Requiem for a Trappist Monk

Father Luke in the cloister.

Rest in peace, Father Luke Kot.Father Luke died tonight, at the age of 102.Father Luke was the last surviving of twenty Trappist monks who, almost seventy years ago, left Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky to take the midnight train to Georgia, arriving on a rainy day in Atlanta in March 1944 — the Feast of St. Benedict — to move into a makeshift cloister in a barn on an old plantation some thirty miles southeast of the city. From that humble beginning came the Monastery of Our Lady of the Hol … [Read more...]

Preparing for the Silent Night (Conclusion)

Houselander-Art

Okay, I'm loving The Reed of God by Caryll Houselander so much that I have to give you one more quote for this Advent season. Only Our Lady has ever lived all the aspects of phases and moments of Christ completely. In some He is newly born. In some He is a child. In some He is homeless. In some He is ignored, unrecognized, mocked, betrayed. In some He is hungry; in some He is naked; in some He is helpless... He remains, being tempted in all those who are tempted: in those who are in … [Read more...]

Preparing for the Silent Night (Part Two)

Caryll Houselander

This is the second of a series of Advent reflections. To read the first part, follow this link: Preparing for the Silent Night (Part One).In part one of this series we considered the following quotation from The Reed of God by Caryll Houselander. Because He is in the little house of our being, we will learn to control our minds, to gather our thoughts to silence, and to crown them with peace, just as we learn to control our voices and to move softly when a child is asleep in the house of b … [Read more...]

Preparing for the Silent Night (Part One)

TROG-Featured

My Advent reading for this year is The Reed of God by Caryll Houselander. A twentieth century Catholic mystic, Houselander lived from 1901 until dying from breast cancer in 1954. She wrote several books, but The Reed of God is her most enduring work; published in 1944, it explores themes of waiting, pregnancy, seeking and beauty in regard to Mary’s relationship to Christ. Insightful and earthy, it transcends the theological horizons of its time and has come to be regarded as a twentieth century s … [Read more...]

Before We Face the Monkey Mind

A reader has written to me with the following question:I make my living as a psychotherapist & most of my work is spiritually oriented counseling with Christians.  I have long been trying to introduce clients to contemplation through encouraging brief periods of silence, solitude and openness  (15-20 min).  I also taught an introductory  course through my church.  Finally, I am preparing to lecture other therapists on using contemplation in therapy.As I have tried to introduce others we … [Read more...]

Are Contemplatives Privileged?

For some time now, I've noticed how gatherings of contemplatives often seem to consist largely of individuals who are well educated and/or affluent. As much as I love exploring the contemplative dimension of Christianity, I worry that only those folks who seem to enjoy a lion's share of our society's abundance appear to be pursuing the spirituality of silence. Is this just a projection of my own socio-political angst — or am I on to something here, some sort of blind spot within the c … [Read more...]

Silence Is Not a Vow

Here is my latest column from Patheos. In it I look at the role of silence in the life of Christian monastics (monks and nuns) and then reflect on what that means for those of us who feel called to the contemplative life even though we do not live in a cloister. Hope you enjoy it...Silence Is Not a Vow. … [Read more...]


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