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What seems like a mouth full of gummy bears might actually have some importance for contemplative practice. Here is what came out of my Lectio Divina meditation on my 79th birthday. That in all things God be glorified. Listen to the poem in silence and solitude. Part of what it means to be a Lay Cistercian is a reverence for the word lower case that writers have for the Word upper case of God and how they interpret it. Cistercian authors advance the understanding of the Word by their words….

Here is one of my favorite prayers from Father M.

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Louis Thomas Merton , O. I do not see the road ahead of me.

I cannot know for certain where it…. Several people around me, myself included, have retired from a regular job. Retirement affects each individual differently. The big question seems to be, can I keep busy doing something that is meaningful to me. Had I placed my job at the center of my…. When was the last time you looked at those old wedding pictures? Blow off the dust and take a look at them again. They transport you back to a time when you celebrated something wonderful, your marriage with each other and your reliance on….

Here is a story that brings to mind all kinds of spiritual linkages. It is one that I heard from my wife, a true story that is happening in our days.


  1. The First Cistercian Spiritual Writers.
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When meditating on Philippians , this blue sky story led me to places…. Try to drink this cup of the Mystery of Faith! It is like concentrated orange juice—very tasty but strong. I had to address this in one of my Lectio Divina meditations Philippians I warn you, this is way out there out there is…. Do you remember the late Sen Ted Kennedy and Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wyoming debate in the early s?

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Respect for the office of President is lacking among lawmakers. Oh, did you look…. Making a retreat is one of those events where there are a thousand reasons not to go but only one good one to go— to grow in the capacity to move from self to God. Movement is a sign you are alive. You can…. Benedict composes a Rule d. What follows is an excerpt from my book on Learning How to Love…. The first time I attended the recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours a. While trying to stay awake…. There is no more challenging sign of contradiction of our Faith than that of the Church. At once, holy and sinful, one yet diverse, catholic yet individual, and apostolic and current in each age.

Bond plays against the bad guys. The thing I remember about it is that players can make various degrees of wagering. One in particular that has…. Once, there was a highly educated and refined woman, who wanted to become more spiritual. She began attending Eucharist almost every day. She was very happy when attending the meetings with those who also shared her Faith. The opportunity presented itself to attend a…. Maybe you have read my blog on Mean What You Say maybe not. Meaning what you say is about aligning your mind with the words you say.

An authority on Cistercian literature and history, she is a colleague and mentor to many scholars in monastic studies. She is also formidably insightful on Chaucer and helpful to students of medieval English literature at every level, and has recently retired. Now is the timne to recognize her many and exceptionally valuable contributions to the Congress.

Presentations, employing historical research and critical analysis, on issues and authors that have been central to Prof. McGinn is a world class scholar whose history of Christian mysticism now has reached eight volumes. The study of the Cistercian mystics is a separate work from the series but sums up decades of reading and research on monks and nuns in the Cistercian tradition.

A Lay Cistercian Looks at Spiritual Reality

Our knowledge about theories on lifestyle and theological anthropology in the formative period of the history of culture of the Western world. Along with being the form of life for an intellectual elite, monasticism was the structure of life for a moral elite. Thus, monasticism could be a first class Christian lifestyle whereas human life outside the wall of the monasteries was more remote from the heavenly salvation. Monasticism can be seen as an ambitious goal of intellectual and moral life and undoubtedly an important part of the history of the theological anthropology of the Western culture.

But the monastics of the time did also their own deeper reflections on the meaning of monastic life. The suggested panel seeks to deepen our knowledge of this obvious, but at times in modern research easily overlooked, phenomenon in medieval intellectual history. Scandinavia become Protestant in the 16th century and closed the Cistercian abbeys. Yet Cistercian influence is measurable in the Middle Ages and today.

The re-founding of the house at Tautra, Norway, in est. Religious, economic, and social Cistercian influence has not recently been addressed in Scandinavian or Cistercian scholarship. This panel would present recent scholarship on this by looking at the Cistercian presence and influence, 12th century through today. Economic, social, and cultural aspects of historical methodology—both medieval and contemporary—are encouraged. This panel will provide a focused examination of the role of the Song in works by Cistercian authors, identifying patterns and emphases that helped to shape Cistercian spirituality of the twelfth century and beyond.

Twelfth-century Cistercian authors of what is known as the Golden Age wrote prolifically for members of their rapidly growing communities and for clerics and students who might be drawn to join the Order. Perhaps writing with awareness of a need to appeal to adults with some sexual experience, they repeatedly wrote treatises and sermons on the most erotic of the biblical books, the Canticle of Canticles or Song of Songs. William of Saint-Thierry wrote three treatises on the Song, Geoffrey of Auxerre wrote a one-volume commentary on it, three other authors Bernard, Gilbert, and John wrote sermons commenting on it verse by verse, and other Cistercian authors such as Haimo of Auxerre and Aelred of Rievaulx incorporated passages of the Song into their treatises and sermons.

While the friendship tradition precedes Christianity by many centuries, the relationship between friendship and charity is a distinctly Christian question, one that monastic writers from John Cassian to Aelred of Rievaulx wrestled with, either implicitly or explicitly. The panel encourages a variety of approaches, but particularly welcomes close grammatical-rhetorical analysis of the texts within the Christian monastic tradition, both Eastern and Western.

John P.


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  • While the centrality of the biblical love poems of the Song of Songs in the writing of twelfth-century Cistercian writers is well-known, it neither emerged out of nowhere nor led to nothing. Rather, distinguished pre-Cistercian writers both Jewish and Christian had already explored the allegorical resonances of the Song, and it has continued to influence writers from the thirteenth through the twenty-first centuries. This panel will consider both the antecedents of twelfth-century Cistercian spiritual interpretations of the Song and its enduring significance in Christian thought and history.

    This panel is proposed In honor of Dom Dubois, celebrating his many contributions to the Order and the ways the Order developed during the late twentieth century. Cistercian authors are well known for using the emotional language and imagery of love and friendship as a model for the love of God and as a route to salvation. Their writing about the similar benefits of suffering and grief for those they love is less familiar. Benedictine monasticism was a pervasive influence in medieval culture.

    The Benedictine Reader presents more than 30 documents by and about medieval Benedictines including charters, letters, prayers, satires, reform documents and hagiography.

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    Befriending Silence: My Book on Cistercian Spirituality

    The panel of five or six individuals who teach medieval history, monastic history or related subjects in a university environment or Benedicting history in a monastic setting will discuss among themselves and the audience how to use this resource in the classroom. Corrections and additions May 1. You can download the program above and print a copy for your reference.

    Corrections and additions as of May 1, We no longer send out the schedule through the mail, but copies will be available at the conference.

    Befriending Silence: My Book on Cistercian Spirituality | Carl McColman

    If you are interested in attending the dinner, you have missed the initial deadline. All participants are expected to register for the Congress. Attendees of the Congress can also attend the Conference panels. From "this commerce and engagement in the world,"[28] Dom Mabillon would defend studies against the attacks of Rance.

    From our point of view it must be noted that there was a real desire to return to the sources. Saint Benedict's Rule was read, meditated, commented. Reference was made to it constantly. Its spirituality remained basically unchanged.

    A Mini Guide to Medieval Monks - Animated History

    The Maurists, for example, whom we always remember for their learning, were also prolific ascetical writers. Their spiritual treatises show that they knew much about the Fathers but that they failed to grasp their whole spirit. Their interior life had no roots in the theology of the Fathers, nor in the word of God.