Prologue 9

This 1996 translation of the Rule of St. Benedict, by Brother Luke Dysinger, gets it right.

“Prologue 9”? What does that mean, pray tell?It’s an allusion to the Rule of Saint Benedict, and — by a sort of happy coincidence — also to the Gospel of Saint John. Both the Rule and John are documents renowned for their prologue — and in both documents, verse 9 of the prologue is packed with meaning.The Prologue to Saint Benedict’s Rule is itself a renowned spiritual document, a stirring cry to holiness and fervor for anyone who might seek to follow the way of Christ without compromise. … [Read more...]

“That God’s Love Might Live in Us” — A Few Lovely Words from Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton in his hermitage. Photo by John Howard Griffin

I've been re-reading Thomas Merton's The Waters of Siloe for a class I'm teaching at the monastery. It's basically Merton's history of the Cistercian order, but it's also full of his insights into Cistercian spirituality (and monastic spirituality in general). I especially love the book because it devotes several pages to the founding of the monastery in Georgia, including a wonderful photograph of the monks sitting in front of the old barn where they lived when they first came to the … [Read more...]

A Prayer for the Morning

Beautiful God, Blessed Trinity, I thank you for the gift of this new day. O God, come to my assistance. O Lord, make haste to help me. I ask for the gift of grace today. All that I long for can only come from you. I ask for the gift of peace today. Lead me to the silence deep beneath my inner turbulence. I ask for the gift of light today. May your resplendence shine on me, without and within, and on all people. I ask for the gift of true repentance today. Change my mind and give me the … [Read more...]

The Choices We Make Determine Who We Are

Drawing by St. John of the Cross

This morning I was reading St. John of the Cross, and came across this passage.An act of virtue produces and fosters in the soul mildness, peace, comfort, light, purity, and strength, just as an inordinate appetite brings about torment, fatigue, weariness, blindness, and weakness. Through the practice of one virtue all the virtues grow, and similarly, through an increase of one vice, all the vices and their effects grow.—John of the Cross, The Ascent of Mount Carmel, I.10.5 from The C … [Read more...]

Concerning Contemplative Prayer and Spiritual Xenophobia

Evagrius Ponticus, fourth century Christian contemplative

Contemplative spirituality is a spirituality in which, in the words of Richard Rohr, "everything belongs." It's a spirituality of inclusion, rather than exclusion. It seeks to build bridges rather than walls. To me, this is part of the towering beauty of contemplation. But we live in a world where not everyone sees things the same way, and contemplation, like anything else, has its critics. Generally speaking, my experience shows that the critics of Christian contemplation reject it for two … [Read more...]

Sometimes When I Sit in Silence…

Chateau d'Amboise

Contemplative prayer — the prayer of sitting in silence, waiting in faith and trust on God — needs to be a daily practice. There are a number of reasons for this, but today I'd like to look at something I experience in my own prayer. I have to eat a little bit of humble pie to write this, because I'm admitting how poor I am at praying. But the truth is the truth. I need to pray in silence every day because, well, most days my silent prayer is not all that silent. Futhermore (and this is actually … [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...]


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