Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Thoughts if Merton While Taking a Bath

December 10th will be here soon. That is an important date in the life of Thomas Merton. He entered the Abbey of Gethsemani on December 10th and he died on December 10th.

I am considering how to do a Day of Prayer With Thomas Merton ONLINE on December 10th. I thought I would use this site for living through the daily office for that day and it being a day of Reflection keying on Merton's life and work.

Any ideas of how to carry this out?

Merton and Winter Time

"Woke up in the hermitage and walked out to see snow on the ground, with the wind blowing snowflakes around my bare ankles. Let the fire and said Lauds. No trouble seeing the way down in the dark with snow on the ground!

The Christian faith enables, or should enable, a [person] to stand back from society and its institutions and realize that they all stand under the inscrutable judgment of God and that therefore we can never give an unreserved assent to the policies, the programs and the organizations of [people], or to 'official' interpretations of the historic process."

1963-1965, page 171. Merton wrote this on November 30, 1964.

What does my Christian faith direct me to do in day by day things?

Wayne Burns Merton Quote of the Day
From: wayne burns <
Date: Wed, 30 Nov 2005 07:44:36 -0500

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Come Before Winter

Come Before Winter
Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.
Thoughts and Notes on 2 Timothy 4:9-22

Other titles for this passage:

The Last Words of a Dying Man

A Brief Interlude in the last days of a man's life

A Mans' Last Christmas List

Waiting. Waiting. How long

The Return of Midnight


Come quickly - only Luke is with me. Others have deserted me.
Bring Mark - he helps in ministry
Bring coat and books
Be on guard of those who lessen your faith

Note: All deserted me. "But the Lord stood at my side and gave me
strength and I was delivered."

These are Paul's last words before his death. Note what is important to him

1. His relationship with others

2. His relationship with the Lord

Paul's Final words:

The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Sunday Night - 11/17/05

A really nice restful 4 days. I needed that ! Went to Janet's Mom's house for thanksgiving. Her brothers were there and their 3 children. Never a dull moment. But I did get in a couple of naps.

Saturday was pick up pine cone day and eat the lunch menu at Red Lobster. Studied Sunday School lesson from Romans 8:28-39. One of the greatest of scriptures. "All things work to good for them that are called according to his purpose."

What a comforting scripture.

And what did you do for thanksgiving?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Furman Bisher - 2005 Thanksgiving Column

This is the 2005 Furman Bisher Thanksgiving Column.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Monday, November 21, 2005



My family is from near Atlanta, Georgia, a place called Flippen, named after the mail man on the daily train going from Atlanta to Macon. One of the most meaningful things in my life has been sharing the Thanksgiving Column of Furman Bisher, the sports columist for the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Mr. Bisher is in his 80s now, but each year the Thanksgiving paper has the things for which he is thankful. The first thing I do on thanksgiving morning is to go on the internet -- now that we don't go to Georgia anymore on thanksgiving-- and go to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution Website ( and look for Furman Bisher's column. (It is usually in the Sports Section). With all due respects and thanks to him, this is what I am thankful for this year. And, if WE ARE LUCKY, maybe I can share his thanksgiving column later.

(IMPORTANT NOTE: Years ago I began sharing this column with my daughter every thanksgiving. Now, each thanksgiving, she does her own and shares with me. WHY NOT TRY IT WITH YOUR FAMILY ??????)

**For Furman Bisher, columist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, who taught me to be thankful with his yearly Thanksgiving Column.

For Parents who, though both are deceased, loved me and believed in me.

For my redneck ham buddies who keep me entertained with strange stories,laughter, kidding, great meals and stories, and this with everyone always sober.

For a subversive bunch of women hidden in the basement of Parkview who entertain me with originality, great home made banana pudding, and stories that are unbelievable !!! (Yes - remember the Food Lion in Livingston, TN.)

For Inky, the 14 pound Maine Coon black cat, who came to live with us and keeps us entertained !!

For my brother Ronald,who is a constant reminder of the joyful times we had growing up. And for Jimmi, who keeps him straight.

For a family that loves to laugh, tell stories, and cares for each other.

For the 91 free Thomas Merton books given to me from a lady in Las Vegas, Nevada.

For the Teddy Bear Lady who always reminds me of excellence in the workplace.

I am thankful that Breck married Jen.

For my Sunday School class that continues to be supportive in all of our trials and tribulations.

For the hospice at the VA Hospital in Murfreesboro that kept my father-in-law, Clyde Honeycutt, comfortable until he died.

For G, whose prayers and forgiveness are always an example to me of what a Christian should be.

