What is practice?
In seeking to live deeply ones spiritual path it is best to keep it as uncomplicated as possible. Have a practice that is simple to do, because the effort is needed in keeping one foot in front of the other. Not to think of two steps forward or obsess on what happened two steps back, but to simply start where one is at. In chaos, or pain, in failure, or joy, or success, it is the same. All we can do is to start from where we stand, and taking the next step. Grace works the sam
Janet’s tough situation
I have known Janet for a long time. I first met her in 1991, when I was a guest-master for a short time. For just under two years. Over the years I have written some stories about our relationship, which while there was a closeness, was never what I would call a friendship. Yet, there was a bond.
She is actually a very intelligent woman and has an easy outgoing personality. She was a teacher for a while. Yet, as she aged, her underlying issues became stro
O Lord I prayed
‘Protect us from them”.
“There is no ‘them’, the Lord responded,
there is only Me”.
“What you do to ‘them’
is felt by me,
as well as wounding your own soul”.
“For I the Lord,
carry the pain of all,
as well as their deaths”.
“Out of love I freely do this,
on the cross, I show this,
for it is there that all souls rest”.
“Awaiting the third day--BrMD
The root of the matter
Jesus talks about receiving back what was given up; in the way of community and family; not in beautiful “things”. We are to seek love, and the reward is to constantly grow in our ability to love and embrace others. The reward is to see all whom we meet as our brothers and sisters, to truly see others as other-selves; or as Christ stated; “whatever you do to the least, you do unto me”.--Br.MD
What is God’s Compassion?
Never Lose Hope in God's Mercy (Rule of St. Benedict 4:74)
I have always been thankful for the Elders in the community. When I was a young monk in my mid-twenties, until I was around 35, Fr. Matt was my Spiritual guide. I still remember much of what I learned from him.
So as far as I can remember this is what Fr. Matt said: “It was an act of supreme mercy on the part of Jesus to ask Peter three times. For each time he asked Peter: “Peter do you love me?” It e
I can only speak for myself
It is not enough to say we are Christians.
We must live the faith, not only with our words,
but with our actions.--Pope Francis
When speaking about life, and what it means, each of us can only truthfully speak from our own perspective, or one’s faith path. I really can’t speak for anyone else. For me, the growth in faith, as well as my vocation as a monk has been a slow one. That is not true of many Christians, and that, of course, includes monks. I have kno
No need to force or to achieve
When fatigued it is hard to pray,
or focus, or at times to even think,
when the inner waves rise about me,
and anxieties seek to sink me,
it is then that my mind can race,
so over the long years, I have learned
that there is a place of inner calm,
as if I am sitting in a boat on a raging sea,
or resting into my fatigue,
and let myself sink into presence of the Infinite,
no need to force, or to achieve,
just simply be, with an inner ear to listen,
The Monastic Struggle
'Man's anger does not bring about the righteousness of God' (Jms. 1:20
We must, with God's help, eradicate the deadly poison of the demon of anger from the depths of our souls. So long as he dwells in our hearts and blinds the eyes of the heart with his somber disorders, we can neither discriminate what is for our good, nor achieve spiritual knowledge, nor fulfill our good intentions,
nor participate in true life;and our intellect will remain impervi
By the door, it sat, this big black dog,
it then walked away when I approached,
not running, just walking fast,
as if it did not know to run or trust,
it simply declined my presence.
I saw it the next morning in the grey dawn,
shivering it watched me again as I walked by,
ready to dart away,
yet wanting to come,
it must remember the caress of its master,
who abandoned him.
Then a week went by,
a man came and said that a dog,
skinny, black, and weak was by our lake,
All Souls Day
Lord on this day we remember your beloved children
who have left us and moved on to a greater reality,
where only truth reigns in your presence.
Your mercy is like a two-edged sword
cutting deep into the human soul
exposing all that needs healing,
for are you not the Divine Physician?
Love is a fire that burns away all that is false,
or at enmity with Infinite Love,
until only truth remains and total healing,
all sins forgiven, and self-inflicted wounds restored
The saints lived as we did,
days of joy and of sorrow,
faith sometimes fought for,
doubt reasoned with,
suffering and injustices endured,
and yes, many failures,
yet they endured and did not despair
slowly growing in their trust of Christ Jesus,
diving deeper into the Mind-Of-Christ,
until now they deeper in the kingdom
they are in union, one with,
Christ’s mind and intentions.
They are now fully human,
like Christ Jesus, for they now see him
as he really is, and tra
Life is a marathon, not a sprint
In life, we do not see the finish line,
we just begin each day anew,
perhaps conscious of our seeking,
or if not, perhaps wondering what compels us,
to continue in spite of failure and loss.
