Ascension: A New Power in Heaven and Earth

Chapter Talks

The solemnity of the Ascension: now there is no more separation between heaven and earth, they are one…now there is no separation between our earthly lives and the heavenly life….all creation and humanity are now contained within the total mystery of God. The sending of the Spirit, of Christ’s Spirit will confirm this profound unity and will be our link to this profound communion and unity of God’s life. In Pope Francis’ words: “Jesus declares that there is a power ‘in heaven and on earth’. It is, first and foremost, the power to connect heaven and earth. Today we celebrate this mystery because when Jesus ascended to the Father, our human flesh crossed the threshold of heaven: our humanity is there, in God, forever. Therein lies our trust, because God will never distance himself from mankind” (Homily, May 27, 2017).

May 24, 2020 Read More

In the School of the Lord's Service

Chapter Talks

“Anybody who receives my commandments and keeps them will be one who loves me; and anybody who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I shall love him and reveal myself to him” (Jn14:21). Christ is made visible when we ‘receive and keep’ the commandments that he has given. And at the heart of Jesus’ commandments is love. He tells us this is the greatest commandment: to love God with the whole of our lives and the ‘second’ which is not separate from the first, ‘to love our neighbor as our self’. To love Christ is to keep his commandments and in keeping his commandments we will know more deeply God’s love and with this Christ will be revealed, meaning he will be more known to us…more known to us in an incarnate way.

May 18, 2020 Read More

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
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