For RC who walks the cloister walk with me.

For working for Larry Kloess and the example of excellence he set for us all. We will miss him.

For my boss who helps me struggle for direction.

For the warm glow of a fireplace.

For Sam Dillard. What a blessing he has been to me through the years. I will miss him after he retires - and his peanuts.

For chicken livers and oysters and tobasco sauce.

For a car that starts on cold mornings.

For the hospital employees who invite me for a free meals in their departments. (Yes, I say the blessing, then get a free meal. What a deal!!)

For the smiles that pass me every day.

For the many blessings that touch my life daily.

I am thankful for journeys that challenge me with new dawnings and awakenings.

I am thankful for a place to work and share my faith with others.

For skilled surgeons, nurses, and others who care for patients daily.

For Melinda, my lovely daughter, and her husband, Mike, both of whom make us happy each day.

For monasteries, and monks, and statues, and rain, and snow, and warmth.

And for Janet, who makes my life worth living.

And, I am thankful for you -my friends-that stand by me and give me joy each day.

And for God, who has given me purpose and joy.


The Thanksgiving Chronicles of Dan Kenneth Phillips.

Christian Virtues

"The most important Christian virtues are those which contribute most to peace. These are above all charity, self-sacrificing humble submission, obedience, meekenss, and of course at the root of all is that faith which keeps us in constant contact with Christ "our inseparable life."

Thomas Merton, Seasons of Celebration, page 42

Thomas Merton Retreat was GREAT !!

Janet and I had a wonderful time at the Thomas Merton Retreat in Maple Mount, Kentucky. It is an excellent site for a retreat with one of the most beautiful cemetaries I have ever seen. We had 27 participants, many who had read Merton for years. It was a relaxing and meaningful time, plus tremendous cooks.

Plans are to do it again next year and add one more day to the retreat. STAY TUNED !

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Thomas Merton Retreat - Maple Mount, Ky.

I am preparing for the Thomas Merton Retreat tomorrow night and Saturday at the Mount Saint Joseph Conference and Retreat Center, Maple Mount, Kentucky.

I am looking forward to it and would kindly ask for your prayers for the next couple of days. We begin Friday night at 7 and go to about 4 pm on Saturday. I am looking forward to a time of seeking the Lord and making new friend.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


"When it becomes impossible to meditate again,
meditate. If you get an idea, develop it,
but without excitement. Feed your mind with reading
and the liturgy, and if the darkness of your simple
prayer becomes too much of a tension -- or
degenerates into torpor or sleep -- relieve it
with a few vocal prayers or simple affections,
but do not stain yourself trying to get ideas
or feel fervor. Do not upset yourself with useless
efforts to realize the elaborate prospects
suggested by a conventional book of meditations."

Thomas Merton and thanks Wayne Burns

Sunday, November 13, 2005

The Good Retreat Guide

Dear Br. Dan

I have just had a look at your Thomas Merton/Merton Retreats site, which I found very good. I am writing you as I am the author of The Good Retreat Guide,published by Random House and which is the best-selling guide to such places and has been going for 14 years now. Last year I started the development of the website of the guide, which is going okay, and which will gradually expand to become international- it now covers Britisn, Ireland, France and Italy. Please do take a look at it. If you feel it would be helpful I would be happy to include reference and websites links to your site and the other Merton links. There is no charge but I would appreciate a link by you to the guide's site. If you feel this would be helpful, please let me know.

As to myself I am a monk of the Community of Hermits of Saint Bruno, which belongs to the Carthusian family. Each of us lives as a hermit but with a monastic community attachment, my own being one in England where I must spend several months a year in enclosed community life. I like Merton's writing, but find that his occasional articles, such as those in the Cistercian Studies Quarterly Review, the most helpful spiritually speaking as against his longer books. His journals and some of the letters with Leclercq and Lax have proven very valuable dans l'esprit de solitude.

Hoping to hear from you.

Yours in Christ,

Br. Luke

Saturday, November 12, 2005


Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.
It is difficult being philosophical about leaves. For 3 days we have fooled with leaves. Picking up, raking, mowing, bagging, oushing and toiling. We have almost completed the job. But, it takes lots of time, willpower, and muscle. The same is true of the spiritual life. Sometimes its like tugging and pushing leaves. One never thinks one will succeed, but when it seems possible there is a breakthrew.

