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Via Vitae Way of Life Ben ed ictin e O bla tes of The World Community for Christian Meditation

Ÿ

We fulfil our destiny,

which in Christian lan-

guage is our vocation,

by glorifying God in all we do. But this is only realistically possible if we glorify God in all we are. Meditation

brings us to that unity of being fully alive in

which we glorify God, reflect God’s own

glory back to him, by

simply being who we are now.

The World Community for Christian Meditation

John Main OSB

Benedictine Oblate Newsletter No. 23, October 2017

A MESSAGE FROM LAURENCE FREEMAN

Reading the Rule of Benedict frequently reminds me of the mysterious way in which

apparent gospel contradictions can reveal marvellous paradoxes – and, so, release different aspects of the same truth that then further enrich and transform us.

In Matthew 11, Jesus touches our hearts with a kind and light touch when he invites all those who are weary with life to come to him, learn from his gentleness and humility, and accept his light yoke and easy burden. In any true lectio on this passage, we will probably be given a glimpse of what metanoia means. We change our lives and undergo conversatio morum in such a way that we feel an unspeakable relief in the face of the heaviest problems and crosses we have to carry in life. Daily existence acquires something of the incredible lightness of being. But then listen to Jesus speaking about following him in Mark 7. Here his tone is very different, sterner and less inclusive. The road that leads to life is narrow and only a few find it.

Benedict and the early monastic founders understood monastic commitment as a second baptism in which the true meaning of the Christian promises are re-discovered. Benedict warns of the hard challenges of this way of self-renunciation and emphasises the freedom we must feel when we commit ourselves to it. But then, he soon says, after an initial encounter with the hardness of discipline, we come to ‘run along the way of the Lord’s commands with an unspeakable sweetness of love.’ Maybe undertaking a contemplative practice is like starting to live the monastic life; they are each a re-baptism and re-discovery of what discipleship means. Because meditation creates community, we soon find ourselves inside a ‘school of the Lord’s service’. The Master of this School teaches each of us uniquely how we are to serve him and what kind of work we are called to undertake. Narrowness and expansion, discipline and lightness. We reflected on these paradoxes recently at Snowmass Monastery in Colorado when a group of younger contemplative teachers and scholars converged from the WCCM, Richard Rohr’s Center for Action and Contemplation, Thomas Keating’s Contemplative Outreach and Tilden Edward’s Shalem Institute. When the four ‘founders’ (though we were ambivalent about this description) met last year to discuss the work of contemplative wisdom today we agreed to invite five representatives of our communities or networks to explore the question in the light of the next generation. Two of our five were oblates. I felt equally proud of each of them for the way they participated and represented our own path

It was a most fruitful time of prayer and discernment, with a self-evidently deep and diverse group of twenty younger people committed strongly to the contemplative path and serving the Lord through it. It showed the vitality of the monastic path as a way of transmission but also the quite new ways in which it is already being transformed – so that tradition can be regenerated and we who are ‘students in the Kingdom’ can ‘bring forth things new and old’ from our inner rooms as a contemplative way of serving the global needs of our time.


Benedictine Oblate Newsletter No. 23, October 2017

LETTER FROM EILEEN DUTT International Oblate Coordinator

Dear Oblates and Friends

We live in a world that makes great demands on most of us. In every society now, stress and strain take their toll on the nervous resources of so many people.

he has given me whilst in the role. And so we move on, as we have to, to new beginnings!

Let me introduce our new NOC for Australia: Gloria Duffy. Welcome! I will let her introduce herself, in her own words:

One of the qualities that we as monks have tried to respond to is what St Benedict calls ‘stability’. In the Rule, St Benedict gives this stability as one of the principal objectives in the life of the person who would live their Christianity to the full. To be stable we need to be sure of ourselves. We need to be sure that we are standing on firm ground. We need to be sure, confident, that we would not be blown away by the first storm winds that come up. Meditation is a way to the stability, the stability which is the reality of our own being. What each of us needs is to be firmly anchored in our own reality. John Main OSB – The Hunger for Depth and Meaning, 7:14

At the time of writing I have just finished a special time of online meditation with Oblates from across USA, including Houston, Colombia and UK arranged by Mary Robison – WCCM-USA Oblate Coordinator – in response of those affected by the floods. At the end of the session, all agreed it would be good to continue these sessions at least for one week – now arranged. Geographically thousands of miles separated us but we were one, with One, in silence! And the same feeling of ‘one-ness’ imbues all online meditation, and cell meetings, which is why I am delighted that here in UK, from mid-September, we will be offering a daily time, including weekends, of online meditation in the early morning we hope at 07:30hrs. If you wish to learn more then can I suggest that you contact Robert Lalor lalorrobert@gmail.com who will be pleased to answer your questions.

“My name is Gloria Duffy, and I am an oblate of the Brisbane/Queensland community. Meditation has been a part of my life in one way or another for several decades. Initially in the Ignatian tradition but when I relocated from the Northern Territory to Queensland I joined a WCCM group, and subsequently I made my final oblation in 2011 at Monte Oliveto.”

Fourth Benedictine Oblate Congress in Rome 4th-10th November 2017. WCCM Oblate Community will be represented by: Julia Burdett (UK); Gloria Duffy (Aust.); Angela Greenwood (UK); Henriette Hollaar (Resident Oblate from Holland); Elba Rodriguez (Colombia); Ray & Vicky Lamb (UK); Xiao Xiao (China) and myself. An excellent representation of our worldwide community. Please hold this in your prayers.

Staying with online meetings. Sunday 22nd October at 20.00hrs Fr. Laurence will be joining National Oblate Coordinators (NOC) online. My hope is that these meetings will not only help strengthen existing bonds between NOC but also new connections will form particularly between experienced NOC’s and any who are new to the role, and all my ‘points of contact’ in countries where our numbers are small. In future these meetings will take place three times a year. Way to go! Since the last issue of Via Vitae there has been a change of NOC for Australia. I was very sorry to hear from Terence O’Donnell (Terry) that he no longer felt he could carry on in the role as NOC for Australia as it was conflicting with his work - a professional artist Terry is currently working on two major commissions for Churches in Sydney – but I do understand his position and I am very grateful for the support

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With my love and prayers Eileen Dutt International Oblate Coordinator Contact: eduttobl@btinternet.com

Table of Contents

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Message from Fr Laurence ......................................1 Letter from Eileen Dutt .............................................2 Editorial – Stefan Reynolds .......................................3 In Memoriam John Cottling.......................................3 Articles .......................................................................4 Annual UK Oblate Event info......................................8 News (Argentina, China, UK, Canada, USA)...............9 Poem “Seasons” Victor Resendiz ...........................13 Book Review: Living with the Mind of Christ .........14 Poem “Really Listen” Jeffrey Symynkywicz...........15


Benedictine Oblate Newsletter No. 23, October 2017

A lot of new countries have WCCM Benedictine Oblates now. Argel Tuason is the new Co-ordinator for the Philippines, Elba Rodriguez for Colombia, Saralee Turner for Singapore, Christopher Mendonca for India, Imogen Hassan for France, Catherine Charriere for Switzerland and Xiao Xiao Augustine Stefan Reynolds for China. Henriette Hollaar is now Coordinator for the Resident Oblates in the London Meditatio House but soon to be at Bonnevaux. Eileen Dutt now shares UK Co-ordinating with Angela Greenwood, Julia Burdett and Ray & Vicky Lamb. Alongside International Co-ordinator she also looks after countries where Oblate communities are just beginning.

