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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. The word “open” keeps coming up and I keep trying to find something else and overthink it. It is more insistent than “tend” was last year. It also tells me it is both adjective and verb. I’m intrigued.

  2. My word for the year continues to be “permeable”. I’m not ready for “transparent” and hope never to be “opaque” again. “Permeable seems to allow for some days when my heart’s edges are not so thin but also invites to letting those same edges let in and let out as much of God’s grace and light as possible.

  3. The word that comes to me for 2016 is “release”, I will work actively to let go of deep worries about situations out of my control, and to turn them over to God.

  4. My word is Celebrate. Each day I promise to celebrate God’s love and share it with others.

  5. STILL is the word that has chosen me. It has appeared many times in the past couple of weeks and is calling to me gently.
    Here is my little poem:
    Time is

    Thank you for this mini retreat which has helped me to slow down and listen during such a busy time.

  6. My word for 2016 is TRUST – the year ahead seems likely to bring changes and challenges. The word TRUST has been appearing in so many places since I started this enriching “word reflection”. Here is my poem followed by wisdom received in the last few days from Richard Rohr and Thomas Merton…

    Time seems set upon
    Rushing us towards change in the year ahead
    Urging us on, although nothing is certain.
    Stop – breathe – open – allow
    Trust in the One who loves you

    “The contemplative is not just aware of God’s Loving Presence, but trusts, allows, and delights in it.” Richard Rohr

    My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone. Thomas Merton