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talking to myself

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personal stuff

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Preparing for Advent

Preparing for Advent Advent is an invitation “to sobriety, to not be dominated by the things of this world, Pope Francis said on Nov. 27 in St. Peter's Square. “If, on the contrary, we are conditioned and overpowered by them, it is not possible to perceive that which is much more important: our final encounter with the Lord."—Pope Francis ++++++++++ I understand the difference between having a Happy Holiday (season greeting) and wishing someone a Merry Christmas. One has to do with the

markdohle

markdohle in personal reflection

It is in times of pain, fear, and chaos, that God can seem far away

It is in times of pain, fear, and chaos, that God can seem far away “My tender care is ever around My children. But they don’t see it. They look upon all the happy incidents i n their lives as only natural and are inclined to attribute them to chance. Yet a word of happy thanks would bring Me such joy that My joy would redound to them in new gifts. Bossis, Gabrielle. He and I (Kindle Locations 4206-4208). Pauline Books and Media. Kindle Edition. When bad events enter our lives, it can b

markdohle

markdohle in Personal beliefs

Lost and found in the labyrinth at the ER

Lost and found in the labyrinth at the ER Last week, I made a trip to the ER at “Piedmont Hospital Downtown”.  It has been at the location for over 50 years I believe.  I was there in 1976 for an eye operation and was impressed by the quality of care.   It still has a good reputation.  Of course, it is much bigger now and it would seem that every inch of ground is now covered by buildings, or parking lots. When we arrived, the brother I was with was taken right away for some tests.  Our d

markdohle

markdohle in personal reflection

A Man Trapped on a Bridge

Man Trapped on a Bridge   Wesley Chapel is a busy street, rush hour traffic is slow but relentless, people focused on what is in front of them, often blinded by what is around them, especially when it is dark  with limited vision created by the oncoming traffic.   Driving half blind we were.   So I was there one night, with a fellow monk, on the way to the hospital, and moving slowly, relentlessly towards I-20, when suddenly before me, on my right, surrounded by the flood of cars,

markdohle

markdohle in personal reflection

Conversation with a Retreatant

Conversation with a Retreatant   “God doesn't always bring you the entire truth. He sometimes gives it to you in pieces, in order to learn. Regardless, it is the piece that you got today that will renew your faith for tomorrow.” ― Shannon L. Alde   Being a Retreat-Master (or Guest-Master) affords me the opportunity to meet many interesting people. We do get a wide variety of individuals who come here for retreats. Many (the majority) are Christians from many different communities. We also

markdohle

markdohle in personal reflection

Don't Mope

Don't Mope   As we grow, we begin to form holy habits that allow us to stay on the path, and when we fail, to get up again soon, and not mope over our shortcomings. Moping is not a gift of the Holy Spirit but flows from self-hatred, the opposite of humility.-Br.MD

markdohle

markdohle in personal reflection

We pass each other without touching

We pass each other without touching   In the crowds that press against us, they are unique universes filled with joy and pain, we pass each other without touching, looking down, or to the left or right, perhaps giving a slight smile and a how do you do (?), but eye contact for a second only. From our eyes unknown to us, it is Christ Jesus who looks out on the world asking us to allow his incarnation to continue in us-Br.MD      

markdohle

markdohle in personal reflection

Humility draws us closer to God, it does not have us flee

Humility draws us closer to God, it does not have us flee When you adore Me, forgetting yourself and forsaking all things for Me, you imitate Me, for adoration is a kind of death. It is a passing out of everything that solicits the senses and a cleaving to Me alone in the bright darkness of faith. So it will be in the hour of your death. A Benedictine Monk. In Sinu Jesu: When Heart Speaks to Heart --The Journal of a Priest at Prayer (pp. 259-260). Angelico Press. Kindle Edition. People

markdohle

markdohle in personal reflection

What are we preparing for?

What are we preparing for? Life is hard, though also filled with beauty, and wonder, and yes there is always hope. My eyes that look out upon the world today do not see the same things as I once did when I was a callow youth. I have lost a certain innocence as I aged, and I think that is a good addition, as long as it does not lead to bitterness or cynicism. I actually like aging, even though there is a lot that goes with that. Deepening faith and a growing trust in God help me deal with

markdohle

markdohle in personal reflection

Seeking God in the midst of our struggles

Seeking God in the midst of our struggles 11th Step: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out. ++++++++++ The 11th Step group was here this weekend. We have three AA groups that meet here. One is named the “Big Book Group”, the second calls itself “Serenity”, and of course, the third is the “11th Step”. Each group is my favorite while they are here.

markdohle

markdohle in personal reflection

We thrive on love, we die in a vacuum

We thrive on love, we die in a vacuum “Every time God forgives us, God is saying that God’s  own rules do not matter as much as the relationship that God wants to create with us.”-Richard Rohr Sometimes when I am setting before the Lord, I thank the Lord for his presence, and then I apologies for the fact that I am not always present, and even when I am present, I still wander in and out of awareness.  It is the Lord’s love that draws all of us into the deep mystery of His love, and t

markdohle

markdohle in personal reflection

God Who Loves Us

God Who Loves Us I love Richard Roar's take on the parable of the Prodigal Son. I do believe that the teaching of Jesus on the depth of God's love for all has yet to hit the heart of Christian understanding. I like what he said about how the Father runs toward us, even when we may feel we are at our worst. God is always yes! The more we realize the mercy of God, the deeper our love goes, and the more tender our relationship with our loving Father becomes. We dwell on God’s love, not on ou

