Prophets are so very annoying
(The feast of St. John the Baptist)
Prophets are noted for their urgency as well as being very annoying. They are outspoken and can be strange. St. John the Baptist is no exception. He spoke out about the seriousness of our lives. About the importance of taking stock of what we are doing with our time here and how we are living and from that honest appraisal, to make straight our paths in serving the Lord in our daily lives. Prophets bring to
The struggles of those in prison
(the normal human struggle though intensified)
Human beings are complicated. Our inner lives can often be messy, chaotic and can often be filled with inner conflict. Sometimes the conflict can comes from a place buried so deep that it may never be found out. Yet it must be dealt with. In fact we can even be unconscious of the affect we have on others, but for those on the receiving end, it is in plain sight. So growth towards humility/self-knowledg
Some mornings I do wake up grumpy. That is not normal for me, since I am what you could call a morning person. You know the type that can drive others crazy by my smile and chipper ‘good morning pilgrim’ kind of corny thing. However there are mornings when I just want to stay there until my grumpiness goes away. So I get up, have some coffee, caffeine does help a bit and start my day just as other ‘grumpy’ people do. I am just glad that I only visit that group rarely. Howeve
The life death of Sr. Mary Magdalene a 97 year old Nun (In her own words)
(this a written as a response to a post from this site https://www.worthychristianforums.com/topic/200404-a-nuns-story/)
My birth name was Ruth and I was born on the 1st of January 1918 and died on the 25th of March 2015. Though I was born on a day that promised new beginnings, sad to say that was not true for me. I really did not have a childhood for I was abandoned at birth in a dumpster in back of the apartm
Pray what you are
When I pray and am disturbed, I gather that disturbance and offer it up as my gift to the Lord. All that is good and loving in me is from graces giftedness, all I have to offer is what is still in distress and rebellion against God's loving intent for my life. In prayer we become transformed into Christ Jesus......it is a true wonder, though I am still very much on the way. Now if only I could allow Christ to work in me in such a way that others see Him when they encoun
How we talk, respond and listen is important
If in anger we speak, we draw down the same upon us. In speaking truth, love and calmness suffice, for others to listen, they must not feel attacked. No one sees into the soul or heart of the matter, yet we must speak what we think is right.....we must also allow others to speak as well. To have a disagreement is to expected, it does not imply bad will.
No one can change me, nor can I modify others, yet in communic
Prisoners and prayer
One of the prisoners I am writing to is named Leonard. He is in prison for a serious crime and he admits to it. He is also in for a long term. At this time he is in a ‘religious block’, where they get classes not only on religion, but also about culture and math, as well as learning some sort of skill. He has a lot to work with and to top it off his mother has cancer and there is no one to help her at this time. He is also trying to deepen his relationship with God
Living ones faith
Religions have always stressed that compassion is not onlycentral to religious life; it is the key to enlightenment and it the true test of spirituality.
But there have always have been those
who'd rather put easier goals, like doctrine conformity, in place.
I believe it is important to know what one believes. Study of ones spiritual path is important, but the living out from its central driving force is of absolute importance. When t
The greatest accomplishment
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to
make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson
If ones faith, religion and spiritual path, doses not lead them to their true selves, then it is a sham and will not become real until what one says they are seeking becomes ‘Real’ as well. Until then, our friends, culture, mind numbing entertainment and advertisements will fill that void.
On Christmas day, of this year, the abbot came by the retreat house office, asking me to please talk to an elderly woman who seemed confused and may need some help. She was parked in our parking lot that is next to our gatehouse. It was around 7 PM when I went out to speak to her. There was only one car in the parking-lot so it was easy to know where to go.
She was an elderly woman and as soon as she rolled down the window, I knew that I was going to like her. She was n
Fr. Jerome RIP
He was a man of deep emotions,
shy, introverted and fearful of many things,
covered over by a blanket of anger,
with a glowering stare,
yet underneath was a man of tenderness
and open to friendship and true.
His silence was deep and he could sit for hours,
Yet when he laughed, such a sound,
after being with him when he exploded in a roar of mirth,
you think he would die from it,
he would become purple from gasping,
you understood what a belly laugh
The noonday devil (Acedia) and the experience of nothingness
Chapter Talk 4/1/17
When ask to respond to the invitation to describe the ‘Cistercian charism’ specific to our Order as you desire to live it out in your community? My spontaneous response was this:
“I believe that Lectio Divina is at the heart of our charism. Without it, our lives can become too scattered and we can lose our focus. As well as enclosure, which is often hard to keep when living near a large city and dep
Fr. John O’Brien has been a monk at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit since 1973. He was ordained a priest in 1983. He entered the Monastery at the age of 38. He is a quiet man, very thoughtful and compassionate. He is one of our Confessor’s here at our Retreat House. He is deeply in touch with the human condition and when he gives his homilies it comes through in a gentle, loving manner.
