Monthly Archives: December 2011

The Holy Gospel: January 1, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  Luke 2:22-40 Meditation:  “Presented to the Lord” There’s no better way to begin the new year than to “present” ourselves to the Lord.  What Mary and Joseph did with Jesus, we can do with ourselves and with our families.  … Continue reading

Posted in The Holy Gospel

Site Update: Christmas Break

I will not post the week of December 26-31, with the exception of “The Holy Gospel” for January 1st (posted on December 31). See you in the New Year, God willing.

Posted in Site Updates

The Holy Gospel: December 25, 2011 (Year B)

Read:  Luke 2:1-20 Meditation:  “As Told To Us” When I come to familiar times in the Christian year, I pray to find “something new” in my reading of the Gospel lessons.  So, I approached the Gospel lesson for Christmas Day … Continue reading

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Benedict’s Rule: The Pace of Grace

Chapter 47 of the Rule can seem very outdated, even cumbersome.  It is not a schedule or lifestyle we are familiar with, so we can get lost in the details.  But when we sort through the specific admonitions, we find … Continue reading

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In-Sight: Ecclesia

One of the primary images that I use on this site is that of “journey.”  And within that, I have variously emphasized that spiritual formation is a “from—to” experience:  e.g. from darkness to light, from death to life, etc. Recently, … Continue reading

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Let Us Pray: Influential Intercession

Read:  Genesis 18 I doubt we will ever be able to describe how prayer is “influential” with respect to God’s actions on the earth.  Sometimes we appear to see a quick and clear connection between our prayers and God’s actions.  … Continue reading

Posted in Let Us Pray

Shepherd’s Care: Restoring Our Personhood

As we continue our exploration of how we might go about renewing our hearts, I want to write today about a second avenue: restoring our personhood. I first realized the need for this through the writings of Thomas Merton, and … Continue reading

Posted in Shepherd's Care

In-Sight: All Work And No Play

A recent article in Atlantic Monthly reported on the marked decline in “play time” among children, leading to what some believe to be the marked increase in depression among them when they grow to be adults. It’s an interesting connection … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight | 1 Comment

Desert Wisdom: The Way Into the Kingdom

John of Thebaid said, “Above all a monk should be humble.  For this is the Saviour’s first commandment, ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 5:3)” (The Desert Fathers, 15:23). Love is the … Continue reading

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Listenings: Surprise!

Last week we considered the amazing variety of ways we can serve God, pointing out that God normally uses us in relation to the way we are made.  Our aptitudes, interests, and the gifts of the Spirit all combine to … Continue reading

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The Holy Gospel: December 18, 2011 (Year B)

Read:  Luke 1:26-38 Meditation:  Mary, Model of the Holy Life I believe the Reformation was of God, but I do not believe it was perfect.  We lost some things through the turmoil.  One of them was a proper devotion to … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Completing the Lord’s Prayer

When people say piously, “Thy kingdom come” out of one side of their mouth, they need also to say, “My kingdom go!” out of the other side.  (Richard Rohr, Daily E-Meditation, December 12, 2011).

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Benedict’s Rule: Arranging Our Worship

Chapter 47 of the Rule deals with a very important matter:  the arrangement for worship.  Because worship is the central act of the people of God, it must be done with the combination of regulation and reverence.  And, it is … Continue reading

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In-Sight: Problems Upstream

The Dead Sea is drying up.  Some believe it will eventually disappear. The problem is not in the sea itself.  It’s in the re-routing of water upstream.  It’s in decisions which have been made before the Jordan river ever makes … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight

Let Us Pray: Covenant Conversation

Read: Genesis 17 Almost the entirety of this chapter is an extended prayer conversation between God and Abram.  It is the conversation which established “signs” of the Covenant which God wanted to initiate in and through Abram. The first sign … Continue reading

Posted in Let Us Pray

Connections: Richard Rohr Blog

I have previously recommended Richard Rohr as a source you may find interesting and helpful. A little while ago, he began a blog.  So, I want you to know about it as well. Enjoy!

