Surrendering to love
(“And Jacob wrestled with God”)
For me, the concept of surrender brings to mind some sort of previous struggle. It has a warlike feel to it, something that can be a long arduous exchange. Jacob in his struggle with God was wounded and for the rest of his life, he had a painful limp.
When meditating on the Scriptures they can be used analogically in order to derive some benefit from it. Jacob wrestled all night with his concept of God brought to ‘flesh’, it was a mig
The sea, Ayn Rand, hotdogs, and a job in 1976
(This is an older piece written in July of 06).
I remember visiting some of the family in Texas, it was in 1976 and I guess I spent about 4 months there. I was 26, questioning on which direction that I wanted my life to go in. I was not in any kind of crisis, but just realized that I needed to think about some things, and to try to figure out why I made certain choices, and come to some kind of decision if I wanted to continue in the direction I
The human experience
It is quite a journey for all of us,
our inner world a cauldron of emotions,
feelings, and thoughts,
With simply trying to be present,
to be grounded in the world,
true, not a safe place,
but one filled with wonder,
beauty, joy, and relationships.
Peppered with sorrow, pain, loss,
There are also new beginnings,
each moment perhaps just that,
for we choose more than we know,
how we react,
in how we treat others,
A troubled young man
About a year ago, we had a young man come into the retreat house one morning asking if he could stay a couple of nights. He was traveling and his place of employment would pay for his lodging. I did not know what his job entailed, but he told me that he was on the road for about two weeks every month.
He did not talk to anyone for most of his stay, but he seemed deeply troubled all during his retreat here. Not in an agitated way, but it was how he presented himself. His
A conversation about the Merciful God
With a Despairing Soul.
Do not be absorbed in your misery – you are still too weak to speak of it – but, rather; gaze on My Heart filled with goodness, and be imbued with My sentiments. Strive for meekness and humility; be merciful to others, as I am to you; and, when you feel your strength failing, if you come to the fountain of mercy to fortify your soul, you will not grow weary on your journey--Faustina’s diary(1485)
There is no end to God’s mercy;
I am hopeful but ready for a rough ride
As I grow older, I am becoming more aware of my own tendency to make judgments that come from a deep place of fear and anxiety. I guess it has always been so, yet becoming more apparent.
I find it infinitely amazing that Jesus forgave all on the cross, an act that is probably the most loving, and truly human act ever accomplished.
We are called to that, Christians, yet we know we can't do it on our own. Only when we allow the heart
“You are the light of the world.”
(Jesus tightens the screws, as he always does.)
Preached February 9, 2020
by Fr. Cassian OCSO
“You are the light of the world.”
Last Sunday we heard the words of Simeon as he held the infant Jesus in the Temple: “My eyes have seen a light for revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of your people Israel.” The light Simeon proclaimed is the same light we proclaim at Easter: Christ our Light.
Today we hear that we are the light of the world. How
A face in the crowd
In the crowd, the milling thousands,
people and their humanity are lost,
yet there are times when I see a face,
a woman, a child or an older man, or woman,
rushing along carried by the stream of humanity,
preoccupied with their own worries and pain,
or perhaps reliving some joy or another,
yet to me, it can just be a face,
seen once and then forgotten.
They have no name, just someone rushing by,
or if I am part of the throng
avoiding me, stepping aside
Letting Go and Trusting
In all circumstances be humble; never insist on your own way. Present your desires and opinions simply and confidently, and then leave all things in My hands. The outcome will be according to My designs and I will not be thwarted by the resistance or shortsightedness of My human agents.
A Benedictine Monk. In Sinu Jesu: When Heart Speaks to Heart
--The Journal of a Priest at Prayer (p. 88). Angelico Press. Kindle Edition.
There is an old adage that says “Old age
Intimacy with God and others
Trust Me with all things, even the most insignificant. I am like a mother to the souls who believe in My merciful love; whatsoever touches them, touches Me.1 If only My priests knew this from personal experience, they would be compelled then to preach it, and many souls would discover through them just how deep and all-encompassing is the tenderness of My Sacred Heart for those who trust in My merciful love.
A Benedictine Monk. In Sinu Jesu: When Hea
Mary and the Holy Trinity
(Salve Window in our Monastic Church)
Our Salve-Window shows how the Holy Trinity is involved in Mary’s greatness. This brings to light the Trinity’s love, and the freely given grace, as well as her special place in our Christian Faith. It also shows as well the Trinitarian desire for the destiny of all men and women. Mary shows us what we are all called to…..oneness with the Holy Trinity.
The Father pointing, saying this is my Beloved Son, listen to Him. The
Praying with Mary
My soul magnifies the Lord
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;
Because He has regarded the lowliness of His handmaid.
I was talking with a wonderful guest we had here for a retreat last week. We talked about many things and one of the subjects she brought up was the Blessed Mother. She told me that she loved the Blessed Mother, but did not understand the relationship that Catholics and other Christians from the older Churches had with her.
As we talked, I brou
Ash Wednesday is early this year
On Tuesday evening, the abbot asked a couple of members in the community to set with Br. Alan. He is our oldest member in the community, 99 years old. He has aged well, and has only started weakening when he was around 96. Till then he got around well, attended Mass, and while in the infirmary, did not need a whole lot of care in the beginning. Yet, time moves on, and now he needs full time care, and there are come cognitive issues,
This is an older piece that I want to reshare. Fr. James and Br. Lauren (both deceased) are part of this essay, and in rereading it brought back some fond memories. Also, my brother is himself into photography, and very good at it. The picture below is his, and one of my favorites. I have it in my room and never tire of looking at it.--Br.MD
I was asked to drive one of the brothers to a doctor’s appointment yesterday afternoon. I have known him a long time; in fact, we were no
Dealing with resentment
These are notes for my first talk. I believe that the picture I used for this essay
does show the inner state of resentment when it is extreme.
The quotes I am using come from GoodTherapy® webpage
Resentment is not the easiest subject to talk about, even if it is a very common problem for many people. There is no easy answer on how to deal with these painful issues, and no matter what one thinks about how it can be done, it sti
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.