your credit card through Paypal using the donation link on our website. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Greetings from James and some of the NHA Students in Kabala:   ©2012 NHA, All Rights Reserved

A friend shared a photo with some African children sitting in a circle, feet touching, the description of the photo read: 
An anthropologist proposed a game to African tribe kids. He put a basket full of fruit near a tree and told them that whoever got there first won the sweet fruits. When he told them to run they all took each others hands and ran together, then sat together enjoying their treats. When he asked them why they had run like that as one could have had all the fruits for himself they said: UBUNTU, how can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?  
A Unity Circle of the NHA Students, Kabala Sierra Leone  ©2012 NHA, All rights reserved 

James sent a photo of the NHA students poised in the same position, an unbroken circle.  What the anthropologist came to realize is what we at NHA have seen happen over and over many a time in Sierra Leone.  
Like the beads on a rosary, the students side by side, bead by bead make an unbroken chain, a circle of love

The incident that comes to to mind and fills my heart is one that happened several years ago.  It was in the early stages of NHA development.  We only had enough money for a few bags of rice so we called the students together to distribute a few cups (enough for a meal or so for each family).    As the children filed through the line, receiving their rice, to my horror I began to realize there was more children than rice.   There was not going to be enough.  As the last bit of rice was being poured into the last cups, the first children - the ones who had already received rice - without thinking, without blinking an eye, without any coaxing by any adult - automatically turned back around and began to divide into the empty cups a portion of what they had in their cups so that no-one was without.  Everybody went home with rice.   See details of this story from previous blog Click here for blog on Sacred Heart & Empty Cups

Together its easier to share the brunt of being without, represented by the bare feet.   ©2012 NHA

The circle - unbroken - harmony, unity!  looking at these children - no one at the head, no one at the end but side by side as one, together as a whole -  its the picture of love.    A circle with no beginning, no end - endless love - the rosary! 

It is also more joyous to share the times when there is enough, represented in the shoes.  ©2012 NHA

This is what NHA seeks - love, peace and unity for everyone - no in-groups, no out-groups -  but for everyone ...... and why praying the life of Christ in the rosary is so important to us.  

Still connected, hand in hand, the children make their way to their homes.   ©2012 NHA

Nazareth House Apostolate
185 Captains Cove Drive
Taylorsville, KY 40071