Reflections on the Gospel

December 14, 2019: Eve of the Third Sunday of Advent This week’s candle will light the way to love with the Heart of a Servant. Our other candles, Quiet Trust and Humble Listening light this path of service. “The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for the many.” In faith, all three candles join to follow the path laid out for us in this little baby soon to be born in us in a deeper way. How great is the call to serve! How deep it plunges us into Jesus and his self-surrender into the Father. The Heart of a Servant is humble. It knows itself to...

December 7, 2019: Eve of the Second Sunday of Advent Tonight we light the candle of a Listening Heart. Think of the Prologue of Benedict’s Rule. To turn the ear of our hearts to a loving Father who speaks to us at every moment. His voice is spoken in the person of another who comes into our lives, who asks us to listen to God in their need, their pain, their joy. His voice is heard in all that binds us together in community, locally and universally in the myriad ways we serve one another. Each one, our sister and brother. Each one, like ourselves, beloved of God. To lay aside our self-absorption and as Benedict counsels us, by the...

November 30, 2019: Eve of the First Sunday of Advent Who could have thought it? God bursting forth into our world as a human, one of US! Yet, here we are again, about to be immersed in the journey into the all-embracing love and mercy of God pouring itself out into hearts barely awake to their incredible destiny as a beloved child of God. At the end of our Advent journey, a little child shall be born for us and given to us in an ever-deeper way. How can we open our depths for God to prepare a way in the desert places of our hearts to walk in ways of love and service, how yield to the working of...

March 22, 2019: A Reflection for Friday of the 2nd Week of Lent Genesis 37:3-4,12-13a, 17b-28 Mt 21:33-43, 45,46 Yesterday I began the usual Spring, Summer and Fall ritual of watering the various growing things on the grounds. Suddenly, as I half-mindedly opened the faucet to allow the flow of life-giving water to refresh some trees, it hit me. The fruitfulness of our lives is a matter of whether our inner channels of life are open or closed to the Spirit. Both readings today speak to this human capacity to be either open or closed to the Living Water of God’s Spirit in Christ. What we see today is the result of closing off the stream of life and the...

January 26, 2019: A Reflection for the Feast of the Founders of our Cistercian Order Quite a few years ago on a warm summer’s night, I awoke in the middle of the night. There was no moon, so the land lay in darkness and profound stillness as only the night can produce. My window was wide open to catch any stray breeze and I lay in bed quietly wondering when sleep would overcome me. Then from the heart of the stillness and dark, one lone bird began to sing. Loud and clear, as if pouring its heart into the night, it sang and sang and sang. It was of the thrush family, I am sure, because the tone was rich...

December 22, 2018: Eve of the Fourth Sunday of Advent Here we stand on the brink of Christmas. Our final candle awaits the flame. It will soon join the growing circle of light. Tonight, our candle will gather up our weeks of preparation. Listening for the approach of God in each of our moments, opening our hearts in awakening to God, receiving the Deifying Light into the secret places of our being. And tonight, to walk while we have the light of life. It is the candle of commitment that embraces action. May Jesus, the tender Son of the Father, strengthen us in our life’s journey to walk in the light. The light of the presence of the living God....

December 15, 2018: Eve of the Third Sunday of Advent A third candle awaits the flame tonight. It will join the others and swell the presence of light in the circle of our Advent Wreath. One candle sheds its light in listening, the second with eagerness and meekness that welcomes the light into its depths. This evening, our candle opens itself to the deifying light. The first week is our spiritual sense of hearing, the second our spiritual sense of an awakened heart. Tonight, it is our spiritual sense of sight. How eager are we to welcome the Deifying Light? It is a kindly light, even when it sheds it’s glow on the cobwebbed corners of our being, all the...

December 8, 2018: Eve of the Second Sunday of Advent In a few moments, another flame will kindle its warmth in the heart of the second candle. Last week our candle burned brightly to remind us of a bedrock quality in a monk: to listen. This evening we expand the listening even more. How is it that we listen? In the deepest way possible, with the ear of our heart. We hold the flame close to the center of our being and let it expand our depths with its warmth and challenge to grow. To listen with the ear of our hearts means openness to God wherever and however God comes. To receive with trust and love the coming of...

December 1, 2018: Eve Of The First Sunday Of Advent Here we stand at the beginning of a new liturgical year. Sr. Esther’s lovely Advent Wreath enfolds the four candles, poised and ready to receive light. Perhaps we can identify with each of the candles as they prepare to receive a particular point of light and burn brightly with it. This year, what if we look at some points from the Prologue of our Rule as points of light to which we open ourselves to invite light into our being. On this First Sunday of Advent, as we stare down centuries of waiting before the coming of Jesus, perhaps in some ways we can “look to the East” in our hearts...

WHERE DO YOU LIVE? A reflection on Luke 18:9-14 Jesus addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else. How many times in our lives have we been asked, “Where do you live?” Countless times, right? In the divine scheme of things we are all connected – to one another, to the universe. This is where, ultimately, we live. How is this so? How can I be connected to every person and animal and all creation? And why should I care? Today’s Gospel, at it’s deepest level, is talking about just this level. It is the place within each creature where we come from the creative heart of God. It is this “place”...