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"Charter, Customs, and Constitutions of the Cistercians"

Initiation into the Monastic Tradition 7

Thomas Merton; Edited by Patrick F. O'Connell; Preface by John Eudes Bamberger, OCSO

As master of novices for ten years (1955–1965) at the Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani in Kentucky, Thomas Merton was responsible for the spiritual formation of young men preparing for monastic profession. In this volume, three related sets of Merton's conferences on ancient and contemporary documents governing the lives of the monks are published for the first time:on the Carta Caritatis, or Charter of Charity, the foundational document of the Order of Cîteaux on the Consuetudines, the twelfth-century collection of customs and regulations of the Orderon the twentieth-century Constitutions of the Order, the basic rules by which Merton and his students actually lived at the timeThese conferences form an essential part of the overall picture of Cistercian monastic life that Merton provided as part of his project of "initiation into the monastic tradition" that is evident in the broad variety of courses that he put together and taught over the period of his mastership.As Abbot John Eudes Bamberger, ocso, himself a former student of Merton, notes in his preface to this volume, "The texts presented in this present book eventually gave rise to the Cistercian way of spiritual living that continues to contribute to the Church's witness in this new millennium. This publication is a witness to the process of transformation that ensures the continuity of the Catholic monastic tradition that witnesses to the God who, as Saint Augustine observed is, 'ever old and ever new.'"Thomas Merton (1915–1968), Catholic convert, Cistercian monk and hermit, poet, contemplative, social critic, and pioneer of interreligious dialogue, was a seminal figure of twentieth-century American Christianity.Patrick F. O'Connell is professor of English and theology at Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania. A founding member and former president of the International Thomas Merton Society, he edits The Merton Seasonal and is coauthor of The Thomas Merton Encyclopedia. He has edited six previous volumes of Thomas Merton's monastic conferences for the Monastic Wisdom Series, most recently, The Life of the Vows (2012), and is also editor of Thomas Merton: Early Essays, 1947–1952 (2015).

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Solutions to Thirty-Eight Questions

Hildegard of Bingen; Translated by Beverly Mayne Kienzle with Jenny C. Bledsoe and Stephen H. Behnke; Introduction and Notes by Beverly Mayne Kienzle with Jenny C. Bledsoe

Perhaps the least studied of Hildegard of Bingen's writings, Solutions to Thirty-Eight Questions is translated in this volume into English for the first time from the original Latin.In this work of exegesis, Hildegard (1098-1179) resolves thorny passages of Scripture, theological questions, and two issues in hagiographic texts. Solutions to Thirty-Eight Questions joins Hildegard's Homilies on the Gospels, which were directed to her nuns, as evidence of the seer's exegetical writing as well as her authority as an exegete. The twelfth-century saint wrote in standard genres of exegesis—homilies and solutiones—and her interpretations of Scripture were widely sought, including by male audiences.Beverly Mayne Kienzle is the John H. Morison Professor of the Practice in Latin and Romance Languages and lecturer on medieval Christianity at Harvard Divinity School. Her research and writing focus on the place of preaching and sermons in the history of medieval religion and on evidence for women's preaching in monastic, lay, and dissident communities. Her publications include Hildegard of Bingen: Homilies on the Gospels from Cistercian Publications and Hildegard of Bingen and Her Gospel Homilies: Speaking New Mysteries. Kienzle has also co-edited Hildegard of Bingen's Expositiones euangeliorum and A Handbook on Hildegard of Bingen.

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Reading Matthew with Monks

Liturgical Interpretation in Anglo-Saxon England

Derek A. Olsen; Foreword by Luke Timothy Johnson

In Reading Matthew with Monks, Derek Olsen seeks to evaluate whether early medieval monastic biblical interpreters can serve as effective conversation partners for modern readers who are committed to broadening their reading of Scripture. Olsen puts the interpretations of four modern Scripture commentaries in conversation with Ælfric of Eynsham's interpretations of four texts from the Gospel of Matthew. In so doing, he clarifies early medieval monastic interpretive contexts and assesses their usefulness in modern scholarship. As outsiders in modern critical debates, Ælfric and his sources may provide alternative approaches or perspectives that open interpretive possibilities where modern interpreters are locked in disagreement. Early medieval monastic interpreters can serve as excellent guides for understanding the potential for moral, spiritual, or formative meanings of a biblical text. By adding their voices to modern hermeneutics, modern readers can find new depth in biblical texts.Derek Olsen earned a PhD in New Testament from Emory University in 2011. His research focuses on the intersection between Scripture and liturgy, and he currently serves on the Episcopal Church's Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music.

