Memories of Panama, Midway Island, and homesickness and nostalgia
Memories are very interesting, giving both pleasure and pain. The pleasant ones, those based on our past can bring out a sweet melancholy that for me can’t quite be pinpointed. Thoughts and pictures from the past that can be wiped clean, leaving only what was good, fun and actually healing on many levels. This experience of melancholy I believe, at least for me, is the sadness of seeing my past getting longer than my future. A
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
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. Did not know what his job entailed, but he told me that he was on the road 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 h
A beautiful, drizzly, morning
(My first sighting of our box turtle)
After Lauds, and Mass, I was on my way to our refectory, to do one of my duties, morning dishes. It was for me a beautiful morning. It was cloudy and rainy. When the sky is overcast it brings out the green in our grass, bushes, and trees. For me, it almost becomes a dark jade green color. It brings me peace to see rainy weather, and I guess, I love it more than sunshine. As I was walking towards the refectory, I noticed
"When we have nothing left but God, we discover that God is enough. "A few years I saw a picture online of a man standing on a dock looking down at the water and the caption said: 'when we have nothing left but God, we discover that God is enough'. In my own life, I have found that statement and the things you said here to be quite true. It seems to me as if we have to get to that point, as God waits patiently for us...and we journey to the very edge and that is where God reveals Himself to
I was talking to Br. Elias this AM after community Mass. We both do breakfast dishes together most mornings. It is a nice time to spend with him. We have a good system and it only takes about 20 or 30 minutes. I have known him from the early 70’s and he is a very gentle kind man. I enjoy doing dishes by myself or with one other. It is quiet and afterward, I felt like I did something to make a chaotic world a little less disordered. You could call it a ‘practice’si
When in heaven I will dance
(Lord give me the eyes to see beauty)
This morning the Abbot gave a talk on beauty. His talks are good and there usually one point that will jump out at me and won’t let go. He talked about seeing others, having the eyes to see what is perhaps hidden behind our walls of protection.
I do believe that what Jesus said about becoming a child is true, yet perhaps another way to look at this is to understand that he understood us and knew that in reality we
Full moon and clouds above
I like to get up early. I have a routine that I do just about everyday. I go to the retreat-house kitchen and turn on the back porch light. I also shake the door before I open it because the light switch (chain) is on the outside. I shake the door to warn any critters who might be hanging out there….possums, cats, and who knows even an inquisitive coyote or raccoon. So I rattle the door twice and then go out. This morning as I was about to turn on the light
The man with the prayer-shawl
Compline is our last prayer service (or divine office) of the day. It is at 7:30 and probably the most beautiful of our services. We pray the same prayers for Compline every night, so during the time of the year when the days are shorter it is sung in the dark. It is also for me the hardest one to attend. I am pretty tired at that time, for we get up early, so I guess 7:30 is more like 11:30 as far as my body is concerned.
Last night I decided to go for
Each moment filled with light,
if not seen who then is at fault?
Blind I often am to ‘this’ moment,
In ‘anywhere else’,
an illusion with a real price
giving nothing at all.
Not a simple endeavor
There is suffering, and then there is suffering. We can be victims of others, blaming everyone for our interpersonal problems as well as moral difficulties. Or we can begin to look at things differently and in a loving manner towards ourselves. This is not a simple endeavor, but very difficult, for it is a turning away from a life that is filled with internal struggle, not only towards our selves but others. Taking responsibility for ones life is not about acceptin
To withstand my inner storms
of self-righteous indignation
(my secret place)
Yelling at someone is useless
or pointing fingers the same,
endless squabbles leading to violence
with words that cut deeply
or physical wounds from someone striking out,
blaming others without looking within,
seeing in a mirror darkly,
not understanding the endless web
of further fragmentation and isolation.
The only true bridge is not some sentiment,
or passing emotion or even deep feeling,
On the fringe
He is a little guy, with a long white beard,
he has two canes tied together,
he carries two books,
a worn bible,
and a secret book,
has a very gentle smile and soft voice,
does not want to cause any trouble.
he is on the fringe,
so he is very interesting to talk to,
he is at peace, accepts whatever comes,
does not take advantage of others,
his eyes are kind as well as wise,
so perhaps I am the one on the fringe,
he closer to the center.
It is not enough to just seek to understand what Jesus said, but also to delve deeper into how he actually related to those he came in contact with in the Gospels. The bottom line is that human beings are relational creatures. We have relationships of course with everyone we know and love. We relate as well, though at a different level and intensity, to those that we meet perhaps only once, those we even drive by on the highway, the poor man or woman on the corner asking for help, and those w
The year was 1969, and it was a typical lovely evening at Whiting Field,a Naval Air Station situated near the town of Milton, Florida, about an hours drive more or less from Pensacola. I was on my way to the enlisted men’s club to see some friends and have a drink with them. It was a weekday, so it would be a nice quiet place to spend some time just talking about things. I had no idea that on this short walk I was going to take a fork in the road that would both enrich my l
Sacred Journey toward the End of Life Retreat/Being a Caregiver
I am aware that there is much in caregiving that is rewarding. It can bring healing on an emotional level to be able to take care of one’s parents or other family members. There are times of laughter, of deep sharing and compassion and empathy can deepen. The relationship with the caregiver and the care-receiver can be one of the most intimate relationships possible. However, there is a side to being a car
(New Year 2018)
My brothers and I used to babysit for some our neighbors when we lived in Gulick Heights. I did for about three years, until I was around 16. I was always asked to babysit for New-Years- Eve. I never really got it, why all the fuss, it was just a day on the calendar. Of course, I did not understand at that young age the need for having a point from which to begin again, and the first of January was that day for many people. Though how getting drunk over
What is the present moment?
Live, then, in the present moment. Choose to be faithful to Me in the little things that I give you and ask of you from minute to minute, from hour to hour, and from day to day.3 It is foolish to pin your hopes and to spend your energy on an imaginary good, when the real good that I offer you is here and now.
A Benedictine Monk. In Sinu Jesu: When Heart Speaks to Heart--
The Journal of a Priest at Prayer (Kindle Locations 3220-3223). Angelico Press. Kindle E
Experiences as a young monk that helped me stay in community
(The gift of community and the struggle)
People who live in community and by that I am not talking about a religious community but about any gathering or grouping that seeks to live together over the long haul, no matter what the interior struggle or outer chaos is. The giftedness that flows from community includes the struggle, perhaps the most important one. When people separate themselves from their family or larger comm
Edmund my friend
(This was written in July of o6. He was in our infirmary for many years,
I still miss him, quite the lovable character)
He sits calmly with his smile,
Peacefully listening to Billy’s soft smooth voice,
Its flow so pure
Calming the mind
Allowing memories of past days remembrance,
Of youth taken for granted but now just a dream
Jazz is number one
He often tells me so,
Summertime his favorite song,
Looking inward as he listens
Conversion of Manners
Stability and Obedience are the vows we live by on a daily basis within our community. Conversion-of-manners is the vow that allows this to take place. When Christian’s talk of failure and sin, it comes from the assumption that we all have the ability to grow in interior freedom and in doing that we correspondingly grow in our ability to relate with compassion, empathy and love with those we live with.
There is a story about a visitor to a monastery and the visitor as
It does not matter what you want,
What we seek, when found, often means nothing.
Beautiful bodies do not bring joy,
Money often leads to ruin,
Greed and lust easily destroy what is desired.
To capture the desired,
Is no longer wanted.
Seek, won, discard,
Endless the search in vain
We seek and are made for the infinite,
It cannot be captured or owned,
Hence it is ever new in its mystery.
Until the s