All around, every day, there is God.
Driving in rush-hour traffic, looking over, and there it was…
The frozen river below, smoke rising from the chimneys on the city.
The day before yesterday,
walking round the cloisters,
where the brethren were sitting,
as it were a very garland of love,
I was gazing on them,
as one might admire in paradise
the leaves and flowers and fruit of
every individual tree,
and found none there whom I did not love,
and by whom I did not believe myself loved.
I was filled with joy...
-from “The Way of Simplicity”, Esther De Waal
In Monastic life according to Trappist tradition and the Rule of Saint Benedict, life consists of prayer, chanting the Psalms, and manual labor.
Ora et Labora
But the manual labor isn’t really a separate different thing. It’s really just a continuation of our main “work”, the prayer.
I feel cold just looking at them. Standing barefoot in ice water just doesn’t give me a . . . . . warm feeling!
Do you desire, then, to embrace this life of solitude, and to seek out the blessings of stillness? If so, abandon the cares of the world, and the principalities and powers that lie behind them: free yourself from attachment to material things, from domination by passions and desires, so that as a stranger to all this you may attain true stillness. For only by raising himself above these things can a man achieve the life of stillness.
- The Philokalia (Ancient Eastern Orthodox text)
Red Sky in the Morning, Sailor take warning…
My favorite place in the world is New Melleray Abbey, near Dubuque, Iowa. To make a living, they make simple wooden caskets, a work of love.
If it walks like a duck……