Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

May you all have a very blessed and Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Monastic Wisdom

"The formation of a man is his moral training, his life is the love of God."  William of St. Thierry,  The Golden Epistle, # 169.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

In the Monastery and Out

In the monastery and outside the monastery, most of us lead just ordinary lives, doing our work, reading Scripture and taking time to pray. All of us who follow the Lord Jesus continue to have a life of prayer, no matter how poor that life may be. Into that poverty the Lord Jesus sometimes reaches out and touches us--perhaps in very gentle way or perhaps with a strong indication of His presence. Although generally God reaches into our silence and our searching, there are times when God just comes into our lives even when we are resisting.

God's goodness to us does not depend on our goodness to God. God knows what each of us needs to continue our path to Him. God can leave us in darkness so that we can grow or God can give us light so that we can grow. Most of us probably prefer light but the secret of the spiritual life is always simple confidence and trust in God. What is happening right now is His gift of love to us if we can see it.
This is from Abbot Phillip at Christ in the Desert in New Mexico. Lately, I’ve taken to reading homilys, etc. posted by abbots from various monasteries because I find them so helpful ; they seem steeped in monastic wisdom, which should be no surprise. It may be that Abbot Phillip is a bit optimistic about the daily routine most people follow, even for most Christians, but I still think he’s pretty much on the mark. Most of us just go through our lives following the daily routine, fulfilling the duties of our station. That’s good, and really no different for monks or lay people.

But, it’s also true that, however boring or numbing that daily routine can seem, God is present through all of it. That’s hard to remember in the midst of the daily grind, much less really appreciate the fact. Following a routine that includes even a few Benedictine practices, such as morning and evening prayer, some spiritual reading, and study integrated into the daily schedule helps keep us grounded in that truth. Periodic prayer breaks, no matter how brief, keep us grounded in the amazing reality in which we live.