27 December 2011

The Work of Christmas

When the star in the sky is gone,
When the Kings and Princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flocks,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost
To heal the broken
To feed the hungry
To release the prisoner
To teach the nations
To bring Christ to all
To make music in the heart.
Howard Thurman

19 December 2011

17 December 2011

Our Lady of Advent

Our Lady of Advent is without any doubt a unique model of how to embrace and love the true Advent spirit as we continue on our road to Christmas. She lived her own Advent for nine months, a longer peirod than our short four to eight weeks. She also lived it in greater intimacy, for he whom we expect to come dwelled within her, and she nourished and cared for him with unsurpassed love.

The lowly, prayerful, humble, quiet waiting attitude exercised by our Lady during her own Advent exemplifies what all our Advent days should be like. In the midst of the noisy and often chatoic Christmas preparations we encounter in today's world, the example of the Mother of God stands apart from all that is false, haughty, glittering, selfish, or superficial. Mary's presence in our midst, radiating a serene beauty through her silence, her acceptance, and total submission to God's plan, speaks volumes to each and every one of us.

Like our Lady, we must live our own submissions to the Lord with complete simplicity, humility, and trust in his plan for each of us.

A Monastery Journey to Christmas
Br. Victor-Antione D'Avila-Latourrette

11 December 2011

bare yourself to bear yourself.

The brilliant ravishing autumn foliage of autumn has vanished, and the trees stand stark and bare. In early winter I delight in gazing upon the sunset through the elaborate patterns of branches that partition the pink sky like the elegant tracery of a stained glass window.

The trees, with their bare branches reaching quietly toward the sky, toward the dying sunset light, seem to share in the pleading of our Advent Prayer: Come, Lord Jesus, come.

Early Christians traditionally prayed with their arms out stretched toward heaven, from where the Lord was expected to come again. The bare trees with their branches outstretched is a symbolic reminder for the monk and for all Christians, especially during this Advent journey, that we, too, must gaze at all times toward him with deep yearning.

A Monastery Journey to Christmas
Br. Victor-Antione D'Avila-Latourrette

30 November 2011

It might be easy...

It might be easy to run away to a monastery, away from the commercialization, the hectic hustle, the demanding family responsibilities of Christmas-time. Then we would have a holy Christmas. But we would forget the lesson of the Incarnation, of the enfleshing of God—the lesson that we who are followers of Jesus do not run from the secular; rather we try to transform it. It is our mission to make holy the secular aspects of Christmas just as the early Christians baptized the Christmas tree. And we do this by being holy people—kind, patient, generous, loving, laughing people—no matter how maddening is the Christmas rush…"

- Fr. Andrew Greeley

28 November 2011

our biggest fear

Every Easter we renew our baptismal vows, because that dying-to-rise is the essence of the Christian life. And that's what we fear. More than we fear death, we fear life. I don't mean the hard-shelled routine that passes for life, but the real thing, fresh and free, foolish in the world's eyes, stripped of the trappings of worldly honor and wealth and power, naked as a little child - or as Christ on the cross, clothed only in obedience and love.

We shy away. Who knows whether that other thief, the unrepentant, had a moment when he too could have caught at dying to live again, but feared, and turned away with a jest?

Jesus calls us to save our lives by losing them. In him we are that corn of wheat that falls into the ground and dies, to bring forth much fruit

Praying With St. Paul
Anthony Esolen


Advent is primarily about waiting. It is about waiting for the Lord to come.

There is something special about this particular type of waiting. First of all, waiting is a spiritual attitude we cultivate deep within ourselves. We know the Lord is coming, and therefore we desire and hasten his arrival by a patient attitude of waiting for him.

We wait and wait for the Lord. We become very conscious of waiting. It is an eager waiting, full of anticipation and wonder, for as the prophets of old, our companions on the road, we long to see his face.
The Lord, of course, is very much aware of this patient waiting, of this deep yearning for him, and he is ever ready to come into our lives and fulfill our deepest desires. Advent waiting is twofold. On our part, we await prayerfully, consciously, and anticipate his coming. On God's part, he is eager to arrive and find a warm dwelling place in our hearts.

The greater our desire and patience in waiting for him, the fuller we shall be filled with his presence.

A Monastery Journey to Christmas
Br. Victor-Antione D'Avila-Latourrette

24 November 2011

...and meet us in our temptation...

Holiness does not lie on the other side of temptation; it is to be found in the midst of temptation. It does not sit waiting for us on a level above our weakness; it is given us in weakness, or else we would elude the power of God that is operative only in our weakness.

Rather we must learn to 'abide' in weakness, and to do so full of faith, open to the weakness and in utter surrender to God's mercy. It is only in our weakness that we are vulnerable to his love and power.

Accordingly, to continue in the situation of temptation and weakness is the only way for us to connect with grace, the only way we can become miracles of God's mercy.

Tuning Into Grace
Andre Louf, OCSO

22 October 2011


“If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise don’t even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives, jobs. And maybe your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery, isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance. Of how much you really want to do it. And you’ll do it, despite rejection in the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods. And the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.”

