Frequently Asked Questions

THE APOSTLE SAINT JOHN

RELIGIOUS VOWS

In the Community, the desert is primarily something lived interiorly in the choice of living for God alone: this is why the brothers are monks.

But in every priory, there is a day of desert each week when the brothers say the religious offices individually and meals are eaten separately. Communal life is more discreet to facilitate immersion in Lectio divina (spiritual reading), solitary work, and silent prayer, according to the rhythm of each Brother.

This desert life may also be extended in special places reserved for this purpose, particularly our two “desert priories” in the Alps. One is more specifically intended for the novices who spend two months of their novitiate there, in groups of twelve. The other priory is composed of small scattered hermitages and is intended more for professed brothers.

In these deserts, the brothers can deepen their relationship with Christ. This return to the source is necessary for fruitfulness, since apart from Christ they can do nothing (cf. Jn. 15:15).

“In these deserts, which will be jealously guarded by the Community, each brother will be able to discover the secret bond which unites his heart to the hearts of Jesus and Mary, in order to always live this bond more and more .”
(Rule of Life)

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PRAYER

[x_text class=”faq-title”]Questions addressed to Father Philippe about prayer…
What is prayer?[/x_text][x_text]
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Prayer is first of all common to all men. We all belong to the same family, since we have the same Father who ” makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good ” (Mt. 5:45). As soon as they understand God a little bit, men adore Him and entrust Him with all their difficulties, desires, and their deepest callings, which are often inexpressible, like the groanings of the Holy Spirit (cf. Rom. 8:26).

[/x_text][x_text class=”faq-title”]How does prayer become Christian?[/x_text][x_text class=”center-text “]Jesus tells us: ” Ask, and it will be given you ; search, and you will find ; knock, and the door will be opened for you ” (Mt. 7:7). He wants us to have constant prayer in our hearts for everything that concerns our life. He wants us to offer everything to Him and to constantly ask for His help since He Himself has told us : ” apart from me, you can do nothing ” (Jn. 15:5). Prayer accompanies and envelops our Christian life to keep us in the presence of Jesus.

Jesus Himself helps makes this clear to us when His disciples ask Him how to pray: He takes the ” Our Father “, which is a very powerful expression. Jesus doesn’t reply: say ” Father “; He says ” Our Father ” (Mt. 6:9). In other words, Jesus wants our look at God to immediately accompany His own. We cannot pray without Him, just as a small child cannot pray without the constant presence of his mother, who helps him to place himself in the presence of God. We live by this presence in intensity of faith and hope but especially in love.[/x_text]

The Liturgy

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The intention of the Community is that its liturgical prayer remain a monastic liturgy. However, due to the demands of apostolic life – and, in the houses of formation, due to the philosophical and theological study necessary in preparation for apostolic life – communal celebration of the liturgy is limited so that more time may be given to silent prayer in community.

The brothers’ life of prayer is centered around the Eucharist ” silent love of God who gives Himself to each and every one of us ” (Rule of Life), which they wish to receive in faith burning with love.

The brothers strive for a sober and beautiful liturgy in which the simple and poor presence of Christ can be revealed among us.

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