EDITORIAL

Another new step, as Eileen says, is that National Oblate Coordinators and Contacts will have tri-annual on-line meetings with Fr. Laurence. And, in some countries, there are now on-line meditation meetings and Oblate Cell meetings, especially two groups now offered for Spanish speaking meditators. It would be great to offer more of these groups in Chinese, French, German, Italian… to name but a few! So language speakers from all over the world can join in. Also to keep in your prayers the 2017 International Oblate Congress; many WCCM Oblates are going. The theme of Congress is: “What does it mean to be an oblate in the 21st Century? Formed by the Rule of St Benedict, what is our responsibility for our broken world? How can we act as peacemakers in the face of war, terrorism, refugee crises and religious fanaticism?”

This year in the UK we lost one of the original Oblates initiated by John Main, John Cottling.

In Memoriam: John Cottling

by Graham Williams & Stefan Reynolds

In February 2017 John Cotling passed away, at the age of 87. A warm hearted, kind and wise man, with a great sense of humour, he was the originator of Christian Meditation groups in and around the Manchester area in the UK. When John sent off for the original Christian Meditation audio tapes by John Main in the 1970's, he was a little sceptical. However, once he heard them, he said, he knew that he had found an authentic spiritual teacher. And John spent the rest of his life dedicated to this path. With the encouragement of John Main, John Cotling started the first lay Christian Meditation groups in the UK – the same year as John Main left for Canada, in 1977. Over the years, since then, John set up, and ran, many weekly Christian Meditation groups, as well as a monthly group and regular retreats. He was actively involved in this work right up to the time he passed away. John loved discussing, learning and teaching on spiritual matters. He read broadly, and listened to many teachers, including John Main, Eckhart Tolle, James Allen, Bede Griffiths and Eknath Easwaran. He also had the privilege of meeting, in person, some great spiritual teachers including John Main, Bede Griffiths and the Dalai Lama. John used to tell a story of how he was driving the Dalai Lama, one cold UK morning. The Dalai Lama was sat, with his aide, in the back of John's Volvo. His holiness turned to his interpreter and said something in Tibetan to indicate that he was cold. John saw this in his rear view mirror, turned round and asked if he wanted the heating turned up. The Dalai Lama looked very surprised and asked his aide if John spoke Tibetan! No… John was simply someone who knew what others were feeling and knew when he could help.

For many years John worked for St Vincent de Paul alongside running his own business. He was also an early WCCM Benedictine Oblate. John lived for the last 13 years with his long term friend, and fellow Oblate, Sheila Wood. With the support of Sheila, he felt these years were a happy retreat. This had given him much time to meditate, to reflect on, and to contemplate his favourite subject - meditation and spiritual awakening. In turn, John was always keen to share, and to pass on his wisdom to others around him – although he would be too modest to say this himself. Over the last forty years, John has introduced many people to Christian Meditation, and he has changed many people's lives. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him. A great, humble man.

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My Oblate Mentor

by Angela Gregson

John was a member of the St Vincent de Paul Society and lived out the Rule regarding care of the poor. That was where I first met John. For Many years he was Manchester Central Council’s Twinnage Rep. (Conferences in the better off countries twin with conferences in India, Sudan & Romania, they send money on a regular basis, correspond with each other and pray for each other.) He was an avid reader of books of Spirituality from all the Religious Traditions. Finally, John spoke from his own experience and lived out of the depths of his heart. Benedictine Oblate Newsletter No. 23, October 2017

John was firmly rooted in the teachings and practice of Christian Meditation as taught by John Main. He stayed at the Monastery in Montreal for 3 months on 2 occasions. He used to quote something that Dom John had said to him frequently “there are no limitations except the ones you impose on yourself.” Whenever I panic and ‘think’ I can’t do this or that, I recall and repeat that to myself. John started the first lay-led meditation group in the UK in Manchester Sept 1977 and went on over the years to start a number of others most of which are still active today. He was the Regional Coordinator for Manchester, which later included Merseyside (when they had no Coordinator), as far as I know, from when Regional Coordinators first came into being until 2008 when I succeeded him. He attended every group on a weekly basis and listened to John Mains talks daily. He said to me on many occasions that after listening to them for 30+ years he still heard something new each time. He set up a monthly Meditation meeting on the last Saturday of each month for anyone who wished to come but particularly for those who couldn’t find a group near them or at a time they could attend, and for the group leaders so that they could share with each other any difficulties they might be having.

John was my mentor on the Oblate path, he was a very special person who spoke from his personal experience. He was a man who lived and walked in God’s presence. One of John’s Favourite Prayers

He set-up his home in Sale as a Centre for Christian Meditation and it was dedicated as such by Fr Laurence. John gave all his attention to whoever he was in conversation with and if anyone was being critical of someone else he would listen attentively but say nothing in reply. If he didn’t see one of the regulars at a meeting for some weeks he would telephone them to see if they were alright. The same if he knew someone was having any difficulties. He welcomed anyone who knocked into his home and gave them his time and attention. I stayed overnight on several occasions at his home before we were heading off to a talk in London or elsewhere and before our Oblate Days. He led an Oblate Cell for many years and was a Mentor.

Namaste I honour in you that place in you where the Lord resides And when you are in that place in you And I am in that place in me Then there is only one of us.

ARTICLES by Laura Waters, Oblate USA A recent online oblate cell meeting coincided with the Feast day of St. Benedict, July 11th. In our meeting, Mary Robison shared two readings with our group – one from John Main’s Silence and Stillness in Every Season, and a chapter from the Rule of St. Benedict.

DISCRETION (In the Margins of Divine Mystery)

“(Benedict’s) understanding of the Christian life as a commitment to ordinary reality rooted in the contemplative experience has inspired, and continues to inspire, people in many different walks of life and following different vocations to the one God. I remember some years ago hearing an old monk quoting a description of monastic generosity

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that seemed to be wonderfully apt: ‘on things of no account an unaccountable zeal bestowing’. It is the particular that reveals the universal, and a commitment to perfection in all we do for its own sake that enables us to leave ourselves behind.