Charles Bukowski.

be attitude

"Blessed are those who can give without remembering, and take without forgetting."

Why God, why?

Lettuce tend to our gardens

"When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and arguments. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding.”

Thich Nhat Hahn

19 October 2011

Saint Augustine

People travel to wonder at the heights of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars; and yet they pass by themselves without wondering.

Let go

To achieve the strength we need in living, an inner life must be lived apart from the world.
To wear the whole world as a loose garment is the key to serenity.
Loosen your hold on earth, its cares and its worries.
Unclasp your hold on other people and material things.

Let go of resentments, they hurt only you, not the person, persons or institutions you resent.
Relax your grip, and the tide of peace will flow in.

Live in today, not in regrets over what happened yesterday, not in the fear and apprehension of what tomorrow may bring.

The past is gone as a cloud of dust.
Tomorrow may never come.
We are faced with living just one day...today.

~ Unknown

06 October 2011


Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Steve Jobs

"Death is very likely the single best invention of life. Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life."

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”

02 October 2011

Gregory the Great

Those who love their friends in God and their enemies for God's sake possess true love.

30 September 2011

St. Jerome

"In the remotest part of a wild and stony desert, burnt up with the heat of the scorching sun so that it frightens even the monks that inhabit it, I seemed to myself to be in the midst of the delights and crowds of Rome. In this exile and prison to which for the fear of hell I had voluntarily condemned myself, I many times imagined myself witnessing the dancing of the Roman maidens as if I had been in the midst of them: In my cold body and in my parched-up flesh, which seemed dead before its death, passion was able to live. Alone with this enemy, I threw myself in spirit at the feet of Jesus, watering them with my tears, and I tamed my flesh by fasting whole weeks. I am not ashamed to disclose my temptations, but I grieve that I am not now what I then was" ("Letter to St. Eustochium").

26 September 2011


"Where God is, there is the future"

23 September 2011

Thomas Henry Huxley

"Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether or you like it or not. This is the first lesson to be learned."

02 September 2011

task #1

Surround hate and force it to surrender.

francis desales

Never be in a hurry. Do everything quietly and with a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever -- even if you world seems upset.

john of the cross

God must work in the soul in secret and darkness because if we fullly knew what was happening and what transformation God would eventually ask of us we would either try to take charge or stop the whole process.

elie wiesel

what hurts the victim the most is not the cruelty of the oppressor but the
silence of the bystander.

08 August 2011

It is good

“Joy, kindness and goodness grow only if the heavens above us are opened. The days aren’t always sunny... sometimes, we must cross through dark valleys.
Even then, though, we can remain joyous and human -- but only if heaven is open for us, only if we can be strengthened in the certainty that God loves us in full, that God is good and, through this, in the certainty that it’s good to be human....

So that people might be able to continue to say yes to life, to the future, it’s important that we don’t lose the splendor of the faith -- that we remain believers, Christians, Catholics, in the sense that Catholic always means “open to the world” -- the world of life and faith together -- something that means being tolerant and open, one to the other, in heartfelt brotherhood to everyone who belongs to our one Father and who are all loved by the one Lord.”

--Pope Benedict XVI
Remarks to a group from Traunstein (Bavaria)
Castel Gandolfo
30 July 2011

08 July 2011

The earth, my monastery

The sacrifices involved in monastic life are frequently chronicled, but we ought not to forget the hundredfold. There is a certain beauty that is a consequence of spending most of one's life in a single pursuit, attached to one place, and living with the same people. We are at liberty to be ourselves, no longer hiding behind facades or masks.

Yet this self is more than the fleeting persona of the this present moment; it is a self that stretches expansively over many years and decades, full of seeming contradictions and subject to so many vicissitudes. We are surrounded by so many memories of times past, of people now in heaven, of projects completed or left undone, of trees planted, of griefs and joys.

As we pass through the monastery and listen to the echoes embedded in its walls, the refrain we hear is, This is your life. Because of these voices we are compelled to live at a high level of truthfulness, since we cannot escape from what we have been and still are. A strong sense of continuity develops, and a deeper feeling of acceptance. This is where I belong. This is my home. Here I live; here I will die.

Strangers to the City
Reflections on the Beliefs and Values of the Rule of St. Benedict
Michael Casey, OCSO

pie chart

01 July 2011

Corpus Christi

It is only because God himself is the eternal dialogue of love that he can speak and be spoken to. Only because he himself is relationship can we relate to him; only because he is love can he love and be loved in return. Only because he is threefold can he be the grain of wheat which dies and the bread of eternal life.

Ultimately, then, Corpus Christi is an expression of faith in God, in love, in the fact that God is love. All that is said and done on Corpus Christi is in fact a single variation on the theme of love, what it is and what it does. In one of his Corpus Christi hymns Thomas Aquinas puts it beautifully: love does not consume: it gives and, in giving, receives. And in giving it is not used up but renews itself.

