Monday morning

It is 6:00 am and the monastery is stretching its arms and shaking off sleep. Some of us have been awake since 4:00 am. The rest of us have been arising one by one, each of us with an alarm clock set to our own particular early morning rhythm. Like…

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Listening

The first word of St. Benedict’s Rule is “Listen.” The instruction is directed to all of us – from the youngest to the oldest. Much of this listening is the silence of listening to God in prayer. Some of it is simply the careful attention that we pay to one…

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Remember when…

In a monastic community, the fragrance of memory rides on the air that we breathe. It is not stale air. Not even close to stale. Whether we’re honoring an early monastic saint or chuckling over something that happened last week, the fragrance is infused with the lively vigor of seeking…

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Praise and thanksgiving

“With praise and thanksgiving to Almighty God…”These words comprised the opening clause in a handwritten document that I read aloud during Lauds yesterday morning. Not only was I the one who read the document, I was also the one who wrote it. As I wrote, I rendered each word with…

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Blueberry season

Five weeks of near-total immersion in graduate study at Saint John’s, delightful though it was, left me feeling a bit ‘heady’ and I’ve spent this first week back home letting my hands – not my head – do the talking and listening. With renewed appreciation I have savored some of…

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Silently, imperceptibly…

Somewhere within the unfolding of new growth there is a moment in which, ah, yes, the new thing suddenly is. The flower has opened. The fruit has formed. The sediment is at long last a stone, or the stone at long last, sediment. But rarely is the process of change…

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The proliferation of silence

“Take with you words,” wrote the prophet Hosea. His context (14:2) was confession and conversion, but the phrase somehow seems to capture the essence of compressing two graduate courses and an entire semester’s worth of words into five weeks. I have taken so many class notes that the ink has…

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“First, you take a maple sapling…”

Conversation topics amongst the theology students here are often wide ranging. At dinnertime one night this week, as we moved from Heidegger to hunting (I am not kidding!), we stopped briefly on the topic of homemade snow shoes. One student actually knew how to make them and began, “First, you…

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Growing

I received an email from Sr. Bernadette with a garden update from the monastery – squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplant…. I wrote back and said “You are growing tomatoes. I am growing papers.”In my Mark class, I’ve got two short papers down and one very long paper still to go. As…

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Hearing the Word

In the normal course of daily life, have you ever had the experience of unexpectedly turning onto a street of gold, or of wandering past Monet painting in the park, or of realizing that the music streaming from the open window next door is that of Beethoven working out what…

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