In Just a Moment.....
In the path of the fire that spread in the Montecito area of California was a beloved house of the Order of the Holy Cross. The essay that follows was written by Rev. Brian McHugh who is a contributer of 'A Few Good Writers' section of The Farm and a former member of the Order.
This is my eulogy and my tribute to Mt. Calvary Monastery and Retreat House. Founded in 1947, a year after I was born, by the Order of the Holy Cross (of which I was a member for 15 years), and having survived many fires, it was completely destroyed by fire on Friday, November 14th, 2008.
The Mount was a glorious place! It perched high on a hilltop above the historic Santa Barbara Mission, looking out over English Bay, and Goleta, backdropped by the hills of the Los Padres National Forest. Filled with Spanish colonial furniture and liturgical objects and books and paintings and icons, filled with light, scented with jasmine, and settled in an atmosphere of quietness and contemplation and beauty, it was a place where, no matter how one felt when arriving, it wrapped you in healing and peace and the balm of silence. It was, to me, exquisite in every way.
Now it is gone, having changed very little in the 38 years since I first drove up its windy road to be enchanted by its utter beauty. How I remember standing by the wall as the sun rose out of thick white mist to bathe Mount Calvary in light, while the city below lay hidden.
What will happen now is as yet undetermined. We are all still, including the brothers, in shock. But, Jesus Himself reminded us not to worry about tomorrow, that today has enough worries of its own. Live in the Present moment – which, in Christianity, is all there is, since the Present Moment includes all Time and Space.
For us, there is no “menace of the future”. It will unfold. The brothers will seek God’s guidance. They will make their decisions. The future is not fearful, nor makes us cowards. Things come things go, including our lives at sometimes unexpected moments. Any of us who have embraced the Gospel know that they are to be held lightly – but thoroughly enjoyed.
Thank you, exquisite Mt. Calvary. We have treasured you. Whatever future unfolds is ok.