Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Thomas Merton Birthday

Thomas Merton was born on this date in 1915 in France.

Father Matthew Kelty on the Death of Thomas Merton

[A Homily of Fr. Matthew Kelty, OCSO. for the Thomas Merton Memorial Mass at the Louisville Cathedral, Dec. 10th, 1998, (Luke 12:49) ]

Touched By Fire

It was Tuesday, the second week of Advent and we were at dinner, at noon, that is, eating our beans and rice, lettuce salad, preceded by pea soup and followed by an apple for dessert. The reader that week was Father Timothy Kelly, and the book was the life of Teilhard de Chardin. It was the 10th of December. The abbot was Father Flavian Burns. At the end of the meal instead of ringing the bell — so we knew something was up — he went to the reader's desk, signed him to stop, picked up the microphone, and said: "Brothers, I have sad news for you. Fr. Louis died in Bangkok. That is all I know. I'll let you know more when I learn it."

He then said the closing meal prayers and life went on as usual. And forever different. More

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Billie Pate is a friend of mine. We worked together for many years. She was a poet, a person who understood when people had needs and an excellent writer.

She has written a new book titled, PLEASE TAKE ME HOME BEFORE DEATH,One Family’s Journey with Alzheimer’s Disease, published by Hillsboro Press in Franklin, TN. It is an excellent book covering all of the aspects of this difficult disease. Besides guidelines to help us get through this time with our families she has poems she has written that begin each chapter. The poems are worth the price of the book. Here is one of these fabulous poems:


When I forget,
Please remember who I am:
My love for kittens and birds and flowers,
And my joy in making dresses for
A child living in a colorless world.

When I forget
Please Remember
How much I love the changing of the seasons
And holidays—Especially the wonder
Of Christmas,

When I forget,
Please remember
How proud I am of all my children,
And my comfort in going to church.

When I forget,
Please remember who I am,
And help me find and be myself,
As long as part of me remains.



Bro. Dan

Monday, January 29, 2007

Prayer Book

Several years ago I took a leather bond book and have placed only prayers in it. The reason I started it was that minister Wulfstan of Worchester, in the 11th century, had such a book that he carried on horseback wherever he went. This is what was said of Wulfstan:

"He was humble and ready to serve wherever he was called. He gradually acquired a
reputation as a holy man who could on occasion work miracles, especially on behalf of the sick. He longed for God, there was always a psalm in his mouth and Christ ever in his heart."

There was also the prayer book which he carried. ANYWAY here is the prayer for today:


From Father John Guiliani
The Benedictine Grange
West Redding, Ct.


Sunday, January 28, 2007

Matthew Kelty Homilies

If you have never read the homilies of Father Mathew Kelty you have missed a treat.

Here the Homilies Are.

A Theology of Jesus

For some reason a convulsion of ideas has been bombarding me. An accident happened, I saw the movie Babel, I got involved with a war of words. Everything seems affected. Spirits are broken and words meanings disappear. Everything is out of sync. Everything that happens is out of order. It snows in California is just one example.

In Sunday School this morning we studied Jesus reply to the religious leaders seeking to trap him, "is it ok to heal on the sabbath." To them everything was clear - "this is what the law says."

More thoughts of Jesus came to mind, "you who are without sin cast the first stone," he says to those desiring to stone the prostitude.

As I considered this a thought occurred, "who is the ultimate authority Biblically speaking?" Paul, Peter, Moses, or Jesus. And this is my conclusion:


----Think about that for a minute. Is this another What Would Jesus Do scheme? Or, how would Jesus react? Paul says, "I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him." (Philippians 3:10).

Even Paul agrees, Jesus is the ultimate authority. THINK ABOUT THAT?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Eating Oatmeal

When I get spiritually unfit I eat oatmeal with brown sugar and milk for
breakfast. It is a monastery reminder of God's aliveness. At the abbey
oatmeal is the featured item each morning for breakfast, the food to
look forward to after lauds. So for me eating oatmeal is a spiritual
discipline. This morning I ate oatmeal ! What is your spiritual food?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Saddest Day of the Year

Yesterday, January 23rd, was according to newspaper accounts the Saddest Day of the Year. Yes, I felt the sadness, a creeping underlying sense of negatism that frightenly becomes a part of every day.

