Once again, it's time for a little vacation.
The past year has been a busy but (hopefully) fruitful one. At Abbey Press, there was the publication of The Way to Eternal Life and the new Pathways book series, as well as several other projects (including more titles in the Catholic Perspectives CareNotes series, which have experienced a substantial increase in sales over the last year).
I am currently working on a book tentatively titled Grace in the Wilderness: Reflections on God's Sustaining Word along Life's Journey. This will be a compilation of scriptural reflections I have written, most of them adapted from blog posts over the last five years. This project will be my primary focus for much of the summer. The book is due for release by Abbey Press' Path of Life Publications in the fall.
In addition, I have completed the first course (Biblical Foundations of Spirituality) in the three-year spiritual direction graduate certificate program I am enrolled in here at the School of Theology. The second course, History of Christian Spirituality, begins June 23. A handful of spiritual directees I meet and correspond with regularly are also teaching me a great deal along the way!
Of course, I also continue to work with the Benedictine oblate program, and have traveled quite a bit the last year throughout Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio to present conferences at various chapter meetings.
Also, I was blessed to have an article titled "Stillness in Prayer: The Desert Fathers and Thomas Merton" published in the Fall 2012 issue of the journal Spiritual Life.
Incidentally, I am also celebrating 10 years of sobriety, a grace which I continue to marvel at and treasure.
First and foremost among my work, obviously, is the daily ora et labora of community life as a monk of Saint Meinrad Archabbey, a gift from God without which none of the above would be possible. Ten years ago, I never would have imagined being a Benedictine monk. My vocation as a monk (going on seven years now) is perhaps the greatest gift for which I must not only give thanks, but be responsible for nurturing day in and day out. Admittedly, some days I do that better than others, but each day--as St. Antony of the Desert said--I begin again.
With all that in mind, I am taking a two-week break in a couple days. I will be on vacation June 1-16, so during that time I will not be posting anything new here (of course, you are always free to browse the "re-runs."). The first week, I will be honoring my "inner hermit," staying in a hermitage for some prayerful reading, reflection, and writing (sorry, the location is confidential). The second week will be spent with family and friends in Ohio and West Virginia. One highlight, I'm sure, will be the first birthday party of my nephew Evan (he is growing so fast).
Upon my return, the book project previously mentioned, a talk I'm adapting for a Catholic Perspectives CareNote on the topic of addiction, along with my next class in the spiritual direction program, will keep me busy for much of the summer and beyond. And, of course, I hope to post occasionally here. Until then, a few words from St. Paul which are always worthwhile for meditation:
Seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. … As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.Colossians 3:1-3; 12-17