Back to profile

James Behrens

Stories by James

Tease photo

JAMES BEHRENS: Christmas a time to see, love as God does

James Behrens column

Tease photo

JAMES BEHRENS: Thank God for both the joys, and sorrows in life

I have enjoyed writing letters for as long as I can remember. I like to think that letter writing is my modest contribution to the continued existence of the U.S. Postal Service. But I suppose some may say it is a compulsion.

Tease photo

JAMES BEHRENS: Find peace in a balance between active, contemplative actions

More to the point, in the human person, the two worlds become one. We live from active and contemplative ways of being in the world. Yet there are still tensions between individuals who rally for the primacy of one way (active) over the other (contemplative) or vice-versa.

Tease photo

JAMES BEHRENS: Brother Alphonse embodied the honesty, purity found in a true monk

There is a saying that good things come in small packages. And so it is that a small package, say, a gift, can contain something of no great size but of immense value. People can be the same kind of gift. Such was Brother Alphonse. He passed away last week and we rejoiced in his going home to God and, at the same time, mourned his leaving us.

Tease photo

JAMES BEHRENS: We can find our home in God, and each other

We are born with an instinctive longing for the place we feel most at home. For some, that place is a room with a nice reclining chair and a remote. For others, a mansion might fit the bill.

Tease photo

JAMES BEHRENS: Power within us should be attributed to God, not ourselves

Consequences are the ingredients that make up the news fodder every second of every day. A live news feed does exactly that. It lives off a ravenous appetite for the consequent nature of events, both good and bad.

Tease photo

JAMES BEHRENS: God is with us in our sleep and wakefulness

I can still hear the voice of my mom when she called up to the third floor to wake me and my brother up to get ready for school. Her call always ended with the words “get up now or you two will miss the bus.” If we were too enmeshed in slumber and fell back to sleep, mom then summoned dad and his thunderous voice woke us up very fast.

Tease photo

JAMES BEHRENS: As we labor in life, we share in God's work

Earlier in the week, I roused myself from my desk and went for a walk. Going down to the rear of the retreat house, I followed the path down the hill to the heavy equipment garage.

Tease photo

James Behrens: Doing good helps us to endure hardships

A group of students from the Galloway School in Atlanta were here at the monastery recently. It was s small group, chaperoned by Gordon Mathis and Jill Weinstein, two instructors and very capable guides for the students.

Tease photo

JAMES BEHRENS: Raising children in the presence of God is an act of prayer

Here at the monastery, praying is a significant part of our conscious activity. We are in church four hours every day, chanting psalms, sharing the Eucharist, taking even more time for private time. It is a common sight to enter the church and see a monk or two sitting alone, praying.

Tease photo

JAMES BEHRENS: True success is accepting your faults, growing through God

A letter arrived in the mail a few days ago. It was written by a friend of mine and he was responding to an earlier essay I had written about my shortcomings.

Tease photo

JAMES BEHRENS: Sometimes being lost can bring you home to God

I was driving with a friend of mine through New York City a long time ago. He got lost and ended up in a battered section of the Bronx.

Tease photo

JAMES BEHRENS: Restless humans can learn a lot from the resolve of God's other creatures

I saw her a few days ago. She is a pigeon who has made a nest in a space above the door that opens to our chapter room.

Tease photo

JAMES BEHRENS: We create wondrous memories each day of our lives

We create wondrous memories each day of our lives. My friend was telling me how often he dwells on the past. I know him fairly well and he impresses me as one who lives in the present quite well.

Tease photo

JAMES BEHRENS: The more your heart gives, the more you will receive

Religion has been a lifelong source of many things for me. I spent nearly all my formative years in Catholic schools.

Tease photo

JAMES BEHRENS: God offers comfort to the grief-stricken

God offers comfort to the grief-stricken and brokenhearted. There is a short story by Andre Dubus and it is about the lives of a married couple whose only child has died.

Tease photo

JAMES BEHRENS: God has not abandoned us, He shines through our service to each other

Many of the first readings at our Masses these weeks are taken from the Acts of the Apostles.

Tease photo

JAMES BEHRENS: After weary road trip, monk happy to come home to monastery

The rain started falling early in the morning and continued all through the day. It was a downpour for a good part of the day.

Tease photo

JAMES BEHRENS: Springtime renews our hope in Jesus

Spring renews our hope. Every spring brings with it the promise of new beginnings.

Tease photo

JAMES BEHRENS: Childhood home brings back fond memories

Visit to my childhood home brings back fond memories. A few years ago, I returned to the house where I had spent much of my youth.

Tease photo

JAMES BEHRENS: Our lives change, but God in His love remains constant

Recently we had our annual retreat, and we enjoyed it.

Tease photo

JAMES BEHRENS: No need to wait for God, He's already here

No need to wait for God -- He's already here. I have taken a lot of photographs over the years.

Tease photo

JAMES BEHRENS: Only God can soften our need for vengeance

A friend of mine practiced law. I used to enjoy chatting with him and his wife after Mass on Sunday mornings.

Tease photo

JAMES BEHRENS: Meaning of life can be found in acceptance, forgiveness of others

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord (Isaiah 55:8).

Tease photo

JAMES BEHRENS: Lent a time for us to grow closer to the grace of God

Many of the parables of Jesus use examples He took from nature to stress the nature and importance of the human heart. It is not merely an organ that wondrously pumps blood through the body, sustaining life.

Tease photo

JAMES BEHRENS: Nothing unusual about yoga retreat at the monastery

Nothing unusual about a yoga retreat at the monastery.

Tease photo

JAMES BEHRENS: Monk shared much love with those passing through monastery doors

One of the first monks I met when I came here in 1994 was Brother William. He worked and lived in the retreat house.

Tease photo

JAMES BEHRENS: Lent ushers in a rich season, full of opportunity

Ash Wednesday arrived very early this year. The church sets aside these weeks of Lent in order to prepare for Easter. It is a time of penance, renewal and new beginnings.

Tease photo

JAMES BEHRENS: Find joy by sharing the light of God with others

Karl Rahner, the late German theologian, delivered a lecture on the Trinity. After the lecture, he opened the floor to questions.

Tease photo

JAMES BEHRENS: God can lead us to a love that is all-embracing, inclusive of others

God can lead us to a love that is all-embracing. Anita and Joe raised seven kids -- Joe, Mark, Diane, Cynthia, Patti, Carolyn and Lisa. I know them well and still keep in touch with them.

Prev