Joy, love, family, and friends help give spice to our days,
a healing balm more often than not,
giving us reasons to continue our quest,
that is often not understood.
Our faith is light that shines on the deepest meaning of life,
if we have the ears to hea
Letting go allows more life
When we die to something, something comes alive in us.
If we die to self, charity comes alive; if we die to pride, service comes alive;
if we die to lust, reverence for personality comes alive; if we die to anger, love comes alive.—Fulton Sheen
In Monastic Life, in the Cistercian order, we take a vow of ‘Conversion of Manners’. Vows can be life-affirming if used as a compass on how to traverse the many situations we meet up with on a daily basis.
The Reality of His Presence
“For you I must be everything. Everything! You understand?
Your life is mine…Move out of yourself; I’m living in you.
Do you grasp what I mean? I take up all the room.”
(From the book “He and I”) Author: Gabrielle Bossis
Pauline Press 6 Feb 41
(From the book “He and I”) Author: Gabrielle Bossis
Pauline Press 6 Feb 41
God accommodates us when He speaks. Using language that we can understand, when speaking of the incomprehensible, the ineffab
Some things are out of our control
There is a lot to life that is out of our control. Our aging, for instance, time makes sure that we keep on moving on. One second, day, week, month, year and decade at a time; the ride does not stop until we do. It is like an apple that drops from the tree; once it starts it won’t stop until it lands. We all have to deal with this until we have our landing day. I guess being a pilgrim could be visualized as our being born (falling from the tree) and going u
Impossible human situations
(The Abortion Issue)
The abortion question is divisive, and I approach it with a certain level of fear and trembling. It is not a simple matter at all. I have friends who are pro-choice. They focus on the mother, her plight, and wish to protect women from procedures that are illegal and perhaps a threat to their lives. I do believe that abortion is not something that will ever go away. However, there are deep moral implications when it comes to this subject.
Tenderness and Relationship with God
January 20—Le Fresne church. . . . “Don’t be afraid of being too tender. Or of saying too much to your beloved. Complain about yourself. Say to Him, ‘When will You heal me, My great friend, of this or that?’ So many things in you are unworthy of Me. Humble yourself as you think of this. Hide all your ugliness in My heart. It’s a hospital, you know, and doesn’t one sometimes come out of a hospital cured? Trust in Me with all your heart since I am your great
The little ones
I believe that we are all little ones,
not the childish children who rebel,
but those who know of their need for grace
and understand that we are called to servanthood.
To seek those who are overlooked and forgotten,
just as there are times when we need to be sought out,
for we are all walking a path towards mystery, eternity.
The more trust is embraced, chosen, and lived,
the deeper we go into the heart of mankind,
into the very Heart-Of-God,
revealed in Jesus C
We Would Die of Joy
All things pass,
that can be consoling,
stay calm and take the next step,
we have this moment
then it is is gone, so important the 'now',
even the bad times,
especially the hard painful situations,
for when present, we are face to face
with the deepest mystery,
revealed to us as Infinite Love,
a love so profound that if we felt it
for even one second in all of its power,
we would die of joy.--Br.MD
The Fatigue/Lethargy of Life
Grace is everywhere, it can be seen working in the hearts of many men and woman, who may not have faith, but seek to relieve the suffering of those they encounter.—BrMD.
“I do not measure time as men measure it, nor do I judge the intensity of suffering as men do. I know what I am doing, even when I hide My plans from men in order to test their faith in Me, and cause that faith to grow strong and indomitable. There are, alas, many souls who, in There are,
I am an unprofitable servant
This past Sunday we had our Lay Cistercians at our retreat house. It is a monthly affair. Below is a homily that he shared with the Lay Cistercians by our Fr. Cassian. He always has an interesting slant when he speaks about the parables in the Gospel. Hope you all enjoy and get something out of it.—BrMD
Preached to the Lay Cistercians
October 6, 2019 by Fr. Cassian OCSO
I am an unprofitable servant. An unworthy servant. An unnecessary servant.
What we all seek
What remains after we die?
Our money goes first,
perhaps fought over by our loving family,
if we have it is soon gone,
and if not what does it matter(?),
a picture in a book
or in many books means little when dead.
Perhaps it is the seeds planted in loving service,
giving life to others
producing much fruit,
is what remains.
For love is what we all seek
like plants rising up to the sun
seeking light and warmth.-
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
Holy Feast of St. Therese 2019
Only God can see what is in the bottom of our hearts;
we are half-blind.—St. Therese of Lisieux
Two great sins that are very common, so common in fact that they are taken lightly. Something is sinful when we fail to love as commanded by our Lord. It is something that we do to ourselves, and along with it comes a self-wounding that leads to alienation from ourselves, others, and sadly in the end, if allowed to grow in our souls, from God. Self-hatred leads t