Yesterday (Sunday), the Lay Cistercians of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Monastery (Trappist) gathered together to meet with the Holy Spirit and share some ideas about our journey in life and how we each have realized that Christ is walking with us each day. Although we realize that each of our paths is different in how we approach reality because of the heritage and life experiences we have had that are unique to each of us, what we do share is our seeking God together based on the Rule of St. Benedict as interpreted by Trappists monks and nuns. https://www.trappists.org/history-of-the-trappists/

In writing this blog, I am actually doing my Lectio Divina (Philippians 2:5) on the computer and trying to write down what comes to my mind. You might notice that these ideas may be disjointed. All I do is take dictation. This is similar to what the Old and New Testament writers did when reflecting on Christ’s teachings. Are there errors? Possibly. These are the thoughts of a broken-down, old Lay Cistercian and do not reflect any official statements or pronouncements of either the Cistercian Orders or Lay Cistercians.

Let’s go back to the Gathering Day. We were all online, all fifty of us (+ -).


I will share an exercise I used with the Wakulla Correctional Institution (Florida), Main, and Annex inmates. My purpose was to share my own ways of looking at a deeper view of reality than the World sees. This exercise came from one of my Lectio Divina (Philippians 2:5)

FIRST: I ask you to look at the photo of a cup and tell me what you see. Look at this for ten minutes and write down everything that you see. Limit your responses to what is actually there. This is the universe of what it is. This is the physical universe in which we humans find ourselves alive. We share this universe with other living things, matter, energy, time, and space. Why is that?

SECONDLY: Once more, look at the photo of the cup and tell me what you see. This time, realize that you can look at it and ask more questions other than WHAT. This is the mental universe, and only humans live in it. No animals, no plants, no fish, no fowl are here. Just us. This is the universe where we look back at the physical universe and ask WHY, WHO, WHEN, WHERE, WHY, AND SO WHAT. These interrogatories distinguish us from all other living species. Why is that? This is where we humans use our reasoning and our ability to choose to help us find meaning and how all of this fits together. Science helps us peer deeper into the truth by using different languages (Mathematics, Logic, Chemistry, etc…) to quantify what is. But this is a different level of reality than just existing. We are given reason for a reason and the ability to freely choose what we discover as the truth and what life is all about. What we choose either limits us or lifts us up to the next level of evolution, to be adopted sons and daughters of the Father.

THIRD TIME: Once again, what do you see? This time think of the cup as the sum of what you have learned from The Christ Principle and what you will present to God as a gift? This is the spiritual universe, one that we inherit but one that takes a dying self to be able to see the contradictions with the World. In baptism, Christ chose you. In Confirmation, you chose the cross as your way to the truth so you could have eternal life.

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