Letter to Michael who died in 1958 (my little brother
The most common experience for most of us, if we live long enough, is to experience the loss of loved ones, be they family, or friends. Over the last few years, my family has experienced the loss of three siblings. It is not easy, but a normal part of life. Losing a sibling at birth, and not having any experience of knowing, loving, holding, or simply being with, is something different altogether. Below is a letter I wrote to a brother who
I wrote this ten years ago. A very beautiful memory about a day I spent with Fr. Luke, and a visit with Claire a dear friend, and a very funny lady. To spend time with her is to lalugh.--BrMD
A day out with Luke
Took Luke, who is 96 years old,
to see a good friend yesterday,
I combine trips,
he had a dentist appointment,
and Clair lives 15 miles away,
she loves Luke very much, which is not hard to do,
he is a gentle soul,
always smiling and helps to take care of people 30
What is real, and most important in our lives?
January 13—Le Fresne church. I said, “Truth, I adore You.” “Yes, I am Truth. Sin is falsehood, error, darkness. “Every form of goodness is truth: the desire for good, work for justice . . . You will see later that only one thing matters and that is truth, for God alone matters. Attach no importance whatsoever to anything apart from Me, however pleasing it may be. Happiness is found in Me alone. “When I created man I placed deep within him a s
Riding the waves
Emotions rise and fall,
fueled by unruly thoughts,
like ocean waves, we learn to ride,
knowing that it will pass,
and calm restored.
There are storms and lightning,
we may feel like we are drowning,
then it calms and we find peace for a time.
There is love and friendship,
the waves beautiful and they carry us,
over the rough eddies that we must traverse,
carrying us into deeper love and trust,
learning forgiveness and compassion.
In the midst of the whir
This weekend Br. Cassian asked me to give a talk on the working of the Holy Spirit in the world and evil. Since my world for almost 50 years has been living in a monastic world, that was the only world I could speak on. Below are some thoughts on the subject.
Monastic life and the Holy Spirit
(the struggle with evil)
The Good Zeal Of Monks (The Rule Of St. Benedict – Chapter 72)
Just as there is a wicked zeal of bitterness which separates from God and leads to hell, s
In consolation or desolation, we are called to trust
Adore Me is to give Me the freedom to act within you and upon you
Monday, September 5, 2011: There is no need to force your prayer, as if it were something of your own doing. It is enough to remain with Me, content to be in My presence as I am content to be in yours. Adore Me and trust Me to restore your energy, your health, and your joy in My service. Those who adore Me know that My presence renews the soul and the body. Experience th
The Exultation of the Cross feast day
Preached September 14, 2019, Fr. Cassian OCSO.".
"Make a saraph and mount it on a pole, and if any who have been bitten look at it, they will live." And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life."
Here we are given an example of how scripture reverberates with scripture. Seeking these scriptural reverberations was the preferred method of exeges
The challenge that fear presents
Fear is a gift, like all emotions and feelings,
If we listen to what is being presented to us
it can lead to greater freedom, and healing.
To fear what can hurt or kill us is of course wise,
yet irrational fear, mistaken as real, can lead to an inner prison.
Harmful cycles in our lives have a life of their own,
always ending in the same situation of pain, fear, and depression.
They wrap us in inner chains and drag us.down.
If we do no
She talked about her time in Rwanda
A kind, peaceful looking woman,
not one to draw attention to herself,
spoke to our group for a few minutes,
a very powerful presentation
given in a soft, gentle, even, loving voice.
She talked about her time in Rwanda,
she was a member of the Tutsi tribe,
she went through hell, lost most of her family.
She hid with a few young family members, children,
her nephew was almost thrown into the river,
yet she said they were spared.
Stepping over the wall of fear
Fear is a great gift given to us to help us stay alive in a world where anything can happen in an instant. Rational fears need to be listened to and followed.
It is irrational fears that can cause havoc in life. We can freeze, almost go into a fetal position on an emotional level, and be undone. Often over things that are not that big of a threat, or what is being asked of us, that is in reality life-affirming.
It is possible for people to allow fear to so d
A case of self-deliverance (healing)
The struggle with fear can be one that is hidden from others. It can happen when alone, really alone, like on a country road in the country with no one within miles.
A good friend of mine related this story to me”
She was going to a church in the country here in Georgia for a talk. The road was a dirt road, no street lights, and no homes within sight. It was then that she suddenly started to become filled with fear. It was so bad that she felt almost
Called to break the chains
Fear is here to protect us,
to give a warning about danger,
however, sometimes fear can
be too protective and cut us off from life.
Some fears need to be heeded,
others to be worked on and passed over,
for like overprotective parents
some fears can imprison us.