I don’t know when it began. For me my creativity has gone, my blog numbers are dropping, I have a loss of energy, I walk slower, and I read with less enthusiasm. There are several entries in this combination. For instance, I have been a big reader of the emergent church blogs but lately I have stopped because my interest has waned, or my favorite bloggers say the same thing day after day (me included). There is nothing new under the sun.

Or there is the news. It stays pretty much the same every day beginning with the number of roadside car bombings in Iraq. The numbers have been going up for years. Or there are the atheletics, a new Super Bowl (I couldn’t even remember who won it last year, can you?) is coming, Bobby Bonds tested positive for drugs (surprise surprise), and ten thousand candidates have entered the Presidential Race. It has just begun and I am tired of it. How in heaven’s name can we put up with this for 2 years every day? Why not let them all be President for a month then we could be done with them.

It may not effect you but it does me. Am I just tired or tired of the “same ole thing?” No wonder we are sad. There should be a name for it. We have a non-smoking day, maybe we should have a no news day, no sport day, a day for criminals to rest, con-man day off.

Now, I know you are saying, “who gives you this right to think like this.” You are just not patriotic. Or, where is your monastic spirit, your prayer thoughts, that are supposedly a part of your life?

Maybe it started with a sickness of a dear friend. She is fighting cancer valiantly but losing. There is anticipatory grief, right? Maybe that touches on everything, or someone in the family with a chronic illness, or even the dog that doesn’t obey. What about the hobby that becomes a chore instead of the joy, or is it just the many changes that seem to hit us, the people that leave and are no longer a part of our lives.

And then I read a book, The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. Great book, just depressing as it could be. Her grief after her husband’s death is real but too much for me to handle now. It has colored my thinking for days.

Guess this must end somewhere. I am looking forward to eating with a friend today and there are things to look forward to, just keep the TV cravings off, quit reading the paper, and maybe smile at someone with a frown. Who knows !!!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Canticles of Dan - #1

My dear precious Son, you MUST rest. Be calm through the night. Dream of my house.

At dawn eat of the fruit of thy labours. Read my word. Be strengthen by my will. Though you are old, you shall flourish, bearing fruit, your strength enough to give hope to your brothers.

I search.and know you. I have examined your heart. I have prayed for you to follow, to listen, to hear my word.

It is daybreak now.
Time to begin !

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Merton Question

Can you tell me the Merton book in which Merton says, " A man who
attempts to do  things for others or for the world without deepening his
own self understanding..."etc? It would be appreciated. I thank you.

Does anyone know the answer, I don't. (Dan)

To Think About in 2007


1. You accidentally enter your password on the microwave.

2.You haven't played solitaire with real cards in years.

3. You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of 3.

4. You e-mail the person who works at the desk next to you.

5. Your reason for not staying in touch with friends and family is that they don't have e-mail addresses.

6. You pull up in your own driveway and use your cell phone to see if anyone is home to help you carry in the groceries.

7 Every commercial on television has a web site at the bottom of the screen.

8. Leaving the house without your cell phone, which you didn't have the first 20 or 30 (or 60) years of your life, is now a cause for panic and you turn around to go and get it.

10. You get up in the morning and go on line before getting your coffee.

11. You start tilting your head sideways to smile.: )

12. You're reading this and nodding and laughing.

13. Even worse, you know exactly to whom you are going to forward this message.

14. You are too busy to notice there was no #9 on this list.

15. You actually scrolled back up to check that there wasn't a #9 on this list


Go on, forward this to your friends. You know you want to!!!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Birthday Girl

Birthday Girl
Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.
This is JJ's birthday. Our whole family is taking her to the Cheesecake

Factory. I got to the mall early and took a picture.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Winter Sunday

Playoff football NFL games continue. It seems to me the pro players play
harder this time of year.

68 degrees today. Cloudy. Keep expecting the winter ice storms to reach
us. Maybe rain only. It was 36 degrees in Los Angeles this morning.

