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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. Boundaries. I am over scheduled and too busy and it is my own doing. So setting time for the desert time is important to me and is now a priority.

  2. Allowing. This word came bubbling up again. It first chose me years ago while I was doing work as a hospice volunteer. Permitting, accepting, welcoming. It enabled me to sit with the person I was helping to die in a way that was quiet and graceful… Ready for whatever may or may not happen.

  3. Belief. It is what carries me, sustains. It’s my reminder when I drift and grow unsure–remember to believe; remember what it is you believe. Belief is my lifeline, my hope, my joy. Belief is my voice, the voice of the silence.

  4. Now. I have needed to return to this over and again. It’s not a word that came to me as a confirmation of where my mind and my soul dwell. It is a reminder, a challenge, sometimes a loving reprimand, and even a thorn in my side. I want to not someday realize I missed the actuality of all my days by jumbling them together with those of the past and those yet to come. Still, I find myself all too often allowing now to be set aside. Perhaps because it is present and available, I too often bookmark it while dwelling and reaching. Now. The here. The immediate. The place where the still small voice is trying to be heard. Now.

  5. Wait. I am in a lull in my work life, and perhaps in my spiritual life as well. There is a sense of incompleteness & loneliness. But something wonderful is coming. I just need to wait, and journal the waiting. Got this word from my Spiritual Director today :-).

  6. The word that came for me is Humility. I have been reading T. S. Elliot’s Four Quartets, lectio style, and the phase “endless humility” stopped me and wouldn’t let me go. Thank you, Christine, for your guidance.

  7. On the very last day of study, I heard – PRAY – and the profound words of Mary Anne Radmacher came back to my awareness along with it – “My work is my play and my play is my work, and everything – EVERYTHING – is prayer.”

    This word is a gift I have given myself, not at the world New Year in January, but in August just two days before my 49th birthday on the 5th – PRAY will be a very interesting watchword to keep before me through year #50 I think! :) Much gratitude, Christine, for this wonderful ‘guided seeking’!

    ~ Love & Light to All! ~ :) <3

  8. Rememberance….of the truth of who I am, a child of God. Rememberance…to be made whole again.