Category: Contemplative Living


A Disciple of Silence

This past weekend I co-led our annual Oblate retreat with Sister Lucy, our Oblate director, on the theme of simplicity. Being with my fellow Oblates and supporting one another on the Benedictine way is always tremendous nourishment for my spirit.  Life has been so full these last few months and now I get to step into a simpler time and space myself.  My heart has been drawn to explore new ways of simplifying beyond just doing with less things, but to consider the way my thoughts and desires can clutter my heart. I often find my creative energy drawn in

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The Call of Retreat: Unfurl

I go on a long walk through the forest listening for the word calling to me.  It is a form of lectio divina I practice where nature is the sacred text revealing holy wonders to my heart.  I step further into the silence of trees and moss and ferns.  The forest floor is covered with ferns, creation’s lush and extravagant gesture.  At first I notice the large and mature ones with their wide leaves, but soon my gaze is called to tend to these tender shoots unfurling themselves.  If I listen closely I can hear the quiet movements of a

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I am heading out for some time of retreat by the forest and sea and dreaming of the year ahead. Thank you so much to everyone who already commented on last Tuesday’s invitation to share what you need for your own retreat time. Reading through them has been true refreshment for my own spirit. I encourage anyone who hasn’t yet, to stop by with a cup of tea and a journal and begin dreaming your next retreat into being. You can still add your comment until next Monday, May 10 and enter for a chance to win a set of

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Holy Pause: The Practice of Retreat

Last Friday and Saturday I was at St. Placid Priory leading a workshop and a retreat.   Much of my work is leading retreats – and while I spend a lot of time designing the flow of experiences, ultimately it is about creating and holding sacred space for others.  On retreat the invitation is to cross the threshold of ordinary awareness and enter liminal space for a few hours or days to receive the new questions waiting for us. This coming weekend I go on my own time of retreat to the place where the forest meets the sea.  This space

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A Monk in the World

One of the ways we become intimate with the fire in our lives is to explore our passions, our deepest desires, the commitments which make our hearts burn with love.  The mystics across traditions describe God as the spark or flame dwelling in each of our hearts, the source of infinite compassion.  When we live from the heart – which is where Ignatius of Loyola said that God plants our deepest desires – we become a temple of fire and reveal the splendor of God to the world. I feel deeply blessed to be intimate with my own deepest desires,

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I have been feeling tired this week, unwell, my body feels tender and fatigued and so I am taking extra care of myself.  My spirit is also feeling tender, in part because my body is vulnerable, but also because of the tragic events in Haiti, my mother-in-law’s gradual decline with dementia, and some much smaller personal struggles where I am being called to stand in my own strength in ways that are stretching me. I find myself drawn back again and again to this statue I posted last week (the images below are close-ups).  I am so moved by the

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“I need to be silent / for a while”

All beings are words of God, His music, His art. Sacred books we are, for the infinite camps in our souls. Every act reveals God and expands His being. I know that may be hard to comprehend. All creatures are doing their best to help God in His birth of Himself. Enough talk for the night. He is laboring in me; I need to be silent for a while, worlds are forming in my heart. -Meister Eckhart It has been a full week and I find myself longing for less words, more silence.  The photo above is of a marvelous

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