The themes of blindness, loss of sight, and poor sight, are some of the most common themes which appear in Sacred Scripture. This suggests that the particular affliction – whether from birth or occurring in formerly sighted people – was not uncommon and provides a foundation of experience for our sacred authors. A quick scan in a biblical concordance reveals a wealth of passages in which the blind or blindness is mentioned, and that’s without looking for phrases which express loss of sight or similar experience.
The nature of the Cistercian monastic life is such that it invites a great number of questions, dealing with all sorts of aspects of the vocation. In this first article we will try to pick out some of the more common questions about our life, and attempt to provide brief answers.
Just a few verses, but so much comes into our prayer as Christ asks us to reflect with him on the value of signs in our lives. The Pharisees are really not very happy people! Almost nothing satisfies them and they continually hanker after something more. It’s a way of life and an outlook on life which is doomed to be characterized by perennial disappointment. More than that, it lacks the wonder and awe which is the mark of those who know that they have the possibility of encountering mystery at every moment.
There is no repetition in a Gospel simply for the sake of repetition. In this the sacred writings are somewhat akin to music, when a section is marked with a repeat mark: although the very same notes and chords will be played the performer must have a sense of a slightly different feel to the same music and communicate that to the audience.
Very few of us can recall the moment of our baptism because it belongs to our farthest infancy and so resides in that time when memory is not yet attuned to explicit storing and recall. Perhaps that has something to do with our difficulty in allowing it to be the dynamic event which it is in itself.
One of the striking things about all four Gospel accounts is the place and role given to women in their relationships with Jesus and how he meets them and engages with them. It was certainly a counter-cultural way of behaving, in that it is obvious that Jesus gave space to women to become real protagonists with him.
If there is anything in the popular imagination that is associated with the monastic and contemplative life it is probably silence. But the type of silence which people imagine reigns in monasteries and hermitages is really only a very pale reflection of reality…
Fr Michael Casey ocso, a monk of the Cistercian community at Tarrawarra outside Melbourne in Australia, has enjoyed a distinguished career as writer, commentator, teacher, and above all, monk, which has embraced the span of his adult, and therefore monastic life. It’s not simply that Fr Michael can be said to be well and widely read…
In these few verses Mark draws what appears to be a particular conclusion from Jesus’ teachings, but uses it to bring us to a very deep place, a place of specific personal reflection. What comes from within us and what work must we do if what we bring forth is at variance with the Gospel, or spiritually unhealthy, or morally unacceptable.
Jesus confronts the tension which can arise between being too observant and being too lax – our understanding of what law is helps us to accept and live the new law of the Gospel.