MONASTERY AND LAY CISTERCIAN PONDERINGS

I share with you what I have received via the Monastery of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit, Conyers, Georgia, and also from the Lay Cistercians (with permission).

Blessings on you this day. Remember, peace is not the absence of conflict but rather the love of Christ in your heart. It is this that will conquer the world, if not the earth, then certainly the world as you experience it.

Please pray for all monks and Lay Cistercians of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Monastery (Trappist) that all may seek God every day in every way and become what they seek.

A TRIBUTE TO PACO AMBROSETTI

The late Paco Ambrosetti was a Lay Cistercian at the same Monastery that accepted me as a Professed Lay Cistercian. He was my Novice Director, along with Carl McColeman, and exerted in quiet and forceful influence on my inching from self to God. I remember how he used to tell us that contemplation demands patience on our part, not God’s part. I began my process of silence and solitude with his guidance, patience, stillness, anticipation, recognition of the struggle it takes to maintain focus in the midst of Original Sin, and how we are all pilgrims in a foreign land if we take our Baptism seriously. I pray for him, and the other monks and Lay Cistercians who have gone to their reward as good and faithful servants, in the peace of Christ, that they join me in, with and through Christ to praise the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. The God who is, who was, and who is to come at the end of the ages. Amen and Amen. –Cistercian doxology

A POEM WRITTEN BY PACO AMBROSETTI, DECEASED LAY CISTERCIAN

COME, Holy Spirit.
Replace the tension within us with a holy relaxation.
Replace the turbulence within us with a sacred calm.
Replace the anxiety within us with quiet confidence.
Replace the fear within us with a strong faith.
Replace the bitterness within us with a sweetness of grace.
Replace the darkness within us with a gentle light.
Replace the coldness within us with loving warmth.
Replace the night within us with your day.
Replace the winter within us with your spring.
Straighten our crookedness.
Fill our emptiness.
Dull the edge of our pride.
Sharpen the edge of our humility.
Light the fires of our love.
Quench the flames of our lust.
Let us see ourselves as you see us.
That we may see you as you have promised use.
And be healed according to your word.

A POEM WRITTEN BY MICHAEL F. CONRAD, Ed.D.

What follows is a poem about my life. It is, as yet, unfinished as is my life, but the elements are all present.

The Poem of My Life

I sing the song of life and love…

…sometimes flat and out of tune

…sometimes eloquent and full of passion

…sometimes forgetting notes and melody

…sometimes quaint and intimate

…often forgetful and negligent

…often in tune with the very core of my being

…often with the breath of those who would pull me down, 

    shouting right in my face

…often with the breath of life uplifting me to heights never

    before dreamed

…greatly grateful for the gift of humility and obedience to The 

    One

…greatly thankful for adoption, discovery of new life of pure

    energy

…greatly appreciative for sharing meaning with others of The

   Master

…greatly sensitive for not judging the motives of anyone but

   me

…happy to be accepted as an aspiring Lay Cistercian

…happy to spend time in Eucharistic Adoration

…happy and humbled to be an adopted son of the Father

…happy for communities of faith and love with wife, 

   daughter, friends

…mindful that the passage of time increases each year

…mindful of the major distractions of cancer and cardiac

   arrest

…mindful of my center and the perspective that I am loved

   moreover, I must love back with all the energy of my heart and

   strength, yet always falling a little short

…mindful the energy I receive from The One in Whom I find

   Purpose and meaning…Forever.

To The One who is, Who was, and Who is to come at the end of the ages, be glory, honor, power, and blessings through The Redeemer Son in unity with the Advocate, Spirit of Love.

From The One who is, Who was, and Who is to come at the end of the ages, I seek hope that His words about the purpose of life are true, that He is the way that leads to life…Forever.

With The One who is, Who was, and Who is to come at the end of the ages, I seek the fierce love so I can have in me the mind of Christ Jesus, my purpose in life and my center…Forever.

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

POWERPOINT SLIDE SHOW OF THE MONASTERY FROM FATHER CASSIAN RUSSELL, O.C.S.O.

