I asked the question this morning, “What am I doing now that I was not doing five years ago, the caveat being Lay Cistercian practices that come from my observance of monastic charisms at Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Monastery (Trappist), Conyers, Georgia?

CUSTOS OCULI –– I now practice custos oculi, the custody of the eyes. I do so as Lay Cistercian and not as a monk. I am more aware now of averting my gaze around me to see distracting visuals, for example, looking around at church when people arrive to see whom I know and who seems interesting. My focus is now on trying to keep my eyes focused on the ground to help me think about who I am versus who Jesus is. Chapter 7 of the Rule of St. Benedict has the twelve steps of humility that monks need to climb. I have only managed step one, the fear of the Lord, before tiring of the remainder.

SLOW DOWN –– I am more aware of slowing down my life to remember that I bear the sign of the cross on my heart (an indelible tattoo). I slow down any presentations I make on contemplative practice using PowerPoint slides.

WAITING FOR JESUS TO SHOW UP –– This is a way for me to say that I must wait for my humanity to catch up with my spirituality. Jesus has been there all along, waiting for me to show up.

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