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Benedictine Spirituality

Reading through the Rule of St. Benedict with thoughts from Joan Chittister. She challenges that spiritual life is not only inner but outer. We live out love in the midst of others. Here’s a few excerpts from yesterday:

Spiritual life “is not a set of daily exercises; it’s a way of life, an attitude of mind, an orientation of soul. And it is gotten by being schooled until no rules are necessary.”

Among the the anceints there is a story told that confrims this insight to this day:

“What action shall I perform to attain God?” the disciple asked the elder.

“If you wish to attain God, the elder said, there are two things you must know. The first is that all efforts to attain God are of no avail.”

“And the second?” the disciple insisted.

“The second is that you must act as if you did not know the first,” the elder said.

Clearly, great pursuers of the spiritual life know that the secret of the spiritual  life is to live it until it becomes real.

….

It is much easier to go to daily Mass and feel good about it than it is to serve soup at a soup kitchen. It is so much more comfortable to say bedtime prayers than it is to speak peace in a warring world. It is so much more satisfying to contribute to the building of a new church than it is to advocate welfare legislation. It is so much more heroic to fast than to be patient with a noisy neighbor. It is so much easier to give the handshake of peace in church than to speak gently in the family. And yet one without the other is surely fraud if life with God in community is truly the essence of real spiritual growth.

Diversions to Death – Pascal

February 9, 2007 3 comments

Blaise PascalHere’s a thought worth consideration from Pascal

The only thing that consoles us for our miseries is diversion, and yet this is the greatest of our miseries. For it is this which principally hinders us from reflecting upon ourselves, and which makes us insensibly ruin ourselves. Without this we should be in a state of weariness, and this weariness would spur us on to seek a more solid means of escaping from it. But diversion amuses us, and leads us, gradually and without ever adverting to it, to death.

A Vision of the Peaceable Kingdom

December 14, 2006 Leave a comment

What a treasure from Henri Nouwen’s Daily Meditation:

The marvelous vision of the peaceable Kingdom, in which all violence has been overcome and all men, women, and children live in loving unity with nature, calls for its realisation in our day-to-day lives. Instead of being an escapist dream, it challenges us to anticipate what it promises. Every time we forgive our neighbor, every time we make a child smile, every time we show compassion to a suffering person, every time we arrange a bouquet of flowers, offer care to tame or wild animals, prevent pollution, create beauty in our homes and gardens, and work for peace and justice among peoples and nations we are making the vision come true.

We must remind one another constantly of the vision. Whenever it comes alive in us we will find new energy to live it out, right where we are. Instead of making us escape real life, this beautiful vision gets us involved.

Man is broken

December 8, 2006 Leave a comment

Here’s neat little quote that Jimmy posted on the kidney transplant list:

Man is broken. He lives by mending.
The grace of God is the glue.
Eugene O’Neill

Makes me think of a Dylan tune. I hope we’re all sticky today (and mend everything we touch).

Advent Peace

December 8, 2006 Leave a comment

I just posted this to Floydville. Here’s a sampling:

The songs we sing to celebrate this season carry profound messages of hope and possibility in the midst of dark nights and sometimes even darker days. One song that captured my heart last week is the familiar “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.”

For many of us, the words of the first verse echo easily through our minds after years and years of singing:
It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious night of old,
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold:
“Peace on the earth, goodwill to men,
From heavens’ all gracious King;”
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing.

This verse brings to mind the stories of childhood: shepherds in the field; Mary and Joseph in the stable; a glorious display of heavenly light as angels proclaim the good tidings of heaven. These images make me feel warm and safe—like the world is all right.

But the world is not all right.  read more

the advent wind is blowing

November 30, 2006 Leave a comment

Listen. Can you hear it? Can you hear Him? The swoosh of Holy Spirit’s advent wind hovers over Mary’s formless and void womb. “Let there be light.” And there is light.

Read more 

Advent – An Invitation

November 28, 2006 Leave a comment

Today I started posted Advent reflections over at Floydville. When I post, I copy a sentence or two here and link for those interested.

Like a deer in the snow, Advent softly approaches. As we scurry back and forth between distractions, we are gripped, embraced, enveloped in a season of anticipation. A time for waiting.

And watching.

Read more.

Disciplining our Watchful Eye

November 27, 2006 1 comment

During Advent, I am focusing on the idea of surprise. And this quote spoke to me about that in some way. Thought someone might enjoy:

“The need for discipline is the same need for watchfulness, for readiness, as in the parable. The ones who wait for the Lord must have oil in their lamps and the lamps must be trimmed. …[Monastic discipline] implies  cultivation of certain inner conditions of awareness, of openness, of readiness for the new and the unexpected.”
Thomas Merton

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Bobi Jones

November 15, 2006 Leave a comment

Here is a little poem from one of my favorite Welsh poets, Bobi Jones. Hopefully this will suffice in lieu of a good quote for the day. And I must also offer tribute to Joseph Clancy for the translation (as translation is an integral part of the poetic art).

The Middle Aged Poet

The child has dried up; his play and his sweat have died
His dance has shrivelled, besieged by bloated limbs,
And his leg’s sprightliness has grown bitter. I wonder whether
The muse can restore it in her swaddlings? Yes. Though finger
And thumb and ankle rot, praise will surely escape from their pit
By night, and make metre of the corruption: angels of mirth
Will still chat in the joints of the Poem. I bear within me
The innocents’ cheerful graveyard; an occasional night
Invites the remains of me to creep secretly out
To the early-patterned white leaves, and I dance a cradle’s questions
Through them, rhymes’ curiosity, till the dawn;
Then heavily, stooped, sad, in a magic procession,
Like lamentations that ventured out freely
For a time, they muster back to my silent daily ageing.

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Integrity and Integration

November 10, 2006 2 comments

For multiple world, our modern/postmodern world has forced many of us to split our lives and now even our identities into multiple slots such as work and home, public and private, inner and outer. Now many thinkers even suggest there is no real person behind the roles we play. I don’t have time to respond to that here, but I disagree.

The nature of personhood is more complex and interconnected than modernism may have realized and the Church Fathers offered a far more nuanced view of the person than the modern idea of the individual. This tendency to create separate identities between home, office, house of faith, hobbies, friends, and the multivarious online social computing personas is dis-integrating. It does tend to make us think there is really no me to me: just another face, another mask. This potentially could lead to many negative and even dangerous manifestations.

Since I believe the person is real, I believe that integration of these various worlds and identities are important. Thus my values at home are the same at work are the same among my friends are the same in the online world. I try to be the same person everywhere (inner and outer).

Thus this blog does not section off technology away from faith away from art or other interests, and that’s why I put the Pope Benedict XVI quote earlier. It captures some of the essence I think the word

Now enough from me. I’ll have to spend more time on this on my Floydville blog sometime. If anyone disagrees, feel free to let me know. 🙂

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