NEWSLETTER FROM BROTHER MARK DOHLE, O.S.C.O., Retreat House Director

November 2020 Newsletter(New).pdf

REFLECTIONS ON SILENCE AND SOLITUDE BY A BROKEN-DOWN, OLD TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

CHARISM FOUR: Silence and Solitude

Both silence and solitude are distinguishing characteristics of anyone who wants to be a contemplative monk or nun. But it would be a mistake to take words on their face value and not see them about the mission of a particular Order. Carthusians, for example, are hermits and follow the Rule of St. Benedict, and also St. Bruno. Cistercians may be divided into two branches, one that is called Regular Cistercians OCist, https://www.cistercian.org/abbey/ and those that are more contemplative, Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, O.C.S.O. http://www.trappist.net. Trappist Cistercians differ from those of the Regular Order in their emphasis on contemplative living (silence and solitude).

Slow down your reading and your thinking. To grow deeper from my false self to my true self (Galatians 5), I had to slow down my reading of Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer. All of my reading now is intentionally slow, not because I am getting old, although that is indeed the case, but that I take time now to REST on the word and savor them. The Psalms, in particular, are my target for this new approach to reciting the Liturgy of the Hours.

Read one of my favorite Psalms below in your usual way, don’t pause between each stanza or between the antiphon and the Psalm, just get through it as you would normally do, reading it quickly. Don’t pause for reflection. Read it the second time but this time pause for a few minutes between each stanza as you let the Holy Spirit have a chance to speak. The third time, seek to become what you read with God’s help.

FIVE LEVELS OF SPIRITUAL AWARENESS

  • Say the Word
  • Pray the Word
  • Share the Word
  • Be the Word you Shared
  • There are no Words (Contemplation)

Antiphon: Turn not your head away from me nor remember my sins.

Psalm 51

3Have mercy on me, O God,

 according to your merciful love;

 according to your great compassion,

 blot out my transgressions.

 4 Wash me completely from my iniquity,

 and cleanse me from my sin.

5 My transgressions, truly I know them;

 my sin is always before me.

 6 Against you, you alone, have I sinned;

 what is evil in your sight I have done.

 So you are just in your sentence,

 without reproach in your judgment.

7 O see, in guilt, I was born,

 a sinner when my mother conceived me.

 8 Yes, you delight in sincerity of heart;

 in secret, you teach me wisdom.

9 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I shall be pure;

 wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

10 Let me hear rejoicing and gladness,

 that the bones you have crushed may exult.

 11Turn away your face from my sins,

 and blot out all my guilt.

12 Create a pure heart for me, O God;

 renew a steadfast spirit within me.

13 Do not cast me away from your presence;

 take not your holy spirit from me.

14 Restore in me the joy of your salvation;

 sustain in me a willing spirit.

15  I will teach transgressors your ways,

 that sinner may return to you.

16 Rescue me from bloodshed, O God,

 God of my salvation,  and then my tongue shall ring out your justice.

17  O Lord, open my lips

 and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.

18 For in sacrifice you take no delight;

 the burnt offering from me would not please you.

 19 My sacrifice to God, a broken spirit:

 a broken and humbled heart,

 O God, you will not spurn.

20 In your good pleasure, show favor to Sion;

 rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

 21 Then you will delight in right sacrifice,

 burnt offerings wholly consumed.

 Then you will be offered young bulls on your altar.

ALL: Praise be the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and forever.

The God who is, who was, and who is to come at the end of the ages.

Antiphon: Turn not your head away from me nor remember my sins.

RESOURCES TO HELP YOU GROW FROM SELF TO GOD

YOU MUST SEE THIS WEBSITE

Posted on October 24, 2020 by thecenterforcontemplativepractice

I share my joy with you about a website that I discovered by Father Luke Dysinger, O.S.B. with very rich contemporary subjects and also patristic and other primary sources. You can read the actual texts of the ecumenical councils, plus other great writers. Father Luke conducts an on-line course in bioethics. Here is his shortened bio as copied directly from his website.

FATHER LUKE’S BIO:

“Fr. LUKE Dysinger has been a member of the Benedictine monastic community at Saint Andrew’s Abbey Valyermo, California, since May, 1980. He has served in the past as novicemaster, juniormaster, and prior; he is presently librarian and second cantor. He teaches patristics, the history of Christian spirituality, bioethics, and human sexuality at Saint John’s Seminary in Camarillo, California, where is a full professor and chair of the department of moral theology. He teaches monastic formation and monastic spirituality at the School of Theology of Saint John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota.

