After the Goose, a Rough Week, and Simplicity

Dear friends, my apologies for taking such a long time between posts. As you may know, I was at the Wild Goose East Festival June 21-24. Indeed, Jana Riess (author of the delightful book Flunking Sainthood) wrote a very kind piece on her blog about the talk I gave on Sunday morning at the Wild Goose Festival. You can read it by following this link: Five Gifts of Contemplative Prayer.One of the reasons I didn't write anything after returning to Georgia (aside from being rather exhausted for a … [Read more...]

Simplicity and Prayer

In the simple promises for the junior lay associates (Lay Cistercians) of the Monastery of the Holy Spirit, we promise, among other things, to live "life in simplicity and prayer." I love that juxtaposition. Prayer and simplicity go together so beautifully, it seems to me, that one of the best ways to cultivate in our hearts the space for prayer is by allowing things to be simple. I don't mean simple in the sense of not very smart, but simple in the sense of what Taoists call wu-wei, or "going … [Read more...]

Consume Less, Enjoy More

For as long as I can remember, I've had issues with digestion. It's a family thing: my dad complained about indigestion, and apparently had an ulcer (no one talks about ulcers any more. Did they go out of fashion when acid reflux kicked in?). Speaking of acid reflux, I finally took my indigestion to the doctor, started taking a proton-pump inhibitor, and had an endoscopy when I discovered that I had a condition called Short Barrett's Esophagus. The "short" means it only was at the bottom of my … [Read more...]

Means of Liberation and Internal Conversion

Yesterday at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit's lay associates gathering day, I attended a class in which we considered a document called Lay Cistercian Identity, drawn up at an international gathering of Cistercian lay associates in Spain two years ago. We particularly examined a list of "Cistercian values and practices" commended to laypersons as "a means of liberation and internal conversion." These values and practices include:Prayer and praiseConfidence and abandonment to … [Read more...]


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