Tuesday, April 29, 2008

New Abbot of Gethsemani

April 29, 2008 --

Fr Elias Dietz was elected 10th abbot of our monastery today.  His
mandate is for a six year term.  Currently serving at the Order's
headquarters in Rome, he will return here soon.  Fr Elias is a native of
St Louis, Missouri, born in 1959, entered Gethsemani in 1988, and
ordained to the priesthood in 2003.

Further details will follow.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Mustard Seeds


I originally wrote this sermon in 1978. It is based on Matthew 13:31-32.
Basically the sermon deals with a question the disciples are concerned
with, "Jesus, how can we find meaning, joy, happiness, and calm
serenity in our lives?"

It is in response to this question that he shares the parable. "The
Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted
in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it
grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that
the birds of the air come and perch in its branches."

The mood of the timing is one of discouragement. A few sick people have
been healed but actually Nothing Seems to be Happening. Many times our
lives are like that, getting through one day at a time, nothing
happening worth mentioning.

Also, the disciples were discouraged because they had left their fishing
business to follow this itinerant preacher. "I'll make you fishermen
of men," he said. So financially the fishing business was dying, the
boats rusting in the harbor, the big fisherman (Peter) along with the
rest anxious, without results.

"You sure made a bad trade, Peter," says his friends. And for us it
is similar. This Christianity is not always a big joy ride, miracles
after miracles, life changing events, and peoples lives turned around.
Sometimes it is just difficult to get out of bed, especially in our line
of work. Deaths, illness, deadlines, and too much happening in our jobs
that leaves us little energy. We are not always on the mountaintop.

Two notes are worth looking at:

David Brainerd was a missionary to the Indians. He grew discouraged and
said, "My circumstances are such, that I have no comfort of any kind.
I have little appearance of success to comfort me. I can do nothing to
any good purpose. The Indians hat me because I preach to them…….and
he adds that the greatest difficulty of all is that, "God hides his
face from me."

2.      Then there is Frank Laubach, a missionary to the
Philippines, who wrote in 1930 that he realized he was failing as a

It is in response to this nothing happening problem that Jesus says,
"Start Where You Are, Plant a tiny seed." In other words start where
you are with what you have. We all have gifts. Are we using them? The
smile that changes the reflection on another's face. The comforting
word that comes from our mouth. Helping another. Look at your gifts and
start where you are.

Secondly Jesus says, "Wait Patiently." You mean the tree doesn't
grow over night? How many of us have planted a garden and watch everyday
to see when it would bare fruit?

Daniel prayed for deliverance from Lions and from hopelessness and
finally God says, "From the first day thy words have been heard. But
the prince of darkness withstood me for 21 days, but finally Michael
came to help."  Be patient. Wait for the fruit.

And the results of the waiting.

David Brainerd writes: "They were praying and crying for mercy in
every part of the house. I never saw any day like it."

And Frank Laubach, the failing missionary, helped 60 million people
learn to read and write in 209 different languages and wrote a popular
book on prayer.

And the Apostle Peter, the errant fisherman, preached a sermon and
thousands of people were converted to the Lord.

So, be a mustard seed. Start where you are and Wait Patiently. The day
will come when the tree will be filled with birds and leaves and people
whose lives you have touched.

Remember: Be a mustard seed.

Bro. Dan

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Abbot Election

On Tuesday, April 29th, the Abbey of Gethsemani will elect a new abbot.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wednesday 5 pm

Car washed. A rarity. Garage swept ouy. Home early. Beautiful weather. A
perfect day for the groundhog.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Bob Harper and Are You Ready

An interesting day. My wife threw me out of the house to have a hen
party so I needed to find something to do. First, I went to the
Nashville Film Festival and saw the movie Young at Heart about older
people singing rock and roll songs. "I feel good !" An enthusiastic
movie. Wow. This follows me seeing Mrs. Paltray at the Clairmont (2005),
about a woman in her 80's trying to live on her own, then I saw Separate
Tables (1958) which it was loosely based on.

After the movie I went to Davis Kidd to look at books. Hundreds of
people were there waiting to hear some speaker named, Bob Harper who had
written ARE YOU READY. I waited for his speech and discovered he was a
tv star, sometrhing called The Biggest Loser. Not a bad speech. The
audience was mostly younger people wanting to lose weight and be pretty.
Interesting. Then to Panera Bread for French Onion soup. How much
excitement can a person have in one day?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


"Vigilance is poised attentiveness to the spiritual environment,
sensitive awareness of the presence and purpose of God in our midst."
(John Mogabgab, Weavings, December 2007)

I am leading a conference today on Spirituality and Healing. I have been
preparing this conference for 4 months. It is time to get the job done.

It frosted this morning. Temperature was 30 degrees.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Barack Obama or Hillary: Out of Touch?

In an area of Tennessee where my families live, it is a tough time. My
brother-in-law's company moved to Mexico in the last year. He is
unemployed with no job in prospect. I have a niece unemployed who lost
her job because of an on the job injury. The list is lengthy of family
members whose companies left the country. Jobs are slim and

I guess I am crazy but Barack Obama's quotes made sense to me. I know
what it is like to lose one's lively hood and the hopelessness it
causes. Yes, one prays more. Yes, even tears come.

But Hillary says, "that has not been my experience." I'm glad for you
Hillary. I imagine it is difficult living on $109 million dollars. But
it seems to me, that if you were without a job and money for about 2
years you might gain enough humility to get in touch with hard working
unemployed workers, then maybe you would be worth voting for. Who is out
of touch?

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Fw: AM with Merton (The desert)

"The climate in which monastic prayer flowers is that of the desert,
where the comfort of man is absent, where the secure routines of man's
city offer no support, and where prayer must be sustained by God in the
purity of faith. Even though he may live in a community, the monk is
bound to explore the inner waste of his own being as a solitary. the
Word of God which is s comfort is also his distress. The liturgy,
is his joy and which reveals to him the glory of God, cannot fill a
heart that has not previously been humbled and emptied of dread.
Alleluia is the song of the desert."


What is my climate for prayer, what support do I find there?



"Lord of the loving heart, may mine be loving too,
Lord of the gentle heart, may mine be gentle too.
Lord of the willing feet, may mine be willing too,
So may I grow more like you
In all I say or do. Amen"

Friday, April 04, 2008

Writings by Dan Phillips

Have you ever wondered if Dan Phillips has written anything else? If so
check out this link.