We are called to break the chains of
the sins others have done against us,
so that we may be healers instead of hurters--Br.Md
When compulsive thoughts seem to rule,
a short phrase for prayer will help,
gently said, slowly, without rush,
when racing thoughts intrude
with a calm spirit remember your prayer,
a real prayerful thought freely said,
lovingly from the heart,
will slowly displace the impersonal
racing tapes and movies in one's head,.
Be patient, in time the heart will pray,
the reality of Christ Presence will become real,
and while there is a struggle, slowly healin
You will get through this
Nothing in life is permanent,
neither the good times,
nor the bad, each has a season,
one pleasant, the other hell-like,
anxiety-driven, yet it passes.
We are called to be faithful 'this day',
or even this one moment,
for free choices no matter how small
have great significance.
Moments are steps we take,
each leading to the next,
there is no middle ground,
we are going forward or backward,
so yes life is a struggle,
A Woman in Need
A woman came today in need,
so many tears and fears expressed,
another impossible human situation,
we did what we could,
gave her some numbers,
helped her out in other ways,
but so much worry and pain,
her life changed as they say on a dime.
Sometimes all you can do is take a deep breath
and let it out slowly.--Br.MD
Five Insights From Dorothy Day on Death and Dying
We all know that our time is at a premium, yet how do we spend our time? I would think that if we really believed that our lives continue after we 'die', it would spur us to seek to deepen our understanding of life's journey. Do we have an immortal soul, and or we responsible for the kind of people we become? To say we sin means that we can choose otherwise, though the death to self is difficult, achieved by grace.
If God is love, then ar
Assumption of Mary 2019
“While she lived on this earth,, Mary could only be close to a few people. Being in God, who is close to us, actually, “within” all of us, Mary shares in this closeness of God. Being in God and with God, she is close to each one of us, knows our hearts, can hear our prayers, can help us with her motherly kindness and has been given to us, as the Lord said, precisely as a “mother” to whom we can turn at every moment.” Benedict XVI
I have given up trying to e
Receiving Fr. James’s Behrens body
When a member of our community dies, we gather the day before the funeral to receive the body. I guess this is around my 55th time for this, and a very powerful liturgical event.
Family, and friends of the Monastery gather for the ‘Vespers’ for the dead. The body is placed in our bier, and 8 men are the pall-bearers. The body leads the procession to the front of the church, where it is placed beneath the Paschal Candle. The candle that is lit at the East
Mary's role iln the Christian Path
Every since I was a small child, I have had a devotion to the Blessed Mother. I do think because of that, my devotion has not interfered with my intimacy with Christ Jesus, but only over the years deepened it. This is the experience of untold numbers of Christians from the old expressions of the Christian faith. Also, I have met many non-Catholic’s who have admitted to me a love of Mary, as well as of the Rosary.
There will perhaps never be a time when
Prisoners are Beloved Children of God
Every once in awhile I like to share something about my experience in writing prisoners. I fell into it by accident, if truth be told. One day the abbot brought me a letter from a prisoner about 5 years ago and requested that I write to him. It is been rewarding for me on many levels.
Some of the men I write to, actually need to be in jail. Others got caught doing something very stupid when they were young. One prisoner will never get out for w
Fr. James’s funeral
All the years that I have been here, we have never had such a crowd for a monk’s funeral. It was a touching, and beautiful, experience for the whole community. Our lives are interesting, we go through our lives meeting others on a daily basis. We interact with one another, yet for the most part, it never occurs to us how we have influenced those around us. We do remember those who have touched us deeply.
What we become is made by one choice at a time. There is no su
How we respond or react
We can sit, or stand or lay down,
really we don’t have to do anything,
time still flies, what to do?
Getting through the day can be rough,
yet each moment precious,
how we respond and interact
with those we meet carries more weight
than we may ever know.
Freedom or free will is a seed
that can only grow by the choices we make,
small ones are practice for the big ones,
when pressure builds,
emotions arise in all their force,
it is then we are called to
We must not underestimate how tribal and primitive and fearful we can become. All through history we have reacted with brutality. Thereby continuing the cycle of violent behavior. Often this reaction is indiscriminate. If we must fight radical Islam, let’s not bring all Muslims into this war. If we do, we will only make things worse and radicalize more Muslims, who will then through their actions, radicalize more non-Muslims.
The so-called ALT-Right or certain groups, like
The importance of journaling
(for writing and Journal Retreat this weekend 8/2-8/4))
Writing down one's thoughts can be a very helpful way to search the depths of the inner life, and in doing so learn what is believed and known by the one writing. Our everyday consciousness is there to keep us grounded in the world around us, to allow us to relate to those around us in such a way that we are not perceived as a threat, etc. When living around a great deal of people,, working in crowded work