Tuesday, May 30, 2006

More Thoughts At A Monastery and Other Notes

A Needed Rest

Sometimes we really need rest. but there is no peace. No quiet. The body grows tense. There is no rest.

I start out for Kentucky full of prayer.


The sun scatters across the front row seat in the balcony. The night begins its dawning. The end of the first day.

Lord, what is it I have to offer? What is the metaphor of my life? (The sea was a metaphor for Neruda's Life)

Lord, "sharpen my scissors." (TM)

Father James told of Merton having a special column in the chapel where he prayed, a place he was partially hidden. (This was indicative of his humility.)

"Silence and solitude are the sureme luxuries of life!" (TM)


We are "under obedience."

Sucking up silent thoughts. (dkp)


How we do wish sometimes that there was a tidy world, neatly packaged, without grief and sorrow, and filled with silence and solitude.

"Lord, thank you for this restful weekend away from the noise. Oh, how I have needed this. Grant us peace."

Thoughts At A Monastery

As one grows older, past years become stranger. The vast gulf between days means the memory has been dulled. One remembers only in long leaps, not in years. For example, i have absolutely no idea what I was doing last year at this time. Was it rainy, sunny, fair, partly cloudy?

One does not always have a choice about life. My friend, AG's husband fell over dead last week on the golf course. He was 58. Or BK's Mom and Dad were killed in a car wreck, an accident.

And I have had my moments. My Dad dies suddenly, shortly after he retires. I lose a job or jobs. Life is uneven. Unclear. Sometimes disastrous.

One can only write in spurts. Life is too much sometimes. Memories are haphazard. Limits are placed on our dreams, or we don't dream at all. I want and run after the wrong things, things that are not mine to have, or things that when I once get them lose their meaning.

Being Christlike means hearing the unspeakable voice. Beginning a journey in silence and WAITING ! WAITING !!

I lie in bed and write these words because I am to exhausted to go outside and enjoy the sunset. I have been to St. Ann's (Merton's original hermitage. I have held the boly book, walked down the hidden parth, found my way home, and listened for the hidden voice. SELAH

Monday, May 29, 2006

Chad Runyon

Chad Runyon
Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.

Chad Runyon did a concert while we were at the Abbey. What a beautiful baritone voice. He sang selections from the Merton-Niles songs, which were Merton's poetry set to music. Excellent !!

Reflections on the Merton Weekend

I have just gotten back from the International Thomas Merton Society weekend at the Abbey of Gethsemani. It is Monday Morning and I am awake much earlier than usual.

One of the highlights was meeting Alan Creech for the first time. Alan lives in Lexington and we able to eat lunch together on Saturday. Alan was one of the Merton bloggers who helped with the Merton online retreat last December 10. He is a person deeply involved with the emerging church movement. He has an exceptional knowledge of Merton and told me something I did not know, that Thomas Merton and James Fox were the only two monks buried in caskets at Gethsemani because they died outside of the country and had to be shipped back. By the way he told this story while we were standing by the trappist caskets in the bookstore. This is a rare photo of Alan. He likes to play incognito on his own blog. Thanks Alan for coming to see me.

Also you need to read Alan's Blog for Saturday. It includes 64 fabulous pictures he made in black and white, including terrific ones of Bro. Paul and the other monks.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Critical Thinking

The art of thinking about your thinking while you are thinking in order
to make your thinking better: more clear, more accurate.....(Paul,
Binker, Adamson, Martin-1989)

Going to the Abbey

I am going to the Abbey of Gethsemane tomorrow and be there for 3 days. I am looking forward to going. I need the time away.

It has been a "too busy" week here. Several funerals, a memorial service, deaths, and terrible grief. You get the picture. No time for blogging. Say a prayer for me.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

House of God

"The monastery is the House of God and all who live there are close to
Him. Yet it is possible to live close to Him, and in His own house
without ever finding Him. Why is this? Because we continue to seek
ourselves rather than God, to live for ourselves rather than for Him."

(NO MAN IS AN ISLAND, page 235)

What or Who am I seeking when I am in the House of God?

Thanks Wayne Burns

Friday, May 19, 2006


Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.


Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.
Eating bbq ribs at TGIF's in Dayton. Ohio. Luv those ribs. I had never

seen a TGIF firetruck before.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Redneck Lottery Winner

Redneck Lottery Winner
Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Redondowriter has an excellent blog on Thomas Merton and Journaling. It is worth checking out.

