Breathing with Brother Ronald

Poosh goes the little oxygen tank. Every three seconds, a little burst of air forced through the clear plastic tubes running around his ears and under his nose. I am sitting in the chapel of Holy Cross Monastery in West Park, New York. After the long chanting of Psalms we rest in silence. That’s when…

Thinking Big Enough

“If your life’s work can be accomplished in your lifetime, you’re not thinking big enough.” -Wes Jackson   Those words gave me pause—a big pause. I read them in an article about sustainable agriculture (as a South Dakota native it’s sad to see the systematic poisoning of the earth as the basis for our agri-business). Wes…

How to be a Saint

(It’s All Saints Day.) The saints are always those who are able to do deeds of power—sometimes great things and sometimes very small things, but powerful works. Sometimes their mere presence creates blessing and peace. Goodness follows in their wake. They are like Jesus who “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38). This goodness, though, easily…

Abba Moses and the Leaky Jug

Yesterday I sat in the second pew at St. Stephen’s church in Richmond, Virginia. There to speak later in the morning, I was worshiping at the 9 o’clock Eucharist. My friend Gary Jones preached—masterfully—on that well-known parable from Luke. Two men go up to the temple to pray, a Pharisee and a tax collector. The…

Helen Keller and F-a-l-l

Where I live, the trees are in beautiful death swoons, immolating in falling flames of red and gold, orange and brown. Last week, after I finished my morning run I walked the rest of the way home. A few feet from the front door I noticed—the glory all around me! How had I run through…