The genius of Benedict’s vision is that whereas this approach could so easily become fanatical, he renders it human, compassionate and tolerant – truly Christian. The enduring power of this vision is its humanity. So often a religious vision of life can lose its human focus, but for Benedict it was through the humanity of Jesus and our own humanity that we enter the divine mystery.” (John Main, The Present Christ)


The reading from the Rule was chapter 33 – Monks and Private Ownership. Verse 6, based on Acts 4:32, in which the believers are of one heart and mind, bore particular significance: All things should be the common possession of all, as it is written, so that no one presumes to call anything his own.

After the readings and meditation, oblates shared how othercenteredness manifests in real life. I was so moved by their experiences, our community of love, and the wisdom and grace of our Creator, that the flow of tears was continuous, lasting long after the meeting was over and the computer was turned off. I spent a while in fluid silence, reflecting on the intricate interlacing of our community and how multiple elements come together to form a beautiful tapestry of love and compassion, of contemplation and action. I was prompted to share the following reflection:

A compunction of heart made speaking a rather tenuous endeavor during this morning's community time. I became aware of my own situation regarding searching for a balance between what I earn, what I give, and who I am. As I watch peers and siblings buy, consume, and enjoy the financial fruits of their labor, it becomes increasingly clear that I unwittingly took a vow of poverty ten years ago when Christ called me out of darkness. I am thankful for it, although I continue to struggle to make ends meet, and here I sit with a Master's degree. But

OF SHEEP AND THE JOURNEY OF AN ITINERANT MONK by Elba Rodríguez, Colombia

My name is Elba, I am an Oblate Novice from Colombia. Like a few solo oblates and novice oblates in other countries, I keep connected to the WCCM community through online meditation groups and online oblate cells. I am currently an online coordinator for two Spanish-speaking groups, a project that grew out of the encouragement of fellow oblate meditators in the WCCM chapel in order to make online meditation available in other languages. It has been a wonderful experience to share Christian Meditation with people from Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia and Mexico. I also belong to a team of volunteer translators and transcribers to the advent and lent

Benedictine Oblate Newsletter No. 23, October 2017

something extraordinary and non-negotiable continuously offers itself - the grace of God, the space and time to grow more Christ-like, and opportunities to contribute my own time and God-given gifts as directed and called. These non-negotiables are priceless. I believe all human beings have the right to a livable wage, but equity, unfortunately, is a rare value in today's world.

After I listened to our community members reflect on the readings, I remembered that my own geographical community in coastal Georgia has a growing homeless population. Recent discussions with a friend revealed that residents of St. Simons Island – a posh resort area in my county – have been phoning the police when a homeless person is spotted on the island. The police pick up the homeless and carry them across the bridge into the city of Brunswick, surreptitiously removing them from the over-populated and much-inflated island of gated communities, expensive boutiques, and manicured lawns. Most of these island residents have a tremendous financial surplus that, if donated to helping and supporting the needs of the whole community, would be money invested in humanity instead of money wasted on individual wealth in the form of new cars, big houses, and over-priced private education for their children.

At our Chicago retreat in June, Father Laurence spoke about discretion being the mother of all virtues. Kim Nataraja's weekly teaching on the WCCM website July 9th echoes Fr. Laurence's words. Kim elaborates on John Cassian's conferences, which often stress the importance of discretion, defined as “the spiritual gift of recognising whether thoughts and deeds come from the ego or from Divine insight.” Discretion, then, is a large part of how we live through the humanity of Jesus. Being "other-centered" is an assault on our egos, and a beautiful and necessary one. It places us – at least – in the margins of divine mystery. messages, Meditatio and Via Vitae newsletters and Meditatio talks. It did not take long for me to realize that each of us either finds hidden personal meaning or is transformed in some enigmatic ways by the words we translate.

A few weeks ago, I was translating one of the older talks by Fr. Laurence to make it available to a wider Spanish speaking community. As I was typing I had to take a break to think about the words in front of me and how they contrasted or integrated the monastic archetypes and what they represented in this stage of my journey. The ideas I was transcribing talked about Jesus finding us, the lost sheep, of God being in a more constant search for us than we are for him. On the other hand, there is this monastic archetype in each one, a deep

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human hunger for meaning and for seeking God. At the beginning of the Rule we find an invitation: “Receive willingly and carry out effectively your loving father's advice, that by the labor of obedience you may return to Him from whom you had departed by the sloth of disobedience.” Benedict depicts the monastic life as a constant search for God based on the teachings of Christ. Without the balance provided by prayer, work and a community to share the fruits, this search would be incomplete in this perspective. I interpreted both contrasting positions as being constantly closed or open to listen to the Will of God.

The Rule has posed many questions to me since I started reading it last November. I have also found hard truths to confront. It has spoken to me in many ways but in this particular case of the lost sheep, I clearly identified with the image of a modern self-sufficient gyrovague, something Benedict would condemn: always on the move, they never settle down, and are slaves to their own wills and gross appetites. In every way they are worse than the sarabaites. It is better to keep silent than to speak of all these and their disgraceful way of life (RB 1:11-12). I found this humorous of course to say the least; however, I had no stability and even spiritually spent some time looking in other ways. As an uprooted coastal engineer, where there was sea and sand, I was ready to go. I have worked in four different countries away from my home country and at the offing of something better I would jump without thinking; working, traveling and learning new languages were priorities. Laying roots and creating community were not priorities. Many things have happened since I came back to Colombia for what I thought it was a “short break” from work. One of the most valuable experiences was to retake the path of meditation, to connect with WCCM and to find out about the oblate path as a way to deepen my practice, satiate my longing for God and to learn about the meaning of a community of love. Stability has meant several things besides not desiring the next best thing in a job or a move to a better place; it has also meant that I have found a sense of peace and rootedness in the big and small daily activities and in what I am currently facing. I am enjoying being more present to whatever is happening and meditation has played a big role in this transformation.

