Perhaps some of you have visited the desert, the desert of the east, the dawn of the world? Perhaps you were confronted and challenged by its mystery, by its burning and almost unendurable silence, by its immensity, its light, its savage and somewhat unsettling beauty? And so you must have observed its undulating reliefs, with gentle shadows or in blinding ochre, which extend infinitely and which perhaps opened in you a waiting and an expectation for something else? A natural temple in its multitude of cupolas as far as the eye can see. A monotone dance where each curve hides a secret of intense and gentle light. And the inhabitant who dwells there alternately hides himself and comes forth, like the simple and ordinary movement of one who, in this vastness, goes unerringly towards the end for which he was created. It is this place of predilection where God chose to reveal Himself. In the desert, nature, reduced to its burning nakedness, offers an absolute receptivity, and resounds almost infinitely with the first words of the new, unsuspected and benevolent dialogue between God and his creature. It was fitting that Revelation should choose the desert and that the desert should offer to the One who created it naked, its virginal vastness so that He could reveal Himself there as He is:
I am who am.
Following the holy monks who, in the beginning of the Church, left for the deserts of Egypt and of Palestine with the Gospel next to their heart,
the monks and monastic sisters of the
monastic Family of Bethlehem
of the Assumption of the Virgin
and of Saint Bruno
choose to forsake everything in order to gain Christ.
Their life in the desert is the contemplation of the Face of Jesus and of the invisible and hidden Father, drawn from the pure spring of the Gospel, in the school of the Virgin Mary, and ceaselessly reinvigorated in the Breath of the Holy Spirit. That is why their life is characterized by silence, solitude, fraternal communion, continual prayer, the celebration of the liturgy and manual labor which reflects the beauty of creation.
Saint Bruno offers them his wisdom of life which is adapted to their thirst for God.
Whoever sees me sees the Father.
The monastic Family of Bethlehem, of the Assumption of the Virgin and of Saint Bruno has no other resources than the sollicitude of the Father of Heaven and the work of its members. The artwork of the monks and monastic sisters is not only a means for each monastery to earn its daily bread, but it is also a service of the Church. This Christian art is meant to be an expression of faith, an unveiling of the Mystery of God, who is Beauty and Goodness. Man is called to enter into this Mystery. Religious artwork, such as icons, statues, medals, chalices, incense, etc., and the creation of profane objects, such as stoneware dishes, hand-painted earthenware, candles, sandles, cookies, etc., are created in workshops according to the skills and resources of each monastery. Far from interrupting prayer, this work, which is often laborious and tiring, purifies the heart and intensifies union with God and communion with the men and women of the entire world who work in order to feed their family. These objects of art sing of the Invisible. They fulfill their purpose if those who contemplate them are carried beyond themselves in the silence of adoration.
He is the Image of the invisible God.