Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

"Grip His pierced hand..."

Ole Hallesby was a Norwegian, Lutheran Theologian who lived from 1879-1961. He offers us this encouragement and invitation.

Jesus is moved every time He sees you appreciate what He has done for you. Grip His pierced hand and say to Him, "I thank you, Savior, because you have died for me." Thank Him likewise for all the other blessings He has showered upon you from day to day. It brings joy to Jesus.

Here's a stream of consciousness prayer while on last week's monastery retreat ~ thanking Jesus for the blessings.

Planted along the edge of the monastic cemetery,
   the brilliant maple glowing,
   like hot coals.

Hemlocks through the second-floor window,
   the bluest of skies between the branches.
   The top of the Aspen quivers ~
   the under-leaf is silver.

Ordination retreat here thirty seven years ago.
   Pierre, Bruno, Gabriel and John were monks then.
   Now Michael, Antonio, Justin,
   Francis Michael and Luke have joined.

Pre-dawn Matins
   Later ~
   Lauds in sunlight
   Votive Mass of the Sacred Heart ~
   hymns and psalms,
   silence at breakfast,
   honey and cider.

Morning tea and
   the wild orchard,
   the house full of guests.

Winter-wear sheep,
   hundreds riding green waves,
   the ram with curled horns,
   three donkeys for alarm,

April's lambs
   move with the sun,
   gathering in the dark time,
   like monks at Compline.

Some guests run out with cameras and phones
   to photograph the low,
   full moon
   which lights up the meadows
   as the sheep settle in.

Medieval Mary in the undercroft,
   holding me up these many years.
   For the longings of my heart.
   the strugglers I've met,
   for compassion-ated hearts.

For the animals and plants ~
   consolation when the humans have gone mad.

For the gift-ing of senses:
  Athos incense
  wet yellow leaves
  a tangerine at dinner
  the vesper bell
  taking hold of the chalice with the cloisonne base.

The Philippine monk of the Sunday sermon:
   Our life of prayer was set in motion
   when God blew breath into our clay.


  1. Thank you for sharing this stream of consciousness prayer with us. It reads like a beautiful, heartfelt poem.

  2. Stream of consciousness might be a good poem/prayer approach - our mind lighting here and there. We might trust it more - instead of so often calling the thoughts "distractions". The Holy Spirit can be in the "distractions".

  3. I feel as though I am on retreat with you as I read your open thoughts. A glimpse into monastery life and the peacefulness that you experienced.

  4. Why did you say Philippine monk? Did this enter your thought process and set him apart as being different? Does it change how you interpreted what he said?

  5. He's from the Philippines. I'm can't say that his national origin impacted what he had to say - but he's from the Philippines. America is a wonderful place - people from everywhere.

  6. Father Stephen, I have enjoyed your monastery thoughts this week and I am happy that you took the time to make a retreat. Your spiritual well being is important to nurture as it is for all of us also. God bless you and keep you.

  7. Thank you for your kind thoughts and for following the posts. I had a good week. I'm always blessed. Years ago a priest friend was pastor to an African American community in Brooklyn. His congregation often sang, "Waitin for a Miracle." I get it: the miracles are all around us and everyday - though I personally prefer the word "wonder" and "wondrous". And monasteries focus all of that for me. Have a blessed Sunday!

  8. I heard those words- 'look for the miracles'. At one time I was so confused about that statement. What is he talking about? And then it happened over and over again! Thursday I prayed in a much different way invoking my guardian angel. As I finished a 5 1/2 ft welded angel form went driving by on Sunrisr Highway!

  9. I'm awake 5 minutes and I begin to count the wonders: There is a class of water. I am breathing. I have slept well. I hear the clock chiming. All internal systems are go. The dogs are happy to see me as we get ready to go out. The air is brisk. The moon is a sliver through the window. It is Sunday. I will see friends at Mass....Everything is a wonder!