Prior to joining the monastery he trained as a physician, graduating from the University of Southern California School of Medicine in 1978, and completing his residency in family practice in 1981. He serves as chair of the bioethics committee at the Antelope Valley Hospital Medical Center in Lancaster, California, where he is a member of the medical staff. He consults as contract bioethicist at St. Francis Medical Center, Lynnwood.
He studied theology in Oxford, completing his studies for ordination in 1985 and his D.Phil. in patristics in 2000. He has published a translation of the Rule of Benedict, as well as articles on Evagrius Ponticus, lectio divina, and other subjects in monastic spirituality and bioethics. His book, Prayer and Psalmody in the Writings of Evagrius Ponticus, is available from Oxford University Press.”

FATHER LUKE’S COURSE ON BIOETHICS

http://www.ldysinger.com/ThM_590_Intro-Bioeth/webcourse/00a_start.htm

READINGS AND AUDIO LECTURES FROM ST. JOHN’S SEMINARY

http://www.ldysinger.com/

PRIMARY SOURCES

http://www.ldysinger.com/@texts/00a_start.htm

This site is the resource for which I have been anxiously awaiting. What a treasure trove of courses and great primary texts from saints to heretics, from Christ to Mohammed, in the original texts (in English). I must add this site to my top websites.

MY TOP WEBSITES FOR SPIRITUAL AWARENESS (Copied from a prior blog).

I use the Internet a lot these days. Granted, there is a lot of blather contained in it, but there are some gems that I use almost every week as I seek God daily through silence and solitude. In no order of importance, here are the sites that have helped me to move a tiny bit from self to God.

WORD ON FIRE — www.wordonfire.org This is the site that features Bishop Robert Barron and his ministry. I love this site because you are able to sign up for his daily meditations on the Eucharist plus a Sunday commentary. If you are so inclined, you can sign up for his Word on Fire Institute. This has my highest recommendation and I use it nearly every day. You can go to YouTube.com and type in Bishop Barron to see some of his videos. All of us are blessed because of Bishop Barron and his team of evangelists.

DR. SCOTT HAHN — http://www.scotthahn.com Here is another magnificent site that just oozes with the Holy Spirit. When you access his website you are able to click on some of his video sessions. Anything that comes from the St. Paul Center is worth your time and spiritual energy. You can also access Youtube to find more of Dr. Scott Hahn’s videos.

NEW ADVENT — https://www.newadvent.org/ I use this site when I want to look up resources, such as The Catholic Encyclopedia, Fathers of the Church, the Bible, Summa Theologica, and my personal favorite, and an up to date newsletter that is loaded with commentary and links to other significant events of the day. It is yours for free.

TRAPPIST BROTHERS AND SISTERS — https://www.trappists.org/history-of-the-trappists/notable-monks-nuns/ This site is one I use for all things Trappist, one of two branches of the Cistercian Order, the other being Regular Cistercians. It has my highest recommendation because I use it to check out what is going on with the Trappists.

A LAY CISTERCIAN LOOKS AT REALITY — https://thecenterforcontemplativepractice.org This site is one I created to reflect on the reality of each day using Cistercian, specifically Trappist practices and charisms. I have been blessed to be accepted by Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Monastery (Conyers, Georgia) as a Professed Lay Cistercian. http://www.trappist.net

THE DIVINE OFFICE — http://www.divineoffice.org If you wish to join others in reciting the Liturgy of the Hours, this is the on line site I use, since I am quarantined due to COVID 19. It also has a link to my blog.

USCCB- http://www.usccb.org is the website for the Bishops of the United States. I use this to look up scriptural quotes, the latest in developments that affect our Faith in this country.

THE VATICAN NEWS — https://www.vaticannews.va/en/vatican-city/news/2020-05/church-recognizes-miracle-attributed-to-ven-michael-mcgivney.html This is a site to read about news from the Holy Father and Vatican. Highly recommended.

There are many other site that are just excellent, but these are the ones I use the most.

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