Posted in Connections

Shepherd’s Care: Recovering the Wonder

For the next several weeks, we will zero in on some ways to renew the “heart of the shepherd” which we have begun to examine in this weekly post.  One of the best ways to do so is to recover … Continue reading

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In-Sight: Bypassing Bethlehem

I spoke with a person who recently made a trip to the Holy Land.  When I asked the person about the trip, he replied, “It was good except for one thing.  We had to bypass Bethlehem.” It seems that the … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight | 3 Comments

Desert Wisdom: We Always Need Grace

Antony said to Poemen, “Our great work is to lay the blame for our sins upon ourselves before God, and to expect to be tempted to our last breath.” (The Sayings of the Desert Fathers, 15:2). Humility provides us with … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Drowning in Options

“We are all over stimulated and drowning in options.  We are trained to be managers, to organize life, to make things happen.  It’s not all bad, but if you transfer it to the spiritual life, it is pure heresy.  It … Continue reading

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Listenings: Variety!

The actions which mark our advancement in the spiritual life are many and varied.  Evelyn Underhill puts it this way…. The action may be almost anything; from the ceaseless self-offering of the enclosed nun, to the creation of beauty, to … Continue reading

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Editorial: Learning From A Sad Schism

The decision by leaders in the Anglican Mission in the Americas to separate from the Church in Rwanda has “hit the beach” of Christianity with full force this week.  I am not capable of commenting on all the facets of … Continue reading

Posted in Editorials

The Holy Gospel: December 11, 2011 (Year B)

Read:  John 1:6-8; 19-28 Meditation:  The Paradox of True Greatness For the most part, John the Baptist was seen by the general public as a true prophet—the first in Israel for about 400 years.  St. John Chrysostom pointed out in … Continue reading

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Connections: Bible Study Tools

I have just discovered “Bible Study Tools” ( It has so many features, I can only ask you to check it out for yourself if you are looking for resources that will enable you to enrich your study of Scripture. … Continue reading

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Benedict’s Rule: Early Detection and Correction

Chapters 45 and 46 go together, in that they both have to do with correcting mistakes. Chapter 45 deals with mistakes while reading in the oratory.  Such mistakes are to be confessed with humility, for it is an error committed … Continue reading

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In-Sight: Missing God on the Way Down

Recently, Jeannie called me in to watch an amazing video.  It combined spectacular scenes from nature with a contemporary song about the existence of God. As I watched and listened, I began to wonder if God has not (again) pulled … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight

Let Us Pray: God Sees

Read:  Genesis 16 The drama of this chapter is both strange and understandable.  The story starts out good enough as Sarai gives Hagar to Abram so that he may have a son to carry on the Covenant line.  But when … Continue reading

Posted in Let Us Pray

Shepherd’s Care: “Professional” Ministry

Before we move on to consider other elements of a shepherd’s heart, I want to stay with the idea of “professionalism” one more week.  This is one place where I run the risk of being misunderstood, and when I speak … Continue reading

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In-Sight: Liturgy-Centered Worship

I am hesitant to post another writing about the liturgy, lest you think I am trying to “sell” you on it.  Let me be clear—there are various ways to worship God. But at the same time, I must be honest … Continue reading

Posted in In-Sight

Desert Wisdom: The Gateway to God

[Theodore said], Humility and the fear of God surpass all other virtues.  The gateway is humility…(Book 15, Saying 22, The Desert Fathers). In last week’s post, we focused on humility as the means for undermining egotism.  Today, we view it … Continue reading

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Listenings: Advancement

I want to make one more post in relation to this quotation… The very essence of the spiritual life is gathered and presented in a point: first the vision of the Perfect, and the sense of imperfection and unworthiness over … Continue reading

Posted in Listenings

The Holy Gospel: December 4, 2011 (Year B)

Read:  Mark 1:1-8 Meditation: “The Beginning of the Gospel” Sometimes in a retreat, I will use this passage to ask a question, “Who was your John the Baptist?” To this day, I have never had anyone say, “I don’t believe … Continue reading

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Benedict’s Rule: Returning to the Fold

Chapter 44 of the Rule returns to the theme of excommunication, which was treated extensively in chapters 23-27.  The emphasis in chapter 44 is upon the means by which the excommunicated person is restored to fellowship. The beauty and importance … Continue reading

Posted in Benedict's Rule

First Day: Decisions for Oboedire

Hello, Everyone! I want to begin by wishing you and your family a Blessed Christmas.  I pray that your celebration of Advent will be a means of grace for you and yours. As you know, I have been in a … Continue reading

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Let Us Pray: Laying Foundations

Read:  Genesis 15 The whole chapter is a prayer, revealed to be essentially a conversation between Abram and God.  That’s an insight worth noting in and of itself—prayer is “conversation with God,” and as such, it is carried out using … Continue reading

Posted in Let Us Pray