Teachings on Humility by St. Bernard

Chapter Talks


“The way is humility, the goal is truth.  The first is the labor, the second the reward” (p.29).  These evocative words of St. Bernard from his treatise, The Steps of Humility and Pride, offer us a picture of what the monastic is to be about in the ‘school of the Lord’s service’.  Encompassing the learning and the labor involved in this daily walk of humility and t

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September 12, 2015 Read More

Reflections on Silence

Chapter Talks


At our Visitation in May with Abbot Joseph we agreed to review our observance of silence, specifically the various places and times of silence.  Any renewal of the external practice of silence, asks at the same time that we look within, at the inner face of this essential monastic value.  The Word of God co

August 09, 2015 Read More

Chiastic Patterns and the Spiritual Life

Chapter Talks


I have always been stimulated by the different ‘maps’ of the spiritual journey that have been employed by patristic writers and especially by Bernard of Clairvaux in his sermons and other exhortative writings.   For example, in On Loving God, Bernard outlines four degrees of love: we love ourselves for our own sake, we love God for our own benefit, we love God for God

August 02, 2015 Read More

Transformational Grace

Chapter Talks

I was moved by the homily of Fr. Michael Kennedy, SJ, given Thursday morning.  He was speaking on the theme of ‘life’, that walking in the presence of God is walking in the presence of the living.  He said the God of love does not want victims: by being a victim we don’t dwell in the land of the living and God’s invitation through his Son is to unconditional forgiveness, unconditio

July 05, 2015 Read More

Listening to the Divine Voice

Chapter Talks


Last week I talked about ‘listening’ in the Rule of St. Benedict, specifically verse 1 of the Prologue, ‘listening with the ear of the heart’.  I talked about its multi-layered dimensions:  that ‘listening with the ear of the heart’ is not just a surface level of hearing.  It goes far deeper; it involves emptiness, surrender so that the hea

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June 09, 2015 Read More
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