Since Corpus Christi is a confession of faith in love, it is totally appropriate that the day should focus on the mystery of transubstantiation. Love is transubstantiation, transformation. Corpus Christi tells us: Yes, there is such a thing as love, and therefore there is transformation, therefore there is hope. And hope gives us the strength to love and face the world.

Perhaps it was good to have experienced doubts about the meaning of celebrating Corpus Christi, for it has led us to the rediscovery of a feast which, today, we need more than ever.

Pope Benedict XVI

View from the cross

Always united in the shadow of the Cross,
under the protection of this lovely heart.
E. Bouasse-Jeune

26 June 2011

Got some 'splaining to do....

...and I will make you fishers?


God isn't the one who is lost; we all are. God is where He always is... we need to stop trying to "find God" and instead rid ourselves of the things that we use to hide from God.

07 May 2011

The "world"...

No cats

For the articles...

Donald Culross Peattie

“The last fling of winter is over … The earth, the soil itself, has a dreaming quality about it. It is warm now to the touch; it has come alive; it hides secrets that in a moment, in a little while, it will tell.”

02 May 2011

only love

"Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate...Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

01 May 2011

holy people alone

Dear young people, the Church needs genuine witnesses for the new evangelization: men and women whose lives have been transformed by meeting with Jesus, men and women who are capable of communicating this experience to others. The Church needs saints. All are called to holiness, and holy people alone can renew humanity.

Blessed John Paul II - August 2004

18 April 2011

Into your hands...

When we are no longer able to change a situation,

we are challenged to change ourselves.

16 April 2011


As Christians, we are called to holiness and nothing less. You and I are not just called to be merely nice or kind or morally right. Each of us is called to be holy, whatever state in life or vocation we are ultimately called to live. Its not just that special person or saint, or someone who is able rise to the heights of mystical prayer, it is the authentic person living a daily ordinary life.

Authentic Christian holiness, however, is made of far sturdier stuff. Real Christian holiness is about entering into God’s life, giving over one’s life to God, becoming like God, loving as God loves in one’s daily life. And, of course, “becoming like God” and “loving as God loves,” as the example of Jesus shows us, means self-giving, self-offering and self-less service of others, modeled after the example of Jesus. Christian holiness, then, always stands under the Cross, as the great pattern of pouring out or lives in love and in service of others. In many ways, there is nothing more “this-worldly” than true holiness.

- Excerpt from Priestly Virtues: Reflections
on the Moral Virtues in the Life of the
Priest by Rev. Mark O’Keefe, OSB

08 April 2011

Who are you?

How will you know you've met a saint? You will be convinced that he is inferior to you. And you will not be comfortable with your conviction.

03 April 2011

Hi-ho, Hi-ho...

punched a hole

As scripture say, all have sinned and fallen short of God's glory (Rom 3:23) so that all of us are at some time in our lives potentially (and unfortunately all too actually) capable of real evil. Yet no matter how depraved people may become, they remain always images of Christ the true Image of God. That image-quality may be soiled, tarnished, obscured and disfigured, but is never wholly lost, never totally destroyed.

The more we commit sin the more we weave a web around ourselves, voluntarily blocking out his light. That is why in the incarnation God punched a hole in our self-woven cocoon and thrust in a hand to drag us out: that is why Christ descended into our hell of God-forsakeness - so that we could not go on pretending to ourselves - and in that way justifying our own ghastliness to ourselves and others.

Meeting Christ in His Mysteries
Gregory Collins, OSB

by their gentleness

The cross of the only begotten Son is God's 'disclosure-zone' in showing us how serious our situation is when such a drastic intervention in history was required: God's becoming in his turn the victim of human injustice.

But in the forgiveness he expressed in dying and in the universal scope of his death, Jesus revealed the all-embracing nature of God's love: Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing (Lk 23-34).

Most noteworthy of all is the fact that after his resurrection, unlike other victorious conquering kings, he did not settle scores nor display any anger against his friends who had betrayed him. On the contrary his recorded appearances are distinguished by their gentleness (Jn 21), even if he still had to rebuke some of them for their unbelief (Lk 24:25;38).

Meeting Christ in His Mysteries
Gregory Collins, OSB

09 March 2011


Christ has no online presence but yours,
No blog, no Facebook page but yours,
Yours are the tweets through which love touches this world,
Yours are the posts through which the Gospel is shared,
...Yours are the updates through which hope is revealed.
......Christ has no online presence but yours.

(thx to Steve Angrisano)

08 March 2011

Happy Lent

Inner stillness is necessary if we are to be in perfect control of our faculties and if we are to hear the voice of the Spirit speaking to us. There can be no stillness without discipline, and the discipline of external silence can help us towards that inner tranquillity which is at the heart of authentic religious experience.

In meditation we take stepls to achieve this stillness. We quieten our bodies and our emotions, then gradually allow the mind to become single-pointed. Stillness within one individual can affect society beyond measure.

Bede Griffiths, OSB
The Universal Christ

Superhero Tuesday