Am considering buying the Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. It
deals with her grief after the death of her husband. How often I have
said that grief is a trickster, often derailing our thought processes,
working on every fiber of our being.

Has anyone read Didion's Book?

Saturday, January 13, 2007


Saw the movie Dreamgirls last night. Excellent movie, based somewhat on the life of the Supremes.

Today was catch up day. Breakfast at the Cracker Barrell with a friend. Then a couple of trips to Home Depot. Pick up shirts, fill up with gas, fix window hingers, new plywood for the basement floor, and assorted odds and ends, plus a couple of NFL football games.

Studying Nehemiah 8 for Sunday School in the morning.


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Prayer for Peace by Thomas Merton

(Editorial note: This Prayer for Peace was written by Thomas Merton and read in Congress on April18, 1962, and place in the Congressional Record. It was at the request of Frank Kowalksi, Congressman from Connecticut. Tomorrow Night President Bush gives his plans to increase troop strength by 20,000 in Iraq)


Save us then from our obsessions! Open our eyes, dissipate our confusions, teach us to understand ourselves and our adversary!...

Save us from the compulsion to follow our adversaries in all that we most hate, confirming them in their hatred and suspicion of us. Resolve our inner contradictions, which now grow beyond belief and beyond bearing.....Teach us to be long-suffering in anguish and insecurity.

Teach us to wait and trust.
Grant light, grant strength and patience to all who work for peace,
To this Congress, our President, our military forces, and our adversaries.

Grant us prudence in proportion to our power,
Wisdom in proportion to our science,
Humaneness in proportion to our wealth and might.
And bless our earnest will to help all races and peoples to travel, in friendship with us,
Along the road of justice, liberty and everlasting peace:
Grant us to seek peace where it is truly found!

In your will, O God, is our peace !


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Sunday, January 07, 2007

Thomas Merton on Saint John of the Cross

This is an excellent article by Merton on St. John of the Cross.

This is an article on New Monasticism. Of particular interest of mine is the part describing a retreat at New Camaldoli Hermitage of Big Sur which I visited this past August. An excellent article.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Thought About Politics in 2007

"There is no end to the rubbish." - Nehemiah 4:4

Thoughts on a Thursday Morning 2007

A little tough getting started in the New Year. Christmas Tree is still up. Did I tell you I am going to be a grandfather? It is not raining today, just cloudy. Am studying Nehemiah 4-7 for Sunday morning SS class. I finally got my office clean. Too much trash comes in the mail each day. I have problems throwing things away. Cuddles still malls poor Aiden. And Aiden is such a sweet cat. I am still looking for Godot. I heard Lewis Grizzard on XM radio and taped some of it. It brought back fond memories of him and his dog Catfish. I once made a pilgrimage to his gravesite. Football is wearing me out. Someone is always sick.

Tonight we eat out with the other grandparents ! We might take a family picture. There are some nice people in the world. I hope to get back in the groove soon. I don't read as many blogs as I use to. Only Sherwood, Creech, and Sista Smiff, what an odd combination.

Shanes BBQ Rib Shack that opened up near me is great. It was founded in McDonough, Ga., my hometown. Bruce got back from Hong Kong, Anita from Antartica to visit penguins. Today is Anna Seton's Day. She established her first catholic school in Baltimore in 1808.

"The Lord bless thee, and keep thee:
The Lord make his face to shine upon thee,
and be gracious unto thee:
The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee,
and give thee peace." (Number 6:24-26)


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

BROTHERS Ronald and Dan

Ronald and Dan
Originally uploaded by brotherdan44.
Compare this photo of 50 years ago with our
present picture.

Monday, January 01, 2007

New Year's Day 2007

For the 25th year we ate breakfast with Eli and Barbara Landrum and their family. We started this tradition after we both moved to the same area in Tennessee. We had been friends in Alabama previously. Then Eli and I watched several ball games. I am worn out from all of the excitement.

What is my verse for the year? From Psalm 24 it says, "Who is worthy to enter the house of the Lord." The answer is "he that has clean hands and a pure heart............shall be blessed."

I quit making resolutions several years ago. What are your resolutions? Or your verse for the year?