Benedictine Oblate Newsletter No. 23, October 2017

In moving up the scale from what is the archetype of a fourthgrade objectionable and itinerant monk to a first-grade cenobite without walls has meant that the listening skills and the responsiveness to others and to God has improved somehow. The practice of silence and prudence has been a door to effectively understand the vow of obedience. Conversion is something that I have experienced in small leaps and to me it is inherent with the commitment to be open to the Scriptures, to the Rule and to the discipline of prayer. Serving the Spanish speaking community has been an unexpected way to find meaning, harmony and interconnection with everything else I have integrated so far. A few days after I had finished the translations that took me to ponder on the Rule, I got in touch with a friend who lives in Switzerland. In the middle of our talk I listened to a distinctive background sound. I had spoken to her many times before and that was my first time hearing such melody. I asked her if it was windy outside because I was listening to the sound of wind chimes. She replied: oh no, there is no wind; I live in the countryside and that is the bells sound of a large sheep flock grazing near my house. I was astounded with the answer; bells, sheep grazing, and now back in my mind were the parable of the lost sheep and the Rule. Those sound and images were taking shape inside of me and I smiled silently before continuing with the conversation. In the evening of that same day, it was June 9th, the welcoming, meditation and compline in the first US Oblate Retreat held in the Cenacle Sisters Retreat Centre in Chicago was available for live streaming. As I entered the room (or our online chapel) and greeted other online participants, something caught my attention. Seeing several organizers and members in their distinctive oblate path wearing their respective crosses conveyed the image of bells hanging from the neck of the sheep so they can be easily found. My wandering mind started to muse about the two unrelated events: Are not we the sheep that have found their way back or have been brought back home and are now gathered there either live or at a distance? Are perhaps the sheep a reminder to portray the humility, obedience and responsiveness, some of the traits described by St. Benedict in the Rule? They were perhaps also telling me that through the mantra Jesus was bringing me back to love, peace and stability every time my thoughts strayed during meditation. And the bells . . . aren´t they also a reminder of our constant call to sing our mantra and to nurture our soul, to call out on Christ to assist us, to let him know we are present? And yet there are many thoughts but it was important to come back and be present to the events that were to take place that evening. During the second day of the retreat there were seven or eight additional online participants joining from other parts of the world including Ecuador and Australia to witness the recep-

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tion of seven novices, followed by the celebration of mass and meditation. During mass Fr. Laurence received the final vows of three oblates. He reminded us that our meditation is entirely Trinitarian (that day was the celebration of the feast of the Holy Trinity) and reminded us of how meditation weaves all other areas of our lives. With the sounds of the gong calling for a deeper encounter through meditation with

Benedictine Oblate Newsletter No. 23, October 2017

Jesus, in the Spirit to the Father, I had the pleasant feeling of belonging; that I am not lost, not wandering anymore because through love I am continually found and as I am found my longing for God kindles inside a hunger to continue letting go of old ways and opening up to the infinite Love. Elba Rodríguez, elbarsan@gmail.com

previous Catholic community back in 2009 and take the courage to embark on a spiritual search for myself. A self which my old community could not fully accept as I am. I was in a literal “solitude” which Fr Laurence in one of his talks described as discovering and embracing one’s own uniqueness. But the journey was not a sweet one for me. I felt wounded, alone and rejected by the Church. It felt like I was in exile. I was jumping from one community to another. I was seeking and searching for a community I can call my own, a community who would accept me fully as I am.

delivered by Argel Tuason on May 31, 2017 The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Assumption College Chapel, Makati City, Philippines

MY FINAL OBLATION SPEECH

“All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ, who said: ‘I was a stranger and you welcomed me’ (Mathew 25:35). Proper honor must be shown ‘to all, especially to those who share our faith’ (Gal. 6:10) and to pilgrims.

Once guests have been announced, the prioress or abbot and the community are to meet them with all the courtesy of love. First of all, they are to pray together and thus be united in peace, but prayer must always precede the kiss of peace because of the delusions of the devil.”

(Rule of Benedict 53)

Today I am able to joyfully ask, “How is it that the mother of the Lord has come to me? How is it?” I find it serendipitous that the day of my final oblation fell on The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I was not close to her before: maybe because I was not close to my own mom. My relationship with Mary before was too cerebral. But I secretly implored her help in dire and impossible situations. That’s why I am able to say that I was a closet Marian!

Looking back, I realized that God had always been at home in me and it was I who took a walk outside (Meister Eckhart). In 2013, God has found me, the World Community for Christian Community has found me. I was a stranger – unique, different, gay and Catholic – and you, WCCM, welcomed me. I was naked – vulnerable and wounded – and you clothed me with your embrace, recognition and respect for my sexuality and dignity as a child of God. You were true to the spirit of what we always pray worldwide as we end our meditation, “May this group be a true spiritual home for the seeker, a friend for the lonely, a guide for the confused. May those who pray here be strengthened by the Holy Spirit to serve ALL who come and receive them as Christ himself.”

Lately though, around the time that I expressed my intention to make my final oblation, I got intensely close to her. My relationship to her has slowly become relational and I would say mystical. Maybe she has been there all along and her motherly presence and friendship. Maybe I was not just paying attention. I can now say that she has truly been an Oblate companion to me, hidden companion at that.

This truly Benedictine hospitality which was extended to me and I experienced, through the Community, I am extending to others, to ALL regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity, HIV status, socio-economic status, belief or non-belief, whether you’re a prisoner or not, addict or not, and other labels and illusory walls we tend to put up between us preventing us from “receiving potential guests and friends into our lives as Christ himself.”

That’s why now I am able to exclaim with Mary that “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.”

I am sensing that day by day Jesus is personally calling me as an Oblate “to serve ALL who come and receive them as Christ himself.” And those who are on the margins, those who are on the “other side” have a special place in my heart, because as Fr Laurence said in one of his talks, “Monasticism, by its very nature, like Jesus, is marginal.”

How is it that the mother of the Lord has come to me in this very grace-full and grace-filled moment in my spiritual journey? As if she would like to assist me (like she did with her cousin Elizabeth), to be fully present to me as I carry something new leaping with joy within me! As I gradually give birth to the Christ within me in the womb of my new Benedictine Oblate family!

I had my dark night of the soul when I decided to leave my

I commit myself, my heart to this Monastery the way I personally understand and experience it – Without Walls that divide “us versus them,” “gay versus straight,” and “insiders versus outsiders.”

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Argel Tuason, argel.tuason@gmail.com


My Vocation as Oblate by Polly Schofield, Canadian Oblate Coordinator, Archivist to the WCCM

The day I made my promises to Father John in front of our young Montreal community remains one of the happiest of my life.

I was one of the first Canadian Oblates in Dom John Main’s monastery. At my oblation Father John did an extraordinary thing; he took the cross he wore from around his neck (the silver ‘Crux Potens’ Father Laurence inherited) and put it around mine. I wore it all that day…… People often ask me what makes oblates different from other meditators. One is not better than the other – we all meditate. The only difference is that oblates chose to embrace the monastic ideal – promising to live by the rule of Saint Benedict. We are, as oblates, the heart of the World Community of Christian Meditators – ours is a monastic life in the world – our monastery is without walls.

