Our True Identity and Prayer

Chapter Talks

I have been reading Bonnie Thurston’s book, Shaped By the End You Live For. She quotes material from Thomas Merton that I have not read before and you will hear more of these pithy texts in a moment. I like to return to the ‘false self – true self’ dynamic that was important to Merton’s journey and to his understanding of monastic, contemplative life. Recalling our brief discussion several weeks ago I chose not to use the word ‘dichotomy’ in terms of the false self-true self relationship, so as not to give the sense that there is a split between these two realities.

May 10, 2020 Read More

Prayer, Itself, is Obedience

Chapter Talks

I begin with these words of Thomas Merton: “Prayer itself is obedience. Our deepest obedience takes place when we pray. Prayer is an act of surrender; it is essentially an act of surrender to God’s love” (quoted in: Shaped By the End You Live For, Bonnie Thurston, p.73). These words of Merton were written at the end of his life and should give us great pause for reflection. What does it mean that ‘our deepest obedience’ happens when we pray’?

May 03, 2020 Read More

Living From the Inside

Chapter Talks

The present pandemic has turned our lives, world-wide, upside down. Covid-19 has affected the global community and its economies in ways that none of us have lived through before now. Through the pandemic we see how interconnected we all are. Are not the living ‘saints’ those in the medical field who willingly risk their lives daily to care for us? As we live surrounded by so much uncertainty about the present and the immediate future, perhaps it is good to step back and ponder our lives. What, as a monastic community, do we need to renew or work to change in order to continue to mission God’s enduring word of life, of hope, of love?

(Above Thomas Merton at Redwoods Abbey, 1968)

April 26, 2020 Read More

Divine Mercy Sunday

Chapter Talks

His wounds open us to mercy…His wounds break our wounded hearts open to receive the mercy that flows from him…How striking that mercy and forgiveness of sins is connected to Jesus’ Resurrection…There is no life says the Risen One without mercy and forgiveness…This message must continue to be voiced and lived by all Jesus’ disciples and that includes us.

April 19, 2020 Read More

Holy Thursday: God's Gift of Love

Chapter Talks

In today’s liturgy we behold Jesus’ self-gift in the washing of the feet ritual and in the Eucharist where Jesus offers his body and his blood for the world. Self-giving is an act of agape: unconditional love, the highest form, the deepest form of love…This is the diptych of today’s two rituals and of what we will be participating in.

Listen to the Chapter Talk here:

April 09, 2020 Read More
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