- Monday, 30 June 2014 07:37
The distinctive love by which Christians are recognized is not merely the result of an affectionate nature or the acquisition of skills or a suitably nurturing social situation. It is a gift of God which both fulfills and simultaneously surpasses our nature’s desire to be loved and to love.
Christian love (or agape) is the infusion of the divine lovableness and love into the human spirit, repairing the damage which love’s absence has wrought and lifting up the human to the level of the divine. Simultaneously, it is an upgrading of our perception so that we are able to see just how lovable our neighbor is.
This gift enable us to see through the objective failings of other persons to reach the inner core of their being, where everything is beautiful. This not a human quality or skill but a gift of God that is both sign and guarantee that we are already living on a supernatural plane.
Michael Casey, OCSO
Seventy-Four Tools For Good Living
- Tuesday, 25 September 2012 15:45
The Benedictine Abbots are going home now. They’ve
been meeting in Rome since the 17th. Their work was not deliberative
in any meaningful way as much as they gathered for the reason to elect an abbot primate, to gain perspective, to meet new and old monastic superiors, to hear how the worldwide Benedictines can assist one another in living the life more effectively and intensely according to the Holy Rule and the mind of the Church. Time was spent in prayer, study, and pilgrimage. How could one not spend time in prayer before the holy places of the martyrs in Rome as well as some of the central points of interest to Benedictines. Cindy Wooden from CNS published this
article today as a sort of synopsis of one aspect of Benedictine life–the
attraction of new members. Father Michael Casey, a Trappist monk, priest, author and speaker, addressed the assembly. He, by the way, is one of my favorite contemporary monastic thinkers. If only the abbots and other monastic superiors would listen to Father Michael. Alas, they’re too timid and many can’t (won’t?) do the hard work necessary to figure out what they ought to do so as to not live in diminishment mode. One often gets the feeling that some monasteries would rather die than alter their Benedictine observance and the adherence to Christ and the Church. But, I will say that despite a lack of clear and intense thinking, praying and living, there are significant points of like for Benedictine monasticism in the USA.
What follows is an extract of what was published (read the text in full here):
One of the main speakers at the Benedictine abbots’
congress was Cistercian Father Michael Casey, an expert on monastic
spirituality from Tarrawarra Abbey in Australia.
Maintaining tradition while
responding to changing needs is an inescapable part of life, both for
individuals and for religious communities, he said. “The fact that we are
alive means that we are continually influenced by our past, continually
interacting with our present, and looking forward to the future. It’s really
just a matter of personal integrity, personal vitality that we do respect and
allow our past to continue speaking to us.”
Read more ...
- Monday, 28 May 2012 10:55
I am slowly reading a book written by Dom Michael Casey, a Cistercian monk from the Abbey of Tarrawara (Australia), The Road to Eternal Life, a series of reflections on the Prologue of the Rue of St Benedict. With all the talk of being a good witness and yesterday’s emphasis on our destiny in Christ, I thought Dom Michael’s reflection on boasting in the Lord makes some sense for us today. I recommend the book.
“And again he says, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord’.” (2 Cor 10:17 quoted in the Rule of St Benedict, Prologue v. 32)
The one in the New Testament who speaks most about boastfulness is Saint Paul. He sees boasting as an expression of an autonomy that weakens a person’s total reliance on God-that is, it weakens faith. Those who think that religion is simply a matter of conforming to the precepts of the law, or perhaps so twisting the precepts of the law so that they are comfortable, have not yet learned the art of putting their trust in God, relying on God’s mercy. They are locked into the schemes of self-perfection that they themselves have crafted. The end of such self-assurance can be only disaster. As Saint Ignatius of Antioch wrote to Polycarp, “The one who boasts has already come to nothing”.
Read more ...
- Tuesday, 20 March 2012 06:16
Compunction involves a moment of awakening, the first
glimmer of enlightenment, the dawning of a new day lived against a different
horizon. St. John Cassian, one of Benedict’s principal sources, defines
compunction as whatever can by God’s grace waken our lukewarm and sleepy souls
This definition seems to envisage us living our spiritual
lives in a slumberous state of half-wakefulness. The grace of compunction is
the transition to a state of fuller awareness.
The great difference between the
saints and the rest of us is that they were spiritually awake more of the time
than we are; they were alert to possibilities. It is because they went through
life in a state of greater consciousness that they were more conscientious in
doing good and avoiding evil.
We who stumble through life with many mistakes
and omissions admire their saintly deeds but without necessarily realizing that
perhaps we could imitate them more closely if our spiritual senses were not so
Michael Casey, OCSO
The Road to Eternal Life