‘It takes one good man or woman to change the world – one candle to disperse the darkness.’ Father John had such faith – such joy! He constantly reminded us of our infinite potential and of our direct access to God. ‘The Spirit who raised Christ from the dead dwells in your heart and mine’. It is difficult to put into words the joy, the positive energy and the radiating goodness that fueled our lives in those early years of the Montreal Priory. We all felt it. We all knew it. It was enough to have lived it only once – even if it did not last. Having experienced it, one knows that it is always possible. The knowledge of this experience is engraved in my heart, giving me strength and balance to go out and be leaven in my own small way.

Benedictine Oblate Newsletter No. 23, October 2017

Father John was never concerned with numbers. Community already exists simply by meditating together. It is never about numbers – it is about one’s fidelity. ‘If a thousand people come to your meditation group, Polly, don’t take any credit. It has nothing to do with you. If no one comes, don’t take any blame – AS LONG AS YOU ARE THERE’. How often I have thought of his words, while meditating in Palliative Care – with patients, staff and families, or some times with only a dead body in the room. ‘Just be faithful to your daily meditation, and people will be drawn to you – they will come’. One does not need to proselytize – Father John never did. He spoke of meditation when called upon to teach – otherwise we meditated. ‘It’s caught, not taught’.

His main concern was that the simplicity of the teaching would be eroded, and it would be complicated – losing its austere simplicity. ‘Do not complicate the teaching – keep it absolutely simple’. The ‘naked intent’ is what he really cared about. This is the true monastic prayer that he lived – that he taught. In his teaching of meditation he said this over and over again. Do not talk about your own experience. He never did. Do not read books about meditation for the first 20 years or so, but meditate. Read the New Testament and the Rule. The few texts he recommended were The Cloud of Unknowing, Cassian, and Julian of Norwich. ‘If you’re strapped for time, just meditate’. God dwells in the heart of all beings – ‘thy God dwells in thy heart’ – and we all have direct access. All we need is to learn to be silent, and the discipline of the mantra is the way into that silence – that opens into infinite love.

Father John never prayed for anything, but kept all in his heart – as I do you.

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Sat 11th Nov & Sun 12th 10am for 10.30 finishing around 4pm

led by

Monastery of Christ our Saviour

IT IS NECESSARY TO BOOK AS PLACES ARE LIMITED, EVEN IF YOU DO NOT REQUIRE ACCOMMODATION.

Jack's Lane Turvey. Beds. MK43 8DH

Cockfoster's Cell — Saturday Fr. Laurence Freeman — Sunday The week-end is open to all. Suggested donation of £15 per person per day or £25 per person for the week-end. A £10 non-refundable deposit is requested to confirm your booking. Contact Angela Gregson either by text message with "Oblate Weekend" to 07792 083 942 or by email to rydal 2814@yahoo.co.uk or tel: 01706 563 024 —8—


Benedictine Oblate Newsletter No. 23, October 2017

NEWS From Marina Müller, Argentina

The news from Argentina are that we had already our 2nd retreat in the Oblation way, in the same Trappist nun´s monastery as last year, and there we had the final oblation of 2 new Oblates, Norberto Ramírez and Rosa Casco, and one more Novice, Luis Álvarez. And on July 2 we have a new Postulant, Aracely Ornelas Duarte. Also, Raúl Pavón Coral from Quito, Ecuador, who is being mentored by me, entered Noviciate in a Skype ceremony on July 1. He was accompanied by Fr. Alex Barahona, his spiritual director, the National Coordinator of Ecuador, Raúl Guzmán, and two other meditators, Mónica Herrera and María del Carmen Silva. We have a strong support from the community of Trappist nuns and Fr. Augustine to follow the WCCM Oblation way. We are all very happy to walk this spiritual path.

From Augustine Xiao, China

The morning of May 27th 2017, St. Jude church, North Point Hongkong, Joseph Pang, during his final Oblation mass, officially joined the Benedictine Oblate Community. He was also the first Benedictine Oblate of WCCM in Hongkong. The day of the ceremony by Fr. Laurence Freeman, Coordinator of Hongkong Lina Lee and Coordinator of Hongkong Celina Chan, Joseph Pang's Mentor Augustine Xiao attended the mass.

In the Trappist monastery, with Fr. Augustine Roberts (he came from the U.S. to begin the Trappist male monastery some decades ago and now is the chaplain of the female Trappist monastery where we had the retreat). From left to right: Norberto Ramírez, Marina Müller, Luis Alvarez, Juana Paez, Rosa Casco and Fr. Augustine.

The afternoon of May 26th 2017, Fr. Laurence and the meditation groups went to the Diocese of Hongkong to visit his eminence Cardinal Tong who retires July this year. Fr. Laurence thanked Cardinal Tong for his support of WCCM for the past ten years and invited the Cardinal to continue to serve as guardian of WCCM.

Raúl Pavón Coral entering Noviciate with Fr. Alex Barahona and other meditator.

Whenever we discover ourselves acting as an instrument of the Word, it is when we know ourselves directed by the Spirit. And to know this is to have seen our own spirit. L John Main —9—


Benedictine Oblate Newsletter No. 23, October 2017

Sandy Cutts (UK Oblate)

Quarterly Oblate Day 29th July at Meditatio Centre The photograph (below) of our gathering (kindly taken by Fr. James, who is currently staying in the house at Cloudsley Square) gives a good sense of the lively, joyful feel of the Oblate Day on 29th July. As well as a full programme, the day allowed plenty of opportunity for discussion and getting to know each other over refreshments and lunch. Eileen opened our meeting by encouraging us all to try out the online meditation groups that are being set up for meditators in the UK.

At our last meeting, we joined an online oblate cell to welcome Elba from Columbia as a novice oblate, so we have

UK NATIONAL OBLATES RETREAT DOUAI ABBEY MARCH 24th-26th 2017 by Pam Connolly (UK Oblate)

A weekend where the divine met with the human, and the sacred with the ordinary. We were reminded, as we joined with the brothers in chanting the words of Psalm 145 at evening prayers, (and distracted by the stress of travel and the cares of the world) to put our trust in the Lord: My soul give praise to the Lord. I will praise the Lord all my days, Make music to my God while I live. Put no trust in princes, in mortal men in whom there is no help. Take their breath away and they return to clay and their plans that day, come to nothing. Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob Whose hope is in the Lord their God. (Psalm 146 v 1-4)

