Monasteries of the Heart

Old Monk's Journal

Journal Entry 161

In an interview, Wendell Berry wonders
why we don’t have a gross earth product
that counts the number of trees and the
apples since our lives depend on things
of the earth. Why celebrate a rising
gross national product when we should be
mourning a declining gross earth product?
He notes that we wring our hands over trade
deficit yet it pales when compared to
earth deficit. Berry’s words make Old Monk
wonder why we don’t have a gross kindness
product or gross compassion product that counts

Journal Entry 160

When writing about saints, theologian Walter Burghardt wrote, “Touch men and women like these and you will touch the stars, you will touch God.”

This week we celebrate All Saints Day, a time to honor those who mirror the Divine. I have a personal litany of saints, men and women, whose touch “struck me to the ground,” so intense, dazzling and radiant was their inner light.

Journal Entry 159

This haiku appears every time I wrestle with the issue of dignity and the poor.

the homeless man
takes off his shoes before
his cardboard house
-Penny Harter

Journal Entry 158

It was the last session of the annual Reader’s Retreat with Joan Chittister and she called on one of the women to read aloud from the book we were discussing. The woman opened her mouth to read but instead began to weep. Sister Joan waited. And waited. But the woman continued a cry. After a few minutes Sister Joan kindly prodded, “I feel there is something important you could tell the rest of the group. Give it a try.” Through chocked sobs the woman said, “Awakening…I am awakening.”

Journal Entry 157

Old Monk still has it. Growing up I was the one in the neighborhood that beat up bullies and protected all the little kids. So naturally that’s how the stories were told back to me: Mary Lou is the protector. Kind of a fearless one, too. I would go after any boy, no matter his size, fists swinging. And I usually won.

The trouble is that I’m now in my 70s and still have the mindset of that 10-year-old girl. So much for years of lectio and self-reflection!!! I still think I can walk up to any guy and deck him if he’s doing something wrong.

Journal Entry 156

Here’s a list of books that I’ve finished in the summer months…so far.

Journal Entry 155

It is 6:39 a.m. on Tuesday July 11 and
even though the sky is gray I am celebrating
the feast of Saint Benedict who was rather
gray himself with all his talk about moderation,
as if life was a gift to tippy-toe through
rather than streak across like a
bolt of lightning.
++

Journal Entry 154

This winter I subscribed to an excellent literary journal, Poetry East, and the first issue that arrived in the mail was devoted to food. Poems on food. Great art on food. Quotes on food
I read it slowly every morning, savoring every mouthful.

Journal Entry 153

I’m reading David Steindl-Rast: Essential Writings, a Benedictine monk whom I greatly admire. I’m trying to be careful that I don’t copy most of his writings into my commonplace book. But this morning I did copy this thought from an interview he gave on reciting the Jesus prayer. Brother David said:

Journal Entry 152

I love theatre and I’ve been fortunate to see a few plays in New York, Toronto, Niagara on the Lake, London, Chautauqua Institution, and at our own Erie Playhouse, of course. A couple of these plays were award-winning and a handful are labeled “classics.”

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Old Monk's Journal