Trip to Monastery

posted Jul 9, 2009, 4:30 PM by Edward Mansager   [ updated Jul 15, 2009, 1:58 PM ]
St. John’s students in grades 8-12 made a trip to the Monastery of St. John of San Francisco in Manton, CA from November 19-21. They attended morning and evening services, and had a meeting with Fr. Meletios, the abbot of the monastery. Fr. Meletios described the life of a monk and the daily routine of the monastery, and also explained the importance of silence in the spiritual life. The students and teachers also spent some time hiking in the nearby area, visiting Burney Falls and a nearby lake.

In Fr. Meletios’s talk, he pointed out how full of noise and distractions normal life is, not just in the music and TV programs that many people think they need to be surrounded with, but also in the thoughts that are continuously streaming through our minds. Most of us probably don’t really know what silence sounds like, he said. And so he suggested that everyone try an experiment: we were to ask ourselves, “What is the next thought that I will think?”

To everyone’s astonishment, while that question was being asked, there was a noticeable absence of thoughts in one’s mind, a kind of silence that was not emptiness but rather strangely deep and not at all uncomfortable. This was the kind of silence that those following the monastic path sought, Fr. Meletios said, because silence is the language of God. Fr. Meletios’s talk gave everyone much to think about, and the students were unanimous in feeling the trip very worthwhile.

See photo album for more photos of the trip to the monastery in Manton.