Her work on journaling closely parallels my own. I have been through the Ira Progoff Journaling course also. It has been tremendously helpful. Check out the above.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Grace in the Lowest Place

GRACE TO THE HUMBLE............St Vincent dePaul reminds us that the
grace of God, like water, finds the very lowest place.  It is to the
humble that He directs special grace. Daily, He blesses those who come
to Him in their poverty, lowliness, emptiness.   He comes surely to
plant what has been uprooted, to restore the wall that has been torn
down, to water the dry, to feed the hungry, to teach those who admit
that they do not know.     via Don Brennan

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Saturday Tennessee Sunset

Saturday Tennessee Sunset
Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Inno World

I have a new blog called Inno World, dedicated to the new Pioneer Inno for XM radio. Check it out.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Holy Reminders

An email from an old friend.

“Brother Dan, in reading some of your recent writings, I perceive (and I hope that you will accept this compliment in the spirit in which I'm saying it) that you are a completely different person than the Dan Phillips that I knew. I'm guessing that somewhere along the road, God shook you to the very core of your being, because He appears to have breathed life into a valuable servant.”

Gee, who am I. Have I changed that much? Yes, we all change. Our perceptions change, as well as our goals and dreams. And, hopefully, we change in such a way that God is able to work more effectively in our lives. But these remarks did cause me to pause and ask myself, “What are the key things in your spiritual life that are important?” I call these HOLY REMINDERS!!

For tons of years I have kept a spiritual journal of “what God is doing in my life at the time.” Sometimes it is difficult re-reading these entries. But, on occasion, when I take time for a day of RE-COLLECTION I review some of the important points in my spiritual life looking for the HOLY REMINDERS. Here are a few foundation stones that I have considered recently. Certainly, they are just a few items for me to remind myself of and how they are important to me.

First, we need to RE-SURRENDER ourselves to God EVERY DAY.
A tough one. For many years the Psalms have been my favorite book of the Bible. Praying the Psalms is beneficial for the spiritual life, but in November of last year, while on a retreat, I wrote these words: KEY TO THE PSALMS – “To make use of them as a prayer that will enable us to SURRENDER OURSELVES TO GOD.” Surrendering daily to God does make a difference in our lives.

2. A second HOLY REMINDER is the importance of Prayer. I know the recent report says that prayer makes no difference in the outcome of a patient in a hospital who is prayed for. Well, I don’t believe it! I do believe that prayer may not come out as we had hoped, but I do know that God’s ultimate will is for the furtherance of HIS KINGDOM. Here are some thoughts on prayer:

Prayer Shows Our Dependence on God
Prayer is not doing something but being with someone
Prayer is “a loving exchange of friendship between God and the soul.” (St. Augustine)
When I pray, coincidences happen, and when I do not, they don’t (William Temple)

3. GOD IS ALWAYS LOOKING FOR SOMEONE WILLING TO GO THE DISTANCE WITH HIM. Caleb…….Do not be discouraged, the battle is not yours. (2 Chron.20:15)


One of my frequent prayers is “Oh Lord, let something happen here that only you can do.” I try to look back each week and find the highlights of God working in my life. Sometimes the results are surprising.

So where do we start: Maybe a prayer you carry with you everyday ! OK?


Monday, May 08, 2006


Watched Capote the movie. I use to live in south alabama near to Monroeville Alabama where Truman capote and Harper Lee grew up. That is one reason for interest in the movie. link

Monday Blues

Monday can be a downer, especially after a nice weekend. Went to a movie about St. Patrick on Saturday Night. It is nice understanding the history of his life. Ate a seafood platter at Copelands on Sunday.

Today, just trying to get back in the goove.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Bloggers I Like



"Contemplation is a sudden gift of awareness." Thomas Merton

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


As some of you might have noticed my blog has been absent for several days. I was trying to improve it and in the process I "messed it up really good" and it would only work for the month of March only.

I didn't know where to start. Eventually, on the Google Help pages I found Taz Kwok who spent the time to look at my blog and make suggestions that resulted in me finding my error. I want to thank Taz again and again. By the way his website is at:

Taz Kwok Website and if you really want to thank him send him an email at tazkwok at rcn.com

Again thanks to Taz. God Speed.