Resentment, anger, and forgiveness retreat
Giving a retreat this weekend on situations that from my experience affects everyone at different times in one's life.
There is no easy answer to these painful situations, yet, they have to be dealt with, or they will deal with me if I do not take some responsibility for the difficulties in relationships.
It is hard for me to take some blame in most of my difficulties, because of blind spots. The gateway out of destructive cycles starts with m
My struggle with pride
The proud monk is one in whom the passions reign triumphant. And this is someone who has plenty
of problems but pride makes sure this is never acknowledged to himself lest the mirror crack.
So all his inner problems become the problems of others. He sets himself up as superior to others and judges them.
His concern is not the mysteries of God because they would challenge the ego and displace it He has eyes only for himself.
His concern now is something forbidden to
A cowardly crew
As I age and health problems continue to appear, as my once youthful strength declines and fatigue becomes my companion every day, as I notice that my mind, while still good, is not as sharp as it used to be…you know my Lord…it is were I need to be. It is good to grow old, seeking to love you more, to deal with my doubts and my understanding that my inner struggles are what lead me to your love and mercy and will be with me till the end.
There is much I don’t
When our time comes
When we die, on our death bed, hopefully, wore out and tired, will people mourn for us, or be happy that we are gone? It is not always easy to be a decent loving human being, it is no easier to be someone who makes life miserable for others. In one, we struggle with ourselves to spare others, and n that we find friends and many who love us. In the other, we put or misery on others to seek to escape anger and pain, but in the end, all we get is ourselves poured back sevenf
(Imaginative dialogue with God)
No matter your state I am constant,
all things wax and wane in your world,
my love is infinite all consuming,
never changing, my light that heals your soul.
Your failures are many,
often wandering off you go
like a child lost and afraid,
for deep within is great sorrow
that all of my children carry,
though often hidden
below the anger, sin, addictions
Do not fear my child,
Confidence in God Retreat
We are having a retreat titled “Confidence in God”. Of course, the topic is always dealt with that has to do with the subject of pain and suffering. If one has a deep faith, it can help to deal with inner turmoil in a prayerful and trusting manner. Prayer is an opening up of one's heart before the Infinite, the lover of mankind as shown us in Jesus Christ. Below is a Psalm one of the participants shared with us. I found it deeply moving, and it dealt with the depth
You can't be Brother Mark!
One day, a few months ago, a woman was checking into the retreat house for one of our retreats. As we talked, as I am most likely do, I joked a lot with her. I can be a bit of a clown.
She asked me my name, and I responded that I am Br. Mark, the guest-master. She looked at me in unbelief and stated that I could not possibly be Br. Mark, because he is very serious!
So I thought about it, and walked into the restroom near the office and looked into the
It is always a choice
Trust in God is essential. It is not an emotion, or a feeling, though they can be present. Trust is a choice that can be made when all emotions or feelings say otherwise. Only our trust in God will never be betrayed, so take root in the love of Jesus Christ and take the next step. Mercy is never denied, God is not the issue, we are.--Br.MD
Unbelievers came to worship the King, following the star in the cold of the night. Bearing gifts for worship, prayer, and the preparation for suffering and death. They represent all seekers after truth, those humble souls who wish to delve into the mystery of our existence seeking the Infinite.
We have no right to judge them, nor can they pass judgment on us, if truth be told. Only God can see into the heart, and all hearts belong to Him, our Infinite Father.
Prayer brings us to the moment,
we learn, perhaps slowly,
that all we need do is wait,
to let go of worries, but just be,
it is then that we discover our depths,
and from there, we find our roots
that keep us united to Christ Jesus.
All who pray are united, before God
we are all loved, just pray,
all faiths and religions may never agree,
yet in prayer, we have one heart for God,
One thirst for love and justice, and we learn also
to pray for mercy for ourselves
How I understand New Year's
I have always wondered about all the fuss about New Year's Eve. As I age I am beginning to understand a little bit more. At rock-bottom, it is about the desire to let go of the past, find healing, and begin again. It is about mercy, compassion, though I believe that this hope is often unconscious, Yet, we can be driven by the past, making the same mistakes, until we learn to embrace mercy, from God, from others, and in the end, to have mercy on ourselves as well. Wh
The ripple effect of mental illness
Mental illness leaves a huge legacy,
not just for the person suffering it but for those around them.