The Divine Office is chanted 5 times each day in Latin by the Douai monks. They walk together into this awe inspiring Abbey church, a majestic symbol of the community’s faith in God and of their trust in Him to lead it into the future. It is indeed a sacred space. But far more than bricks and mortar

already had a taste of the potential of such groups for providing community. Eileen also reminded us of the upcoming Oblate Congress in Rome in November, and those of us who will be attending spent some time planning for that. We were joined for the day by Chris Hurley, who is a yoga teacher and Christian meditator. Chris led us into our times of meditation by helping us to focus on the feel of our body and our breath so that, as we became still, the mantra could begin to sound within us. We also enjoyed a bodywork session where we would usually have looked at a passage from the Rule together – “giving attention to the body and doing simple movements with focus as an example of reading or study”. After lunch, in our lectio on the Gospel of John 11:19-27, several of us were struck by the words “when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him”, and there seemed to be a sense of both anticipation and readiness to respond. There was also honesty about meditation not taking our doubts and painful struggles away but forming compassion for others in us as we struggled. The programme for the day closed with Evening Prayers in a simplified, contemplative form. I have been getting along to the quarterly oblate days in London for a year now and value them a great deal. As well as providing an opportunity to meet an inspiring bunch of people, they encourage me in my own practice as a meditator and novice oblate, and increase the sense of being part of a growing worldwide community. and creative architecture… the community has survived through centuries of change and turmoil since its inception in 1615 in Paris. It is a living example of the faithfulness of the Lord to protect and bless his children… and His coming kingdom. And the Psalms continued to remind us of this all weekend as we listened and prayed with the monks throughout the offices. The Lord is faithful in all his works. Yours is an everlasting kingdom; Your rule lasts from age to age. (Psalm 145)

Oblates from around the country and affiliated to different Benedictine monastic communities including Eileen Dutt and myself from the WCCM, met to explore the theme of “Living as an Oblate in 2017”. It was recognised at the beginning of our discussion times together, that the increase in the number of oblates is far greater than the growth of monastics. Father Gervase, director of the oblates set out the theme of the weekend: The oblate is a crucial link, a mediator between the monastery and the world. It is a place from which the oblate can shape Christian life by living out of the monastic programme of spiritual growth and commitment to Christ. So, our vocation as oblates is to reach out into all areas of life

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Benedictine Oblate Newsletter No. 23, October 2017

O The Lord is faithful in all his works. Yours is an everlasting kingdom; Your rule lasts from age to age. (Psalm 145)

bringing monastic values of prayer, hospitality, healing and peace. Indeed to walk in the steps of Jesus. We explored the notions of ‘solitude, inner quiet and contemplative prayer,’ aspects which we are very familiar with in the WCCM through our daily meditation. We reflected too on the need to guard our hearts / create boundaries in this world of over stimulation and rapid change and which prevent us from resting in the peace of the Lord and listening to where He would lead us.

So too we looked at the service which we offer to others, showing a reverence for others and relieving them of their burdens. The nitty gritty details of our daily lives will be different for us all. We live out our faith in different communities…family, neighbourhood, work, church as well as in the WCCM. And soon Bonnevaux will become a global witness of our Benedictine life. It is a challenge not only to sustain our spiritual practices of prayer and reading the Rule but also how to make our mark.

The question I am left with after the weekend is …

How can I live out my calling to be a Benedictine oblate within the WCCM, within the communities in which I live and worship? I do not wear the clothing of a monastic, I am not a writer or a speaker, I am not a priest, I am not… But, I would like to be a witness. Norvene West in her book Preferring Christ: A Devotional Commentary on the Rule of St Benedict, writes: “The call which emerges from the Benedictine commitment to witness and conversatio is to be people not of perfection but ones in progress. Our call is not to tranquility, but to willingness to be sorely tried and passionately caring. Our call is not to certainty and not even to success but rather to be foolish for Christ, for we are a people willing to rely on the living God for yesterday, today and tomorrow. And that in itself is a glorious witness to the world in which we live.”

by Maureen Sandrock

Canadian National Oblate Retreat 2017 We arrived at the Cistercian Monastery Notre-Dame in Rougemount, Quebec, for the annual Canadian Oblate Retreat. Unlike last year, where the stillness in the abundant, lush garden was so acute silence prevailed, this year every leaf danced with joy in the light breeze. The sounds of the frogs in the pond and singing birds in the surrounding trees bid us a warm welcome.

The main concept of our retreat this year, directed by Apollonia (Polly) Schofield, National Oblate Coordinator for Canada, was "Fidelity" to the Rule, which leads to “Love” Polly quoted Dom John Main as saying, “the Universal vocation of the Oblate is Love”. Our main task as individuals and as a community is to return, and keep returning to the silent centre. Fidelity is required, as it is necessary to faithfully meditate daily, every morning

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M p b


and every evening. Polly described how all activity ceased in the Monastery, as directed by Dom John Main, when it was time to meditate, with no exceptions.

June 24 2017, I committed myself to the service of God, in my final oblation, and Barbara Halubec, from Montreal, was received as a novice, conducted by Polly. We became one, “in a community of Love”. Starting my car homeward bound, the magnificent strains of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” burst forth from the radio. We

RUNNING STILL by Laura Waters (Oblate USA)

The first WCCM-USA National Oblate retreat was held in Chicago, Illinois on June 9-11, 2017. Oblates from all over North America traveled to attend this enriching retreat, which was held at the Cenacle Retreat Center, whose sisters and staff provided loving hospitality. Canada was represented by the Canadian Oblate Coordinator, Polly Schofield, together with Fred and Magda Jass, and JoAnn Cullen. Father Laurence Freeman, OSB, led sixty-five retreatants on a journey into silence, meditation, and the Benedictine tradition.

The experience of being in community with fellow Oblates from all over the U.S. renewed my commitment to this way of living in the world. With all the political discord going on, the retreat experience confirmed for me that being an Oblate provides a firm foundation from which we can live with compassion and sanity. (Anne Singley, Texas)

Contemplative action in the Rule of St. Benedict was the focus for the weekend. Fr. Laurence led conferences elaborating on the Opus Dei, unpacking Benedict’s rules, and sharing inspiring insights on the practice of lectio divina. Fr. Laurence reminded the retreatants that Oblates are the monastery in the WCCM, and our purpose is to be in continuous prayer. He said, “The Opus Dei is the framework for the daily rhythm within silence.” I couldn’t help but to experience a spirit of unity and love during the Oblate retreat. It is amazing how affirmed I felt that living the contemplative path is truly the Way to God. I am grateful for Fr. Laurence Freeman’s wisdom and all my sisters and brothers that were at the retreat. Shalom! (Victor Resendiz, Texas)

Benedict’s rules on the tools for good works, restraint of speech, the reception of guests, and the characteristics of the porter of the monastery, among others, were illuminated with deep insight by Fr. Laurence. Retreatants participated in a robust discussion of their personal experience with

Benedictine Oblate Newsletter No. 23, October 2017

were surrounded by Praise, Thanksgiving, and Peace, as we journeyed forth. Becoming an oblate in this community is an assent and a commitment to the recentering of one’s life and of one’s awareness in this mystery of Christ and of God. It is one way, among others, in which this universal human journey is given meaning and focus and is enriched, no less for the good of others as for our own, by joy and peace. Father Laurence Freeman, OSB

portions of the Rule. Fr. Laurence invited all to remember that Oblates exemplify “the relationship of the cloister to the world and are to always receive others as Christ.” Fr. Laurence's reading and interpretation of the rule was simple, down to earth and practical, and very, very helpful.

