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Give Me a Word 2016: 7th Annual Abbey Giveaway


In ancient times, wise men and women fled out into the desert to find a place where they could be fully present to God and to their own inner struggles at work within them. The desert became a place to enter into the refiner’s fire and be stripped down to one’s holy essence. The desert was a threshold place where you emerged different than when you entered.

Many people followed these ammas and abbas, seeking their wisdom and guidance for a meaningful life. One tradition was to ask for a word –  this word or phrase would be something on which to ponder for many days, weeks, months, sometimes a whole lifetime. This practice is connected to lectio divina, where we approach the sacred texts with the same request – “give me a word” we ask – something to nourish me, challenge me, a word I can wrestle with and grow into.  The word which chooses us has the potential to transform us.

What is your word for the year ahead? A word which contains within it a seed of invitation to cross a new threshold in your life?

Share your word in the comments section below by January 6, 2016 and you are automatically entered for the prize drawing (prizes listed below).


As in past years, I am offering all Abbey newsletter subscribers a gift: a free 12-day online mini-retreat with a suggested practice for each day to help your word choose you and to deepen into your word once it has found you. Even if you participated last year, you are more than welcome to register again.

Subscribe to our email newsletter and you will receive a link to start your mini-retreat today. Your information will never be shared or sold. (If you are already subscribed to the newsletter, look for the link in today’s email).


We are delighted to offer some wonderful gifts from the Abbey:

So please share your word (and it would be wonderful to include a sentence about what it means for you) with us below.

Subscribe to the Abbey newsletter to receive ongoing inspiration in your in-box. Share the love with others and invite them to participate.  Then stay tuned – on January 6th we will announce the prize winners!

If this is your first time commenting at the Abbey, or you are including a link, your comment will need to be approved before appearing, which usually takes less than 24 hours.

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712 Responses

  1. I went through the retreat rather quickly only to find that I marked each lesson complete when I read them not when I actually completed them.
    How embarrassing! Then I found myself stalled for quite some time but now I feel the word Reflect nudging me on. Reflections have been intriguing me and so I’ve been photographing them where and when I can. It has been difficult for me to get out into nature since it has been so bitterly cold here at 7400 feet above sea level. High, dry and cold–even when the sun shines; the windchill can make a sunny day frigid here in the San Luis Valley, Colorado. So, I’ve been having fun indoors with my iPad camera.

  2. “Joy” came to me early in the process this year and I’ve been sitting with it but open to what comes. This week as I reread the Monk Manifesto number eight just took my breath away…”cultivating creative joy”. And then a post by Bo Stern today just solidified it for me…. “May the Source of all hope dump buckets of joy and peace over your heart…” Lol. I am cultivating a mandala practice this year and have chosen Hildegard of Bingen as my mentor for the year. Any suggestions for good reads would be most welcome! Happy New Year!!! xoxxx

  3. the Word from Deuteronomy 30:14
    But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.

    ….to let go of the past, to connect, to wake up and to be present….because the word is very near me…

  4. My word for the year is Trust. I feel this word has been calling me to let go. To trust my intuition and to flow with whatever situations I find myself in.

  5. The word “courage” found me soon after beginning “Give Me a Word”. After 7 years, I will need courage this coming year to finally step into my true calling and passion as a spiritual director as I re-imagine my horse-centered spiritual growth and healing ministry to serve and care for the survivors of human trafficking.

  6. ‘Simplify’is the word that speaks to me. It’s an invitation to choose the essence of what is important, and sweep away the clutter.

  7. Renewal
    In many ways I am experiencing renewal….returning to the work force after being home for a decade, a spiritual awakening of sorts, a fresh outlook on my daily life, and the opportunity to pursue education and hobbies in a new way.
    Looking forward to what it means in 2016 and what comes from this study. Thank you for the guidance.

  8. My word is rest. I am expert at wasting time, but not at resting. I will allow myself to not be busy, to simply be present to the world and to others, and to rest in God’s presence. I have been constantly repeating to myself “I’m so tired” and I need to rest.