I do believe that mental health is iffy for human beings. There are moments, or hours when any one of us can actually become so out of touch with reality that we could become dangerous. Extreme emotions, rage, for instance, can lead otherwise ‘normal’ people into doing acts that ruin both their lives and those that they deal with. Our news seems to be f
Driving Br. Justin
(Justin on to right-hand corner)
(Br. Justin top right)
People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”
― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
I was asked to drive Br. Justin into town for an eye appointment on Friday. It was in Duluth, a town that is about 45 minutes away from the Monastery. His appointment was at 11:20, so while there was a
Heart of Stone (s)
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26)
I do believe that friendships between men and women are very important. In my own life, women who have become friends with me, have always been a help in my own ongoing conversion. For the most part they can see into me, some of my inner workings that men will often miss. Yes, women can become a goad (in the best sense of the
Christmas Day Homily
Fr. Cassian OCSO
This is a homily preached on Chrismas day by our Fr. Cassian. He is a good speaker, and always shares something that is worth pondering. At this time I am using it for my Lectio in the mourning.--Br.Md
Preached December 25, 2019
Merry Christmas! On behalf of our abbot, Dom Augustine, and all the monks, I wish you all a most blessed Christmas season. This day is a wonderful day, so great a day that our Church presents us with multiple Ma
I have a lot of memories of Christmas, mostly positive and happy ones. My parents seemed to make it a priority that the children had a good Christmas no matter what they had to do to accomplish it, well within legal means of course. In 1953 when I was five we moved into a small farmhouse near a town called Desoto, I guess it was about 50 miles or so from St. Louis. We lived in the house for a few years and it had a few acres of land, some of it used for farming; something
Lord, let us not forget what you are about
In the world today peace is rare,
not only in the world at large,
but in each of our hearts.
Suffering and loss continue as is expected,
as sad as that is for us.
Yet within this world, often cold and dark,
Our Lord became man out of love for this tired sphere,
entering into our lives, bearing our burdens,
coming with unutterable love
that can be forgotten.
It is a joyous season, we give gifts,
connect with families,
He saw everything, and loved
We are all called to interior freedom,
yet like everything in this world,
there is a price to be paid.
The armor of man is easier to wear
than the armor of God.
To go against, to fight,
to hate, and seek revenge.
To devalue as less than human
those we despise,
is how we protect ourselves
from seeing the humanity of others.
Jesus was free to love, to see deeply
and yet embrace.
The chains of self-loathing were never there,
his ‘Heart’ nev
When I danced I forgot myself
“O try to exchange self-love for God-love. No longer think of yourself at all. How this would lighten you! And what a new entry into Me! For I am eternally new. I am the infinite one, and it is for the Infinite that you have been created.”
Bossis, Gabrielle. He and I (Kindle Locations 2423-2425).
Pauline Books and Media. Kindle Edition.
There are moments when I can let go of my constant self-concern. It is then that I do actually feel a ligh
How I was touched by two different Christians in their witnessing to me
When I was in the navy, way back in the late sixties, I was stationed in San Diego for a short time in order to go to yeoman school. A yeoman is one who works in administration; though I spent most of my Navy career in personnel work. Dealing with personal records etc, something I liked but certainly would not want to make a lifetime go at it. For me doing admin work is like trying to climb out of a d
The quality of Mercy
When speaking about mercy there can be turns in the road, or forks even, where different aspects can be pondered. Like many other topics on the spiritual life, different facets can be dwelt upon, to the exclusion of others. Sometimes the best way to try to understand mercy, both human and Divine (though the mystery of the Infinite will always be that; mystery), is to contemplate how we experience it in our everyday life. Both on the receiving end and in the giving as wel
Do we all wrestle with God?
February 24—Ingrandes church. I said, “How can I come to comprehend love?” “Try to see Me in every happening, big and little. I say ‘little’ because it is in the daily round and taking all things from My hand that you will understand the divine care. How sweet and loving it will seem to you! But you will see it only superficially. Then go higher—go to the very heart of your God. Think of His immeasurable sufferings, known to Him beforehand, suffered every one
There are times when I panic
I have come to the conclusion that there are aspects of myself that will always be a tad wild and out of control. Over long years of hit and miss, I have come to the realization that all I can do is love those little devils and stop fighting them. I just offer them to the Lord and they seem to quiet down a bit. I suppose we all have thorns in our side that keep us seeking inner balance. Maybe they are needed. There are times when I panic, then I look to the Lord an
Grumpy geese and cantankerous old men
I went for a walk, about a week ago, it was a cloudy day, some fog, quiet, the way I like it. One of my favorite places here is a small pond that was used for irrigation many years ago when we had a big farm here. Time overlaps when I walk around this pond, for I remember past events, some going back 43 years, most of them pleasant. I don’t dwell on them; they are just there, like background music
The night before I took my walk, I was awakened at midn