(Kevin Callahan, Illinois)

Fr. Laurence also presented updates on the ongoing renovations at Bonnevaux, the new home and international center for the World Community for Christian Meditation. Bonnevaux, located near Poitiers, France, will be a contemplative center and meditation retreat for all who seek to deepen the contemplative dimension in their lives.

The most memorable part of the retreat for me was getting to meet Fr. Laurence and the experience of sharing everything including meditation, silence, meals, and conversation with some of the most interesting and loving people I have ever met. I felt so fortunate to take my Oblate vows with such a wonderful group of people. The retreat will always be one of my life's best memories. (Fred Ingle, North Carolina)

Four final Oblates and seven novices were received during the weekend. Attendees lovingly welcomed the Oblates and celebrated the Eucharist in a reverent service that was a beautiful embodiment of our community of love. Many WCCM Oblates around the world, as well as family and friends of those new Oblates and novices, participated in the evening’s

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events, thanks to the live stream that was made available as part of the “sacramental use of the internet”, and that has brought our community closer together.

It is always about being with “like-minded souls” in a spiritual setting which brings me to a peace that I do not feel out in the world. Seeing those who did their final Oblation takes me back to my commitment to the WCCM and reminds me why we are all here. (Carol Hope-Whitefield, Florida)

Benedictine Oblate Newsletter No. 23, October 2017

The inspiring and revitalizing weekend strengthened Oblates’ existing relationships with each other, and gave opportunity to create new bonds. Many retreatants noted a renewed commitment to share the practice of meditation with their communities at home. Most significant, though, was the deepening of our rootedness in Christ – as individual monastics come together to create community and to become continuous prayer through silence, meditation, and the Benedictine tradition.

Seasons by Victor Resendiz (Oblate Novice from Texas USA) Seasons come and go, but You remain I welcome the spring season in my life because You are the author of all beginnings Seasons come and go, but You remain I’m eager for the summer season in my life because You are the inspiration of joy

During the seasons in my life I listen attentively and I sit still I seek to go deeper I allow You to transform me During the seasons in my life I have asked why, I have been answered, I have been self-centered, I have surrendered, I have been stubborn, I have been open Through all I have said a breath prayer Yahweh…inhale/exhale

Seasons come and go, but You remain I am aware of the fall season in my life because You bring things to a close Seasons come and go, but You remain I am getting cold, it must be winter, it is time to rest, to reflect about the past year — 13 —

Seasons come and go, but You remain I will now be still and know that You are God

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Benedictine Oblate Newsletter No. 23, October 2017

BOOK REVIEW by Isabelle Glover (Oblate UK)

LIVING WITH THE MIND OF CHRIST – Mindfulness in Christian Spirituality, by Dr Stefan Gillow Reynolds PhD Darton Longman & Todd

ISBN 978-232-53250-0

The eight chapters of Living with the Mind of Christ form a cohesive path through the wisdom of ages. Stefan has quoted from fifty eight main texts and many more minor ones and each chapter has an appendix of suggested readings. But this is not an ‘academic’ book even though it is academically researched. Its charm is the way in which it brings academia down to the earth on which most of us live. One of the chapters is titled ‘God among the Pots and Pans’ which begins with a quotation from the Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh containing the sentence ‘When you are washing the dishes, washing the dishes must be the most important thing in your life’. This chapter goes on to illustrate Mindfulness in the teachings of St Teresa of Avila, St John of the Cross, St Ignatius, St Francis de Sales, Brother Lawrence, St Therese of the Child Jesus, and also Jean Pierre de Chaussade whose writings I was unfamiliar with but was delighted to make his acquaintance.

This is a book of enabling us to make the acquaintance of the ‘Wise’ in their discourses on Mindfulness. The first chapter, ‘Jesus, Teacher of Mindfulness’ not only highlights Jesus’ exhortation to his disciples to use their senses, watch, wake, hear, see, taste, but also brings in Simone Weil, St Catherine of Sienna, Kallistos Ware, the Gospel of Thomas, Jon KabatZinn, John Main and the power of the Name. We have usually interpreted mindfulness as cerebral but here it begins with the body which is always in the present.

‘What is Mindfulness’ discusses the secular practice of the therapy of mindfulness, meditation, the Buddhist practice of mindfulness, the connection between body, mind and breath, therapeutic mindfulness, with quotations from Bernard McGinn, Victor Frankl, the fifth century Fathers, Ellen Langer, Evelyn Underhill, and St Francis ‘who sees all things as sacraments of God’s presence’.

‘Cognitive Therapy of the Desert’ begins with the quotation from the Sayings of the Desert Fathers, ‘There is a voice which cries to us until our last breath, and it says: Now is the time’. Many of the Sayings are included as well quotations from John Cassian, St Benedict, St Gregory Palamas who

advocates attention of breathing in order to control the wandering mind, St John Climacus, St Paul, Thomas Keating who includes his practical advice on bringing us into the present in a difficult circumstance: ‘One of the best ways of letting go of an emotion is to feel it’. The subtitle of the section on Evagrius is ‘Mindfulness as Health for the Soul’: ‘Let us keep careful watch over our thoughts. Let us observe their intensity, their periods of decline and follow them as they rise and fall. Let us well note the complexity of thoughts’….’Purity of heart helps us to see the roots of unmindful behaviour. External discipline only deals with the symptoms like a man fighting in the darkness of night’. The following chapter, ‘Making of Oneself a Stepping Stone’ continues with the importance of ‘watchfulness’ expressed not only by Evagrius but by many others in this book. This chapter examines the contemplative thinking of St Augustine in great detail. ‘People go abroad to wonder at the height of mountains, the huge waves of the sea, the broad streams of rivers, the vastness of the oceans, the turning of the stars – and they do not notice themselves’. Stefan adds ‘We don’t need to be subject to our thoughts and feelings, neither do we need to control them or supress them, we simply recognise they are not the whole story of who we are’. There is a remarkable connection made between the advaitic teaching of the Hindu sage Ramana Maharshi and St Augustine as both see ascesis as ‘letting go of identification with body’.

