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

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...]

Contemplative Commerce

Business Secrets of the Trappist MonksOne CEO's Quest for Meaning and AuthenticityAugust TurakColumbia Business School PublishingThe motto of Benedictine spirituality is ora et labora — a deceptively simple Latin phrase that means "to pray and to work." A variation of it, ora est labora, means "to pray is to work" — a sentiment handily embodied in the Latin words, where ora is actually part of labora. Prayer and work: the heart of Benedictine spirituality, and by extension, the heart of … [Read more...]

Coming back from the desert

No longer are such centres of solitude and critical reflection located only in the remote regions. The last decade has seen the growth of urban contemplatives, communities of Christian women and men who seek to live lives of prayer and silence within the urban scene. It was a movement predicted over twenty-five years ago by the Jesuit Jean Daniélou:'The Constantinian phase in Christian history is coming to an end ... The flight into the desert was a revolutionary innovation, lasting from the … [Read more...]

Peace Be With You

For Christians to view 9/11 and the world of terrorism through the paschal mystery of Christ's death and resurrection will be difficult and complex. Such a stance does not mean condoning or ignoring what al-Qaeda did on September 11, any more than God, in Christian belief, ignored or condoned the sinfulness of humanity in crucifying his Son. No, forgiveness must mean, as the South African activist Maluis Mpumlwana suggests, helping our adversaries recover their humanity. ... The only foreign … [Read more...]

Back to the Mountain

Fran and I spent this past weekend in Sewanee, TN. "The Mountain," as it is affectionately called, is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been, a college town on the Cumberland Plateau nestled in forested land filled with caves, hiking trails, waterfalls, a natural bridge, and other wonders.It's the first time we've been back since my friend Bob's funeral, back in February of 2009. I lived in Sewanee from 1988 to 1993, running the campus bookstore at the University of the South. I left … [Read more...]

The New Abbey Store

The Monastery of the Holy Spirit has opened a new Monastic Heritage Center, including a museum of monastic culture — housed in an old barn where the monks lived when they first came to Georgia in 1944, a greenhouse and garden center, a coffee shop, and a new Abbey Store. The entire center is beautiful, and I believe the museum will do wonders to draw more people to contemplative spirituality (as well as help stimulate vocations to monastic life). Here's a short video I made on Friday, minutes b … [Read more...]

Of Gods and Men: Of Martyrs for Life

Of Gods and Men, the award-winning French film about Cistercian monks who lived at the Monastery of Tibhirine in Algeria and who were killed in 1996 during the Algerian civil war, will begin showing in Atlanta next Friday, April 1. I had the privilege to attend an advance screening sponsored by Sony Pictures today. The film has already been screening in New York, Los Angeles, and other major cities, so you can fairly easily find reviews of it online. And for the most part, it's getting plenty of … [Read more...]


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