Why Trappists Make Great Spiritual Guides

If you want access to a living Catholic contemplative tradition, look to the Trappists.In the past few weeks I've read three books that demonstrate the wisdom of Trappist monks. Two of the books are new, and one is an overlooked gem from twenty years ago. One of the titles is written by a monk; the others by laypersons who share how the friendship and guidance of monks helped them in periods of transition in their own spiritual journey.First up is Seeking Surrender: How My Friendship … [Read more...]

On Being a Lay Cistercian

"Are you a monk?"I get asked that question a lot, especially when I'm at the monastery where I work and pray and lead retreats. Perhaps it's because of my greying hair and scruffy beard. Whatever the reason, I always see it as a compliment, but of course, I'm not a monk. So I say, "No, I'm not; I'm what is called a Lay Cistercian.""What's that?" is the inevitable follow-up question."I'm a layperson, like any other — I have a wife and a daughter and a monthly mortgage to pay. But I do … [Read more...]