‘Letting Go, Letting God’ delves into the detachment of Meister Eckhart and his expression of Mindfulness. ‘All attachment that involves the loss of freedom to wait on God in the here and now will cause us to bear no fruit…worrying, multitasking, spiritual ambition, all impinge on simple awareness of what is’. For Eckhart it is not really things that get in the way but the stickiness of our attachment. Jon Kabat-Zinn expresses the same thought, ‘We have an inevitable and incorrigible tendency to construct out of almost everything, and every situation, an ‘I’, a ‘me’ and a ‘mine’. The Cloud of Unknowing gives an instruction which surfaces in many modern Christian teachers such as John Main and Centring prayer, of using a small prayer word which ‘fixes the intention of the heart’ away from the machinations of the mind. The Jesus prayer has the same intention but with heartfulness vibrations. ‘Yoga and Loving Kindness Meditation’ begins with discussing the place of the body in prayer. Stefan points to Christianity’s neglect of the body in prayer and tendency to denigrate fleshly desires in comparison with other religions but he mentions the nine postures of St Dominic during which he repeated certain lines of scripture or prayer with each posture. This is the practice in yoga with the Sun Salutation chanted to vedic mantras but which Christians some-

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times connect with the Our Father. Kallistos Ware explains ‘Each alteration in our physical condition reacts adversely or positively on our psychic activity. If then we can learn to control and regulate certain of our physical processes, this can be used to strengthen our inner concentration in prayer’. St Gregory Palamas also connects concentration with observing the breath. For Julian of Norwich awareness of the body was the best way to awaken compassion, ‘Compassion is Divine but it is awakened through awareness of human fragility…Loving kindness has its roots in the passion and tenderness of what it is to be human’. Julian is not embarrassed about embodiment: ‘Love and kindness are here all the time, somewhere, in fact, everywhere. Usually our ability to touch them and be touched by them lies buried below our own fears and hurts, below our greed and our hatreds, below our desperate clinging to the illusion that we are truly separate and alone’. The Way of Attention begins with a quotation from Kierkegaard ‘If we could see only the present and lived wholly in the present moment we would achieve goodness here and now’. Stefan says that Kierkegaard, who he calls a ‘protesting mystic’, foresaw the collapse of religion as a collective influence within society. From now on faith would have to be a personal choice, not something we inherit outside ourselves… in a world without belief we need faith.

Really Listening by Rev. Jeffrey Symynkywicz

H

Benedictine Oblate Newsletter No. 23, October 2017

Kierkegaard is followed by Simone Weil and her philosophy of ‘obedience is responding to necessity, doing what the moment demands now not something se think about and then decide to do’ as she writes to her confidant Pere Perrin, ‘All things which come about are according to the will of God’. For Weil mindfulness is practical obedience to ‘Thy will be done’. Stefan then follows the journey of his mentor John Main which led both to the founding of the Christian meditation movement and also to Stefan’s own commitment to the movement. There are many well-chosen quotations from Main’s writings which illustrate his experience of the importance of meditation for Christians but Stefan adds, ‘If recollection or mindfulness is the first step, and in a sense the only step we make, Main points out there is a further step into God that is the gift of grace’.

In his introduction Stefan mentions the London Underground announcement of ‘Mind the Gap’ and relates this to minding the gap between mindfulness practice as taught today and Christian mysticism. At times it seems there are rather large gaps, belief in God being one of the wider ones. However, in the London Underground the gap does not mean you cannot pass from the platform to the train and vice-versa.This book will encourage a little more ease of passage. Mindfulness and Christian mysticism are not the same. Stefan’s book certainly does ease the passage.

Really to listen for our inner voice we have to stop talking and be quiet. Really to put the Spirit in command, we have to stop holding onto control for dear life. Really to let God take charge of our lives, We have to move over, get out of the driving seat long enough. Really to live alive in the Spirit we have to act as though all our actions are a reflection of Divinity. Really to gain wisdom, inner strength, compassion we have to open our hearts and ask for them. Emerson once said, out walking in the woods: "All mean egotism vanishes. I am part and parcel of God." Let it all fall away; let it melt like snows of a winter that has gone on too long. — 15 —


Benedictine Oblate Newsletter No. 23, October 2017 N AT I O N A L O B L AT E C O - O R D I N AT O R S ARGENTINA: .....................................Marina Müller, marinam@sion.com

Sometimes

AUSTRALIA: .....................................Gloria Duffy, gduffy536@gmail.com

by David Whyte

BRAZIL: .............................Tayna Malaspina, taynacoaching@gmail.com

Sometimes if you move carefully through the forest,

BELGIUM: .................International Coordinator, eduttobl@btinternet.com

CANADA: .....................................Polly Schofield, wccm.oblates@bell.net

CHINA: ......................................Xiao Xiao Augustine, 87982037@qq.com

COLOMBIA: .................................Elba Roderiguez, elbarsan@gmail.com

DENMARK: .......................................Lene Boisen, lene.bobo@gmail.com ECUADOR: ................International Coordinator, eduttobl@btinternet.com

FRANCE: ............................................Imogen Hassan, imohlson@noos.fr

M

breathing like the ones in the old stories,

GERMANY: ......................Christiane Floyd, christiane.floyd@hamburg.de

who could cross a shimmering bed of leaves without a sound,

ITALY: .................................................Giovanni Foffano, foffano@libero.it

you come to a place whose only task

MEXICO: ....................International Coordinator, eduttobl@btinternet.com

is to trouble you with tiny but frightening requests,

INDIA: ...........................Christopher Mendonca, cjwm1943@yahoo.co.uk IRELAND: .........................Stefan Reynolds, stefandreynolds@gmail.com NETHERLANDS: .......International Coordinator, eduttobl@btinternet.com NEW ZEALAND: ........Hugh McLaughlin, hugh.mclaughlinnz@gmail.com

PARAQUAY: .........................................Mary Meyer, marinam@sion.com

PHILIPPINES: .............................Argel Tuason, argel.tuason@gmail.com POLAND: ........................................Maksym Kapalski, maksym.k@wp.pl

SINGAPORE: .........................Saralee Turner, saralee.turner@gmail.com SWITZERLAND: .....Catherine Charriere, catherine.charriere@gmail.com

UKRAINE: ...........................Maria, Albert Zakharova, info@wccm.org.ua UK: ...................................................Eileen Dutt, eduttobl@btinternet.com

USA: .............................................Mary Robison, maryrobison@mac.com

VENEZUALA: ............................Josefa Vegas, josefavivas@hotmail.com

VIA VITAE No. 23, October 2017 Editor: Dr Stefan Reynolds

Glenville Park, Glenville, Co. Cork, Ireland + 353 214 880103 stefandreynolds@gmail.com Graphic Design: Anne Dillon, USA

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conceived out of nowhere but in this place beginning to lead everywhere. Requests to stop what you are doing right now, and to stop what you are becoming while you do it, questions that can make or unmake a life, questions that have patiently waited for you, questions that have no right to go away.

Via Vitae November 2017  

Benedictine Oblate Newsletter N. 23 Benedictine Oblates of The World Community for C h r i s t i a n Me d i t a t i o n