Tag Archives: Benedictine spirituality

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Ice Break: Annotated Selections from a Book of Poems

Ice Break: Annotated Selections from a Book of Poems Writers too infrequently have the opportunity to witness people in the act of receiving their work. I was recently afforded that privilege as I shared a poetry reading with my friend and colleague Victor Klimoski. The experience encouraged me to annotate a handful of poems for…
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Being Real (Part 1): Learning to Swim By Swimming

When I turned 30, I decided that I wanted to complete a triathlon. One problem: I did not know how to swim. I wasn’t scared of the water and I could stay afloat, but the most fruitful results of my childhood swim lessons were a goofy-looking breast stroke that didn’t involve putting my head under the water and a “little bird, big bird, fly.” The latter was basically laying on my back, flapping my arms, and propelling myself (slowly) through the water. These were not the ways of a triathlete.
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Rooted in Love: My Sustained Lectio Divina

Rooted in Love My Sustained Lectio Divina “I pray . . . that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love.” Ephesians 3:17 I have prayed with the Scriptures using a simple form for years. It was Guigo II in the twelfth century that gave the…
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The Messy Middle: Where Change Happens

The Messy Middle: Where Change Happens In the Benedictine Center office, we’ve been talking about Brené Brown’s book Rising Strong (Random House, 2015). She makes that point that, if we want to experience real growth and change in our lives, we can’t skip the “messy middle” part of our stories. The first pass at such an observation…
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Life, A Continuous Advent

According to Saint Benedict, “The life of a monastic ought to be a continuous Lent.” However, what Benedict presents is life as a continuous Advent. We can confidently stand ready and raise our heads because our redemption is at hand.
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Row Your Boat: A Nursery Rhyme and Metaphor for Life

From time to time, the Benedictine Center invites guest writers to reflect on their own spiritual journeys in ways that might be of encouragement to others. This reflection is written by Jim Dawson, an Oblate and friend of St. Paul’s Monastery. Having told this story many times in person, he now offers his version of…
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Reflections on Food as a Tangible Form of Love

I want to feed people the way she did because eating is, as our fall guest speaker Norman Wirzba writes, “a profoundly spiritual act.” What we eat and how we eat—both individually and collectively—reflect our gratitude, our stewardship, our generosity, our joy, and our love.
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Desire, Perseverance, Making Our Way: Reflections from the Monastic Retreat

Desire, Perseverance, Making Our Way Reflections from the Monastic Retreat On a Sunday evening in mid-June, the annual Community Retreat began at St. Paul’s Monastery.  The Sisters assembled in their usual places in the glowing Chapel, lit by the summer sky in the clerestory windows, joined by several Oblates, Benedictine Associates, and me.  The white…
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Sharper: Benedict’s Tools for Good Works

Sharper: Benedict's Tools for Good Works “Tools of the spiritual craft.” ~RB 4 How do you know when you need to return to your foundations? Last autumn, my Dad was at my shop, and we worked together for several weeks building a couple of saddles. For us, that means cutting, shaping, and decorating thick pieces…
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The Erector Set: Adapting to Others

The Erector Set “[The abbot must] accommodate and adapt himself to each one’s character and intelligence ….”         – RB1980 2.32 I’m no abbot, but I am trying to adapt myself to my son’s character. Toby’s a little like a cat—he’s stubborn and private, and I have to coax him to get him to come to…
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