markdohle

markdohle in personal reflection

It is like slowly drinking poison

It is like slowly drinking poison   I have heard over the years about how the saints over-emphasized their tendency to sin. That being close to God, sin should somehow not be an issue, a problem, or a struggle. One reason I believe, and this applies to me, is that it is difficult to understand the seriousness of even our smallest sins. That is because as stated above ““Every sin is a mockery of love”. That is hard to comprehend since sin is so common. Even unintentional sins, cause harm and wo

markdohle

markdohle in personal reflection

Lettilng Go

Letting go   Without grace, we do create ourselves, freely some of the time, and from compulsion, which while not sin, does the same damage.  There is no need to fear this knowledge since the truth does set us free.  The paradox of the spiritual life is that the more the light grows in us, the more we see our need for healing, mercy, and compassion from God.  This frees us from becoming obsessed with ourselves, and learn over time, often after much suffering, to simply trust in God’s love f

markdohle

markdohle in personal reflection

A Letter to a Prisoner

A Letter to a Prisoner Below is a letter that I have sent to a prisoner that I have been writing to for many years. He is in for life for a violent crime committed when he was a young man. Over the years he has come to Christ Jesus, and is now working with other Christians, mostly Catholics, who are in prison with him. Please pray for him, his name is Joseph, and he does go through some very rough times. Pray for all prisoners! There but for the grace of God go I.-Br.Md ++++++++++ My dea

markdohle

markdohle in personal reflection

Trust, Take the Next Step

Trust, Take the Next Step   Try not to fear, trust in God, which is not always easy. Trust is not an emotion, nor a feeling, but a choice that comes from deep within, it flows from the gift of faith. Trust, take the next step, and move forward no matter the circumstances. Even if you fall, get up and move forward. Jesus wants your trust and love. He will deal with the rest, stay open, and be childlike in your prayers, which means honesty.-Br.MD

markdohle

markdohle in personal reflection

Adoration is not a Waste of Time

Adoration is not a Waste of Time Love me, then, and trust in My love for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to inflame you with the same fire of love that burns in My Sacred Heart and in the hearts of all My saints. It is in the prayer of adoration that this love grows strong, becoming a fire that gives light and warmth to all who approach it, burning in the hearts of My loved ones. A Benedictine Monk. In Sinu Jesu: When Heart Speaks to Heart --The Journal of a Priest at Prayer (p. 232). Angelico

markdohle

markdohle in personal reflection

Once it is Known

Once it is known   Lord, once your love is experienced, nothing remains the same, our journey can be rough, but your love is sure, no demon within or without has power over us, though we experience our wounds deeply, your love sees all, loves all within, so ‘Soul of our Soul’, teach us to wait, to pray, to be patient, and to, yes, love all that we meet with your deep penetrating love.—Br.MD

markdohle

markdohle in personal reflection

A Painful Fact of Life

A Painful Fact of Life Loneliness, Isolation, Prayer August 4—Holy Hour. “When you are at My feet praying or meditating, why not be one in spirit with all the pure in heart who are praying and meditating? You aren’t a little church all by yourself. You are part of the great activity of Christ in the breath of the Spirit. And in isolating yourself you would break the chain. So be linked together with other fervent people and aware of My desire for you all to be one. You remember My seamless r

markdohle

markdohle in personal reflection

Old Age, Faith, and the Last Things

Old Age, Faith, and the Last Things “Oh, when evening falls may they think of coming to My embrace, their hearts overflowing with gratitude, asking Me to come again with new blessings. And I will come again. And in this way, we shall approach the end of life and the last of My blessings. “For this last blessing, My child, give Me your tender thanks now.” Bossis, Gabrielle. He and I (Kindle Locations 4208-4211). Pauline Books and Media. Kindle Edition.   I have come to see each day as

markdohle

markdohle in personal reflection

Humility and Community Life Chapter talk 04 Sept 22

Chapter talk 04 Sept 22 on Humility and Community Life The three most important virtues are humility, humility, and humility-Bernard of Clairvaux When thinking about my own life’s path, I have found that if I look inward, I pretty much have all I need in order to grow in maturity on my monastic journey. When reading about humility, which can only be helpful as I seek inner balance, shows me that the opposite of humility is a deep path toward inner suffering and even isolation from the

markdohle

markdohle in personal reflection

Barbed-wire

Barbed-wire   There are some people that I find easier to understand than others. One way I like to express it or in these terms: “Their outsides are like my insides”. This statement is borrowed from a saying in the 12th step program.   People who are very angry and are free to express it, who are quick to react to outside influence and to feel justified in whatever they do…. speak to me of my own inner struggle, my inner wounds as well as my strengths, for I believe that they are all

markdohle

markdohle in personal reflection

Feeling a deep longing for home

Feeling a deep longing for home   Now that I am moving towards my 74th birthday in December, I find that longing is becoming more central which in the past, was hidden from my perception most of the time. My soul seems to be more focused on something bigger. A desire to be free, as Carl Jung called our world after his NDE, from this world of boxes. A world where communion with others is perhaps almost impossible, where misunderstanding seems to be the norm. Where being trapped in one’s subject

markdohle

markdohle in personal reflection

Talk to Lay Cistercians

I had the honor of speaking to our Lay Cistercians via Zoom this morning. We are blest to have them associated with our Monastery. Talk to Lay Cistercians 1 There are clearly four kinds of monks.  2 First, there are the cenobites,that is to say, those who belong to a monastery, where they serve under a rule and an abbot. 3 Second, there are the anchorites or hermits, who have come through the test of living in a monastery for a long time, and have passed beyond the first fervor of mon

markdohle

markdohle in personal reflection