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James Behrens

Stories by James

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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JAMES BEHRENS: Springtime renews our hope in Jesus

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

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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JAMES BEHRENS: Nothing unusual about yoga retreat at the monastery

Nothing unusual about a yoga retreat at the monastery.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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JAMES BEHRENS: God thrives on our individuality

We all have different likes and dislikes. I like handwriting. I like using a pen and paper.

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JAMES BEHRENS: Give Christ's love away to others and watch it return to yourself

The story of the Magi resonates with spiritual aspirations all over the world. Pilgrims who make their way to religious sites are part of the history of many, if not all, religious traditions.

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JAMES BEHRENS: God loves us, through others, until the day we die

Jesus knew the toll that weariness can exact on the human spirit. Tiredness of heart can slowly drain the human heart of the life force it needs to beat confidently through life.. Weariness afflicts the old and the young.

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JAMES BEHRENS: Strive to live each day in the present, grateful for the past and future

Many of the Christmas cards I received contained handwritten notes lamenting the speed with which time flies.

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JAMES BEHRENS: Live each day as best you can -- it could be your last

There are stories in the news these days about the soon-to-be end of the world.

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JAMES BEHRENS: As monks age, they enter into a realm of sainthood

When I was in graduate school, I had a vague sense of discomfort that grew and nagged at me as the years passed.

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JAMES BEHRENS: Find time to express gratitude during the hectic holiday season

In Walker Percy's "The Message in the Bottle" there is an essay titled, "The Man on the Train." The man is a long-time commuter, riding the same train every morning, to the same job he has had for years. The routine has deeply settled him into the realm of ordinariness. He is a man of habit, going through the same routines every day, year after year.

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JAMES BEHRENS: The ordinary becomes extraordinary with the grace of God

Patti, who is our retreat house secretary, was telling me a few days ago about last Christmas. Her brother Libby was here and they were standing on the porch of the retreat house kitchen.

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JAMES BEHRENS: Talents shared, respected leads us closer to God

Earlier today I was walking down the hall on our third floor.

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JAMES BEHRENS: All Saints Day, All Souls Day allows us to contemplate life and death

There are two holy days in early November. In a sense, they sum up the feast that is given us every day of our lives.

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JAMES BEHRENS: Whether our good deeds are far-reaching or simple, they exemplify God

I knew a woman who loved rescue operations.

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JAMES BEHRENS: Faith is a part of us, even when we're not pondering the mysteries of it

The monastery is a place that offers a hope of a contemplative approach to God, with the added hope that he is somehow found.

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JAMES BEHRENS: Technology and the written word can hamper our ability to see God

There are times when I wonder about what price we paid as a species when we moved onto the shores of literacy.

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JAMES BEHRENS: Acceptance, encouragement, hope -- things we all need but cannot get without each other

I enjoy the people who come to our retreat house on the recovery retreats.

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JAMES BEHRENS: We are not the source of our salvation -- we need God

His name was Freddie Grunfelder. He was an old man who had problems and used to come by the rectory disheveled, unbidden and always desperate.

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JAMES BEHRENS: God gives us everything we need to get through life and come out shining

JAMES BEHRENS: God gives us everything we need to get through life and come out shining.

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JAMES BEHRENS: Life is delicate, fragile for all, not just the 'elderly'

I have long been a creature of habit. I think monastic living has reinforced that trait even more.This life is one of routine.

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JAMES BEHRENS: Prophets still live among us, fighting for justice, equality

The claim of Jesus that everyone in His midst were and are his brothers and sisters is a statement that can be taken as one of the most potentially explosive in the gospels.

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JAMES BEHRENS: Centenarian archbishop played vital role in church history with his can-do attitude

Recently, my brother emailed me a link to an article from the New Jersey Star-Ledger.

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JAMES BEHRENS: God gave us body language to communicate our love for one another

Not long ago, we participated in a three-day workshop here. Sister Lynn Levo, a specialist in human relationships, walked us through the highs and lows of human relationships.

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JAMES BEHRENS: God's hope lives even in those who deny Him

I suppose it is a deep seated wish that when we choose a life's path -- or we sense that we are called or invited to do so -- we hope that it is a good choice.

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JAMES BEHRENS: When we try to describe the mystery of God, our words fall short

During a recent retreat here, Eugene Hansell spoke of the passing life of words.

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JAMES BEHRENS: Seeds offer a window into the mystery of God

Big problems seemingly require big solutions. History has witnessed the growth of problems and their accompanying solutions. The times in which we live offer some very telling examples. Global warming, lasting peace, a cessation of violence, the elimination of poverty on a global scale -- these and more seem to

JEFF BEHRENS: The simple things are the most beautiful

My doctor told me that I should walk every day. In the heat of the summer, I could have done better. When I was in Manhattan recently, maybe I made up for it. I must have walked miles every day.. I love everything about Manhattan. You cannot walk 5 feet

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JEFF BEHRENS: We are big-time stars in God's ongoing drama

A legal size envelope arrived in the mail a few weeks ago. I looked at the return address label and it was from a woman I met in the retreat house a month or so ago.

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JEFF BEHRENS: We can be a blessing to those we love by sharing what we have

My Aunt Margaret and Uncle Jim lived in Brooklyn. Dad used to drive the seven of us kids and Mom over to see them when we were little kids. God knows how we all fit in the old Packard. We must have sat on each other's laps in the back seat and two little siblings sat in the front.

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JEFF BEHRENS: Salute to the good old days and the feasts yet to come

We celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and Augustine was the celebrant of the Mass. The feast was July 16. He gave a good homily, starting off by telling us how he grew up in the Southside of Chicago and was baptized in Our Lady of Mt. Carmel parish.

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JEFF BEHRENS: God gives his heart away over and over again, using every language

I know that there is a Sacred Heart parish in the Vailsburg section of Newark, N.J. It was once a large parish, with a cathedral sized church. The area fell on hard times and the church was closed a few years ago. In its day, not that many years ago, it was a thriving parish of mostly blue-collar families. The Vailsburg section was home to a lot of fireman and policeman. After the Newark riots in the 1960s, the area changed drastically and the church struggled for years until it was closed.

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