An Encounter With Jesus

Chapter Talks

That we may see…That we may see as God’s sees…Do we ever pray for this?  In personal situations, in situations of community life and beyond into the larger Church and world, do we pray with the whole of our heart to see as God sees?  This is precisely where the rule of the ego, its domination needs to be toppled.  In a striking story of today’s gospel of the man born blind (Jn 9:1-41), we see the Jewish religious leaders claiming at all costs that they see, that they know.  Their supposed seeing falls flat before Jesus’ healing of the man’s sight.

March 19, 2023 Read More

Truly Listening

Chapter Talks

Commenting on the Transfiguration, Fr. Hans Urs von Balthasar indicates the reality of what it will mean for Peter and the other disciples to follow Jesus: “To truly hear and really be overshadowed will be their lot only after Easter” (Light of the Word, p.55).  The ‘not understanding’, the ‘not hearing’ of Peter and the disciples is vivid in this gospel of the Transfiguration.  It takes time does it not to understand deep spiritual truths.  That we have resistance is part of the struggle to understand and to truly hear…And our struggle is not unlike what the disciples went through.  What creates the light of understanding?  What helps us to ‘truly hear’? What is this overshadowing?  Overshadowed by what?  Remember where we first hear this image of ‘overshadowing’?  Mary, at the Annunciation, was overshadowed by the Spirit.  Today’s gospel of the Transfiguration (Mt 17:1-9) reveals the overshadowing of Jesus by the Spirit…and then he is transfigured, bathed in Divine light.  And we hear, like at his baptism, the Divine voice saying to the disciples and to us: “Listen to him”.

March 08, 2023 Read More

Converting the Heart

Chapter Talks

“Let your hearts be broken, not your garments torn” (Joel 2:13).  What is the prophet Joel saying?  Clearly it is a poetic metaphor: God does not desire to hurt us…this is about enlarging the heart…converting the heart, making the heart as wide and deep as that of the heart of Christ.  The heart is to be broken open for love, for love to increase, for forgiveness and mercy to lead over a critical demeanor, over a hardened heart. 

March 02, 2023 Read More

The Paradox of our Christian Faith

Chapter Talks

With paradox there is tension between two seemingly opposing realities.  This tension is like a golden thread linking the two, sending divine impulses as one experiences either side of the polarity.  What does this have to do with today’s gospel of the Beatitudes (Mt 5:1-12)?  Blessedness is promised.  Blessedness is promised to everyone.  At the center of the gospel way is paradox.  To follow the One who said: ‘I am the way, the truth and the life’ is to enter paradox.  The cross is the paradigm of the Way, it is the greatest paradox of Christian faith.  There is no resurrection, no life, no growth of love without the cross.  And this teaching today of Jesus is saying something similar: blessedness emerges from struggle, hardship, including suffering.

January 29, 2023 Read More

Solemnity of the Founders, Sts. Robert, Alberic & Stephen

Chapter Talks

What was the larger horizon that guided our founders’ decision to leave their monastery of Molesme to the wilderness of Citeaux?  We may ask the same question in this way: what was their dream? Dreams form the landscape, the horizon of our lives.  ‘Dreams’ come from a deep place within the individual and in the larger body of community and even an Order. 

(The Illustrated Capital "A" shown above is from the Bible of Stephen Harding, 12th Century, Abbey of Cîteaux, Dijon, France.  The illustration is of St Michael battling the Serpent.  The "A" introduces the Book of the Apocalypse, better known today as Revelations. Our founders were geniuses in the visual arts as well as the spiritual crafts.)

January 27, 2023 Read More
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