The piece below is a talked he gave about a year ago.
A monastic presence here
Dialogue between heart and gut
I met a man once, not so long ago,
who asked for help in a convincing manner,
so I did, and he came back a few times after,
yet a part of me did not trust him,
however, I wanted to, so we would talk
about nothing really, until money came up.
Heart and gut can work together,
yet when in a pinch, the gut is usually right.
My heart said, well you may be wrong about him,
do not be unjust.
My gut said, he is draining you, you can feel it,
The gift of melody with it different rhythms,
Soft, and gentle, soothing the soul;
Or fast pounding in its is presentation,
Causing the blood to burn as it flows,
Bringing life and the joy of movement to the fro,
Is like an arrow with it's point aflame
Piercing the heart causing waters to burst forth,
A fountain of healing mist
Bringing life to an otherwise inner desert,
Parched and longing,
Thirsting for the living stream
Which only certain melodies can release.
I am amazed that I still write. Before I was fifty, sixteen short years ago, I had a dislike or an actual aversion for writing. When young I did some writing for classes, but apart from that, no, I had no inclination. The few times that I did sit down and try to scribe, what came out on paper only showed inner chaos and pain; no wonder I hesitated to continue that endeavor.
I however did (and still do) love to read. I perhaps read too much, book after book, no doubt a w
This weekend we are having a retreat on self-confrontation. It is a strong title and when I thought of doing this retreat I thought that it would not be very well attended. I expected around 12-15 people at the most. That was in 2014. To my surprise it filled up and seems to do so every year. It is a retreat that seeks to pull in everyone’s participation, for you will only get out of it what you put in to it. Jackie R., one of our Lay Cistercians help
A woman who really tried my patience
I love to get up early in the morning. I do not say very early because that is a term that will mean different times according to one’s life situation. So when I get up at 2:30, it is not that early, since the wake-up bell goes off at 3:45. The reason I am saying that, is because, it also applies to getting to bed at a decent hour. So for me, 8 PM is more like midnight, I guess.
Last night I was finishing up some work in the retreat house off
Bang, Bang, I shot the gun (I was five and he was six, and we used to play with sticks,
Bang, Bang, I shot the gun, Bang, Bang,
that Awful Sound, Bang, Bang, He hit the ground, Bang, Bang.)
---Sony and Cher
One of the retreatants came up to me on Tuesday evening to talk to me. We are having a retreat that is really about aging, how to deal with it, what it means etc. I will name this woman Edna. She is a unique person and in a world where people are all more or less unique
Jim, a young man in a wheelchair
(and trying not to blink)
As I was waking from the parking lot towards Grady Hospital, the day after Fr. Eduardo was brought in to the Trauma unit, I saw the usual diverse group of people going in and coming out. Doctors, nurses, people who worked there and those coming in to see family members who were patients there. I also noticed a young man in a wheelchair trying to get to the front entrance. You see, the whole main entrance of Grady i
Prayer and the Image of God retreat
(13-15 Feb 2015)
This weekend we are having a retreat titled “Prayer and the Image of God”. A synonym for image is the word ‘icon’. So it could be called ‘Prayer and the Icon of God’. In the Eastern Church icons are used instead of statues that Christians in the West like to use. Though in the West, their use is becoming more common among Roman Catholics. The theology behind the use of icons is profound and if understood properly can be a powe
The meeting of a wise gentle man
I had a doctor’s appointment yesterday. As I was sitting in the office reading, a man walked in, I guess he was a little younger than me, but in his 60’s. He seemed weary and brought in with him a cup of coffee. After a while we started talking to pass the time, for the Doctor was running late. He was a man who for the past ten years has had many serious, chronic, medical conditions that he has had to endure. Yet as he continued speaking he brought u
Lent and waiting
Once a month a few of us meet for a faith sharing group. There are usually around six members of our community who attend. Each month a monk is chosen to present a point of discussion for the gathering. This month the presenter wanted to discuss Lent and Joy.
I don’t like Lent much. It is not like Advent, which is also a time of waiting, but it is more of anticipation, so advent is peaceful for me. Lent is another matter all together. When Lent arrives coldness set