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
our random acts of goodness and measures
our spiritual development as a people.

Elizabeth Lesser said
that the quest for spirituality
is an instinct like eating or sleeping.
She said religions were formed
to respond to the instinct, to know
that life has meaning, to know that everything
is connected, to fill us with childlike wonder
at the gift of life.
And Old Monk nodded her head in to total agreement.
Then she read a letter to the editor
in the morning paper and wonders
how it all goes wrong.
The letter writer describes herself as
a true Christian whose prayers were answered
when Trump was elected because
he will get rid of all immigrants, LGBTQ degenerates,
people who don’t stand during the national anthem,
abortion, and nations that are godless.
He is likened to the second coming. Now about
this instinct. Lesser, let’s talk.

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A blog by Mary Lou Kownacki
A personal journal captures what’s in the heart. Most of my adult life I’ve recorded my notes, brief reflections, poems, reactions to daily events in a journal. It is an ongoing source of monastic formation; the rich and raw material of life that helps shape my Monastery of the Heart. About a year ago, Old Monk began to appear on my journal’s pages. Mary Lou Kownacki, OSB, is the Monasteries of the Heart coordinator.

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