Monday, February 21, 2011


Click to read about Trappist breweries.

While I am away, I thought I would leave you with some links, should you happen to be curious about where I am going, who I will be with, and what I might be doing there. Enjoy.

I will be back next week. If it is your style, pray for me, as I will surely do for you. As always I remain

Respectfully Yours,


Thursday, February 17, 2011


Thomas Merton

Catholicism is not, perhaps, the most obvious choice for me. In fact, I am often forced to admit the many failings of the Church to live the faith it professes, even to the point of committing acts which can only be called evil. It is sad but it is so. There is no way around that.

Yet I still believe. If you would like to understand why, you can find my inspiration in the Trappists or, more precisely, the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance. When all else has failed me, they are still there, laboring in relative obscurity, largely untouched by the scandals of the modern world. They are still there, living lives of such radical, courageous commitment that I am in awe.

I suppose, in a way, that is their purpose: to remind the world that, yes, this can be done. Not one brother can call so much as a pencil his own. He has renounced the world and thereby gained the one thing that matters above all else. He has given himself without reservation to God and has received his own true self in return. It is possible; it can be done.

That is the lesson in every monk's vocation.

Next week I will be in the monastery myself: living with the monks, praying with them - hopefully, learning from them. They have not, as is popularly believed, taken a vow of silence, yet silence is encouraged. In silence, we can listen better. So we will keep silence and get about our business of listening.

Monastery retreat houses are usually filled months in advance. I have heard that the monks find comfort in this. As much as many of us look to them for inspiration, they see our interest in sharing their lives a validation of their calling: a sign that what they are doing is truly important.

The monks live, for the most part, anonymous lives outside their own community. They pray, they work, they pray some more: quite useless by most worldly standards, but this is no surprise. Why would the world understand the vocation of a monk? The monks are busy with their own work: praying for a world that has forgotten to pray for itself. They have given themselves without reservation to God. They show us it can be done.

What could be more important?

Respectfully Yours,


Monday, February 14, 2011

What It Is


My Valentine's Day wish for all of you. The picture says it all, doesn't it?

Respectfully Yours,


Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Photo stolen from blog-bud Andy.
Concept stolen from blog-bud Betty.

Winter is icummen in,
Lhude sing Goddamm,
Raineth drop and staineth slop
And how the wind doth ramm!
Sing: Goddamm.
Skiddeth bus and sloppeth us,
An ague hath my ham.
Freezeth river, turneth liver
Damn you, sing: Goddamm.
Goddamm, Goddamm, tis why I am,
So 'gainst the winter's balm
Sing Goddamm, damm, sing Goddamm
Sing Goddamm, sing Goddamm,

Ezra Pound


Hibernation... that's the only way I can explain it. I've been hibernating, mentally, if not physically. If I have not visited you, gentle reader, in ages, my apologies. I hope to change that soon. Be assured I have missed you all. I will leave you, for now, with one piece of solid advice: something I learned in my absence: try not to have backache and toothache on the same day. Really. Hopefully I will return soon with something more original. Even so, the above photo and poem suit both my mood and the weather in my neck of the woods. Enjoy. Until we meet again I remain, as always

Respectfully Yours,