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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Religion has been a lifelong source of many things for me. I spent nearly all my formative years in Catholic schools.
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.
Many of the first readings at our Masses these weeks are taken from the Acts of the Apostles.
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.
Spring renews our hope. Every spring brings with it the promise of new beginnings.
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.
Recently we had our annual retreat, and we enjoyed it.
No need to wait for God -- He's already here. I have taken a lot of photographs over the years.
A friend of mine practiced law. I used to enjoy chatting with him and his wife after Mass on Sunday mornings.
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord (Isaiah 55:8).
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.
Nothing unusual about a yoga retreat at the monastery.
One of the first monks I met when I came here in 1994 was Brother William. He worked and lived in the retreat house.
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.
Karl Rahner, the late German theologian, delivered a lecture on the Trinity. After the lecture, he opened the floor to questions.
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.
We all have different likes and dislikes. I like handwriting. I like using a pen and paper.
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.
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.
Many of the Christmas cards I received contained handwritten notes lamenting the speed with which time flies.
Christmas comes every year.
There are stories in the news these days about the soon-to-be end of the world.
When I was in graduate school, I had a vague sense of discomfort that grew and nagged at me as the years passed.
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.
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.
Earlier today I was walking down the hall on our third floor.
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.
I knew a woman who loved rescue operations.
The monastery is a place that offers a hope of a contemplative approach to God, with the added hope that he is somehow found.
There are times when I wonder about what price we paid as a species when we moved onto the shores of literacy.
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.
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.
JAMES BEHRENS: God gives us everything we need to get through life and come out shining.
I have long been a creature of habit. I think monastic living has reinforced that trait even more.This life is one of routine.
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.
Recently, my brother emailed me a link to an article from the New Jersey Star-Ledger.
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.
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.
During a recent retreat here, Eugene Hansell spoke of the passing life of words.
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
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
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.
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.
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.