Bernard and Benedict

Vision of St Bernard with Sts Benedict and Joh...

Vision of St Bernard with Sts Benedict and John the Evangelist (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Only by the power of the movement of my heart… did I perceive his presence, and I knew the power of his might because my faults were put to flight and my human yearnings brought into subjection. I have marveled at the depth of his wisdom when my secret faults have been revealed and made visible; at the very slightest amendments of my way of life I have experienced his goodness and mercy. In the renewal and remaking of the spirit of my mind, that is of my in most being, I have perceived the  excellence of his glorious beauty, and when I contemplate all these things I am filled with awe and wonder at his manifold greatness.”  ___ Prayer of Thomas Keating


From Bernard “As often as He slips away from me, so often shall I call him back.”

Desert Mystics Sorta

The Abba Pentalewon Monastery near Aksum (Tigr...

The Abba Pentalewon Monastery near Aksum (Tigray Region, Ethiopia). Русский: Монастырь Абба Пенталевон близ Аксума (Тыграй, Ефиопия). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Abba Lot went to see Abba Joseph and said to him: Abba, as much as I am able I practice a small rule, a little fasting, some prayer and meditation, and remain quiet and as much as possible I keep my thoughts clean. What else should I do? Then the old man stood up and stretched his hands toward heaven, and his fingers became like ten torches of flame and he said to him: If you wish, you can become all flame.”

Gossamer Nights

English: Grazing Sheep and Gossamer. The whole...

English: Grazing Sheep and Gossamer. The whole field was covered with gossamer, virtually invisible unless a low viewpoint was taken into the sun. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Kissed by a light sleeper. Fire is kindled. Autumnal winds. Leaves cling to skeleton trees. The shadow dream, the inner song is coming to life. The restless wind and rain comfort me in my familiar sanctuary.


Sobornost means a kind of collegiality. I am prompted to meditate on the communion of all creation. My prayer with the Russian Orthodox folks, the walk in the woods, the waves on the lake at night, the beauty of every person I see leads me to gratitude and hope. This consciousness of a real connection with all that is a liturgy of sorts. Communion is continuous. There are no distractions, that is good news.

Lithuanian Russian Orthodox Church

Lithuanian Russian Orthodox Church (Photo credit: FlissJ)

The clue is not to exclude everything but to bring it all in.

Kinship with nature

Thomas Merton (1915-1968)

Thomas Merton (1915-1968) (Photo credit: DUCKMARX)

“How necessary it is for monks to work in the fields, in the rain, in the sun, in the mud, in the clay, in the wind: these are our spiritual directors and our novice-masters. They form our contemplation. they instill us with virtue. They make us as stable as the land we live in”

                                                                                         —Thomas Merton

The season of Fall offers many reflections for the monk and artist. Nature is one source of revelation.  Helen Waddell‘s Beasts and Saints is filled with stories of saints from the Western monastic tradition. who had encounters with animals. Once a day I have occasion to see deer in the yard. Or a walk in the words lets me know that a coyote is nearby. Today there were several wooly bears and also orange butterflies.

In one of his letters Thomas Merton describes the ideal monastic life: “The monk here and now is supposed to be living the life of the new creation in which right relation to all the rest of God’s creatures is fully restored.” The poet Kenneth Jackson wrote of the hermits: “The woodland birds might sing to him around his cell, but through it all, rarely expressed, always implicit, is the understanding that the bird and hermit are joining together in an act of worship; to him the very existence of nature was a sort of praise in which he himself took part by entering into harmony with nature” (Studies in Early Celtic Nature Poetry).

When on a walk I try to be present to the animals and the trees they are my abbas and ammas. I practice listening. This is a source from which all loving is possible. Each step is in gratitude to the Divine artist.

The Seventh Step Prayer

English: Maple Leaf Rag seventh chord resoluti...

English: Maple Leaf Rag seventh chord resolution The seventh in a seventh chord normally resolves downwards by half-step: B ♭ down to A♭ (whole-step) E♭ stays at E♭ D♭ down to C♮ (half-step) G♮ up to A♭ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My Creator

I am now willing that You should have all of me,

good and bad.

I pray that You now remove from me

every single defect of character which stands in the way

of my usefulness to You and my fellows.

Grant me strength, as I go out from here,

to do Your bidding


Willing to Respond Generously

English: Generously labelled T junction in Loc...

English: Generously labelled T junction in Lockerley The brown sign is for the Sustrans National Cycle Network. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To become more attentive to God’s presence and action in my daily routine

To be more open to the word which God speaks in my daily life

To recognize and claim my longing for God

To grow in my awareness of how I have been loved by God

To re-order and redirect all aspects of my life to the praise and service of God

Monks and Poets

English: Chinese Buddhist monks performing a f...

English: Chinese Buddhist monks performing a formal ceremony in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Kathleen Norris on Contemplative Practice – “I regard monks and poets as the best degenerates in America. Both have a finely developed sense of the sacred potential in all things; both value image and symbol over utilitarian purpose or the bottom line; they recognize the transformative power hiding in the simplest things, and it leads them to commit absurd acts; the poem! the prayer! what nonsense! In a culture that excels at creating artificial, tightly controlled environments (shopping malls, amusement parks, chain motels), the art of monks and poets is use-less, if not irresponsible, remaining out of reach of commercial manipulation and ideological justification.”

Redemption is being with someone in their truth

Christ en croix

Christ en croix (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Be with me, hear my truth, this is the only reality I have. What a precious moment when one is asked to do this. When someone reaches out for forgiveness know that you are a channel of redemption. Do not withhold this gift. We all need it from time to time. Be attentive to what that person has suffered. Enter into it as Christ would because he was closest to the brokenhearted. Don’t ask reality to change or wash over it. The truth makes us most available to God. Ask, how has God been in your history all along. Has anyone condemned you? Nor do I. God speaks even in things you don’t want to hear. In the midst of this Christ is crying out for understanding. Definition of a Christian, no one is outside my compassion. See how I have been hurt. I trust you to wash my feet. Take the thisness of the reality in and give it reverence. Do not impose your interpretation of reality on the other. Bring the experience into the heart and cherish it do not rush it with emotion just appropriate it , allow it time to leave the imprint of compassion on your soul. This is what the monastic does in Lectio Divina they bring the text into the heart and cherish it.