Statue of St. Benedict

Therapy and Grace

For the past 5 weeks, I’ve been wearing a long, rigid brace to protect and immobilize a fractured wrist to enable it to heal. Yesterday, I started therapy to eventually recover full strength and use of my fingers, hand and wrist. It’s going to take many weeks before I can…

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Benedictine cross

Good Zeal

In Ch. 72 of his Rule St. Benedict states that good zeal is to be fostered by monks with fervent love. Then he quotes St. Paul’s letter to the Romans: “They should each try to be the first to show respect to the other” [12:10]. They are to bear with…

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Yellow pine

I was a little tired today, which means my mind was a little more prone to wander, including during Mass, so after hearing the Gospel reading from Matthew about the wooden beam and the splinter, my mind wandered off through a forest of trees, wondering from which sort of wood…

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Lighter than air

I spent the past several days attending a conference where I sat at a table listening, thinking, talking, and praying. The table held my papers, my elbows, and occasionally my gaze. It also held the holy conversation – heavy with the weightless fragrance of hope – that flowed across and…

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Home, like the evening

A still summer evening. Effortless air. Light so relaxed it has no need to be lit. The earth quiet and unselfconscious in the pale twilight that lingers around the straight, still pines. The promise of dawn resting beside the hearth of nightfall. Stepping into this evening is like stepping into…

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Tempered glass

Tonight, as I was putting away water glasses after finishing up supper dishes, one glass caught the uneven edge of a serving tray. It took a tumble, but did not break. Had it been one of the glasses we used in the monastery dining room up until a few months…

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The weather in London in a chapel in Cullman

It was time for Vespers, so I turned down the volume on the Retreat Center cell phone and headed upstairs to chapel, holding the phone in my hand. By the time I set the phone down in my choir stall the formerly-blank screen was somehow displaying the weather in London….

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37-fold of a 100-fold

Last evening, I walked through our dishwashing area before supper and saw the strange site of a concrete block on a kitchen cart. Next to the concrete block was something flat and rectangular, covered neatly and precisely with a kitchen towel. My curiosity could not be contained and I lifted…

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As it is in heaven…

As simple and unplanned and unadorned as it was, our quiet ‘liturgy of the hallway’ last night felt, for me at least, about as close as one can get to the idea of our earthly liturgy as a foretaste of the heavenly liturgy. It was about 3:00 am. Already our…

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Hope whisperers

I am afraid of fire. Maybe it goes back to the time when I was five or six and my family and I, along with all our neighbors, were standing outside in our bathrobes in the middle of the night watching a nearby structure burn to the ground. Whatever the…

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