When was the last breakthrough in your life?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Tucumcari Revisited

Several years ago I wrote an article about what a joy it was to visit Tucumcari, New Mexico. I have received many favorite comments over the years. This is an email I received lately which gives a different view. That you might enjoy reading this:

Every year since 1995 my wife and I while on vacation from Virginia to destinations West stopped in Tucumcari. The small town, clean motels and quaint restaurants seemed quite charming. 

So then in 2004 when wanting to move away from Northern Virginia after retiring we decided to settle in Tucumcari.  At first it seemed as though we'd made a good choice but after a year and having dealt with the authorities and town management as soon as the opportunity presents itself we'll probably be moving. After about a month one realizes that this town is dying. It appears as though those in charge either want it that way or are just ignorant of the fact. 

About a third of the city lots that once held beautiful homes are now run down shacks on vacant property.  We've seen three prominent businesses close since we've been here.  I wont go into my legal run ins with the city concerning property that I bought, upgraded and tried to grow a garden on.  I've been pulled over by the law more than once just about seat belts.  The first time for having the shoulder strap under my arm.  Then again recently for not having it on tight enough. 

I guess being from Virginia and not having totally blacked out windows on my car (like most here) I'm an easy target. (I might note that I've never been in the back seat of a police car or had a run in with the law in my nearly 50 years)  My advice to anyone reading this is to avoid Tucumcari NM. Going east Amarillo TX is only 100 more miles.  Going west Santa Rosa is only 60 miles.  I'm just trying to pass on the absolute truth to anyone who might be passing through this area.  Being just an ignorant Easterner who made a mistake.


Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Shrine of Saint Joseph in St. Louis Missouri and St.Peter Claver

The wedding Breck and Jen was held at the Shrine of Saint Joseph in St. Louis. It is certainly a beautiful church and the only place in the midwest where a miracle has occurred that the Pope has concurred with.

Saint Peter Claver is the patron saint of African-American missions and was the source of the miracle at St. Josephs. There is another link to St. Peter Claver.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Mr. And Mrs. Breck Phillips

Mr. And Mrs. Breck Phillips
Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.
Enclosed is a wedding picture of Breck and Jen. MARRIED!!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Breck Phillips and Jennifer Neary Wedding Day

"This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it."

We are in St. Louis at the Sheraton-Westport Hotel for the wedding of my nephew Breck Phillips.

The Sheraton is the home of the "Sheraton Sweet Sleeper Bed," supposedly

the finest bed ever made. It is such a delightful sleeping instrument

that people stay at the Sheraton just to sleep on it. In fact, it is

such a memorable experience that people want to take the bed home with

them, which you can do with an investment of $1100 dollars.

"Our bed is custom-designed for a great night's sleep. Sink into the

comfy, plush-top mattress under the soft blanket and cozy duvetr. Wray

yourself in crisp white cotton sheets, and rest your head on

feather-down and hypoallergenic pillows. The Sheraton Sweet Sleeper Bed-

Sleep Sweetky," says the accompanying folder on top of my feather


Well, as you guessed, they have sold me !!

Thursday, November 03, 2005


(This is from a Doctor friend of mine serving in Iraq as a Colonel. This was a great encouragement to me)


The war has taken on a very different focus for us of late . Although it's devastating consequences continue to knock on our door almost daily , we all seemed to be filled with a renewed and uplifting sense of purpose . The CMOC or Civil Military Operations Center , has now been reborn as the Civil Military Outreach Center . That is the name we have given that ray of sunshine that has broken through our dark clouds of war .

It has been only about a week since we visited the 5th Special Forces clinic along the wire at RPC . However since we announced our intentions to reach out to the children of Iraq , the response has been overwhelming both at Sather Air Base as well as with our families and communities Stateside . The base Chaplain is beside himself with joy at the prospects of ministering in a small way to the innocent . Civil Engineering wants to pitch in cleaning , painting , plumbing and doing all that they can to improve the simple facility . Keep in mind these CE folks are already working 24/7, doing some of the heaviest lifting on base . The Company Grade Officers Council wants to be involved . The First Shirts and the Chiefs have petitioned me directly to be " allowed " to participate . The list goes on and on to include just about every Squadron and Group Staff Agency on base .

At home , the response has been truly American . Boxes around the nation are being filled with hope - soon to be distributed to the most fragile victims of humanities steely side. I was humbled by the fact that Dr. Campbell , the Headmaster at The Covenent School ( Will's school ) , has seen this as a project worthy of the organized involvement of the Covenent School families .

You know - there is clearly a God given goodness that allows for this type of response . I believe we are all born with the light of goodness . How and why- in some- it turns to darkness - I just don't understand . It is usually very very dark around here .

Dr. Salvatore Lombardi