At the core of what it means to be a follower of The Master is doing what he taught. Spirituality is not a head thing as much as a head and heart thing.

St. Benedict, in his Chapter 4 of the Rule, wanted monks to do what Christ taught us.  He lists practices that those follow can use to have in them the mind of Christ Jesus (Phil. 2:5). I read at least five of these practices every day in the hopes of becoming more like Christ. Loving is about doing something, first with your own temple of the Holy Spirit, then with others to complete the words of Christ, where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in their with them. (Matthew 18:20)


In my case, as an aspiring Lay Cistercian in process of becoming more like Christ but being so very far from perfection, the most difficult thing I must learn is to not returning evil for evil but good for evil.  It sounds so easy to do but goes against everything human are emotions and will are acculturated to respond.  This is the result of original sin. When someone tells me I am an utter failure as a person, a failure as a husband, a failure as a Catholic Priest, someone who only lives in La-La Land, someone whose mother did not teach him right, the normal tendency is to strike back bring up the faults of the other person.  You hurt me and I will hurt you back, only more so.  This leads to much of the fighting and anger between and among spouses, families, and friends. If you give back love for evil and peace for hurtful comments and accusations, it is not normal, but it is what Christ wanted us to do.  I Thessalonians 5:15

When you offer the peace of Christ to those at Eucharist, you offer Christ to one another. You proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes again. You do what Jesus taught us.


Mercy is a virtue to have compassion for, and if possible, to alleviate the sufferings of others, according to New Advent.

When your heart touches the heart of Jesus, something wonderful happens. The encounter produces God’s own energy in your heart, as much as you can accommodate. A contemplative practice, such as Lectio Divina, opens up the heart to the reality of love, if only for a moment. What comes from this awareness must be “loving your neighbor as yourself.”  Read Matthew 22:34.

The corporal works of mercy are:

  • To feed the hungry;
  • To give drink to the thirsty;
  • To clothe the naked;
  • To harbor the harbourless;
  • To visit the sick;
  • To ransom the captive;
  • To bury the dead.

The spiritual works of mercy are:

  • To instruct the ignorant;
  • To counsel the doubtful;
  • To admonish sinners;
  • To bear wrongs patiently;
  • To forgive offenses willingly;
  • To comfort the afflicted;
  • To pray for the living and the dead.

If you love me, says the Master, love one another. Have mercy on others as I have mercy on you. Words to live by. Words that are the fruit of faith. Go, do them.

That in all things, may God be glorified. –St. Benedict


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