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Sant'Anselmo in Rome

College and University; From the Beginnings to the Present Day

Abbot Pius EngelbertTranslated by Henry O'Shea, OSB

Sant'Anselmo in Rome was founded in 1888 by Pope Leo XIII for the training of Benedictines from all over the world in philosophy and theology. To this day, Sant'Anselmo is characterized by the interplay between the Benedictine College and the university entrusted to it, the Pontificio Ateneo di Sant'Anselmo, which for decades has also welcomed non-Benedictine students.For well over a century Sant'Anselmo has had a strong influence on Benedictine monasteries on every continent while providing a lasting service to the Universal Church through the pursuit of academic liturgical and theological studies. What were the burning issues and events in the history of Sant'Anselmo? What was the guiding spirit among professors and students in the different periods of Sant'Anselmo's existence? How did one live in the College? These are just a few of the questions addressed by Abbot Pius Engelbert's history of the College and University.Pius Engelbert, OSB, is the former abbot of the Abbey of St. Joseph at Gerleve in Westphalia, Germany. For many years he was professor of ecclesiastical history at Sant'Anselmo, where he was also responsible for the reorganization of the institute's archives.

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Pillars Of Community

Four Rules of Pre-Benedictine Monastic Life

Terrence Kardong, OSB

Anyone who has explored a great Romanesque church has been impressed, even awed, by the mighty stone foundations supporting the great central tower. As four pillars give a firm base to these soaring structures, so four ancient Rules stand beneath the foundations of Western monasticism, giving a structure on which later spiritual architects, Benedict among them, would build. In this book Terrence Kardong explores the lives and Rules of four of the earliest monastic writers—Basil, Pachomius, Augustine, and the anonymous author of the rules of Lérins. In engaging fashion he shows how the lives and social milieu of these earliest founders shaped their monasticism. For example, readers will learn that: Basil of Caesarea learned the monastic way from his sister Macrina. Augustine shunned the term "monk" because of the bad reputation of local monks associated with the Donatist heresy. Pachomian Rule instructs on the use of boats and how to hang out the wash in the burning Egyptian sun. The Rules of Lérins begin with a call to community but then focus their attention on the superior. Yet as varied as these Rules are, they are based on the same fundamental understanding of what a Christian monk and a Christian community should be; thus they furnish a solid foundation for the great edifice still to come. Terrence Kardong, OSB, is a monk of Assumption Abbey in Richardton, North Dakota. He is editor of American Benedictine Review and author of Benedict’s Rule, Day by Day with Saint Benedict, and Life of St. Benedict by Gregory the Great, all published by Liturgical Press.

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Discernment Matters

Listening with the Ear of the Heart

Mary Margaret Funk, OSB Afterword by Dom Armand Veilleux, OCSO

After fifty years of monastic life, prayer, and spiritual direction, Meg Funk knows what it means to listen with the ear of one's heart to the Holy Spirit. In Discernment Matters, she shares what she has learned. This book is a resource for those who want to learn and practice discernment as taught by the early monastic tradition. It includes an accessible summary of teachings about discernment from monastic traditions of late antiquity, consideration of important tools for making decisions today, and practical examples from the lives of St. Benedict and St. Patrick, as well as from the experience of monastics today. With this fifth volume of the Matters Series, Funk completes one of the most comprehensive presentations of the spiritual life available today, demonstrating why this inner work is both necessary and such a joy. Mary Margaret Funk is a Benedictine nun of Our Lady of Grace Monastery, Beech Grove, Indiana. From 1994 through 2004, she served as executive director of Monastic Interreligious Dialogue, which fosters dialogue among monastics of the world's religions. In addition to the volumes of the Matters Series, she is the author of Islam Is…: An Experience of Dialogue and Devotion and Into the Depths: A Journey of Loss and Vocation.

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The Universal Monk

The Way of the New Monastics

John Michael Talbot

The Universal Monk is about the monk in all of us. In today's fast-paced and often fractured culture we all seek inner peace and unity. The Universal Monk is a powerful way for everyone of any state of life to find it. It is written from John Michael Talbot's experience in public international ministry and as founder and spiritual father of the Brothers and Sisters of Charity, a new integrated monastic community of celibates, singles who can marry, and families who live in an integrated monastery or in their own homes. It walks us through a treatment of the current issues that face us—such as the great recession, political polarization, and the sex abuse crises in the church—with real spiritual and lifestyle answers that come from a fully unified and integrated life in God. If you are tired of the "same old, same old," this book is for you! John Michael Talbot was born in Oklahoma City in 1954 and grew up in Indianapolis. He moved to Arkansas and founded the Brothers and Sisters of Charity at Little Portion Hermitage in 1982, which he still serves as minister general. He was a founding artist of Sparrow Records in 1976. After a successful career with Sparrow, in 1992 John Michael founded his own record label, Troubadour for the Lord, and is now recognized as one of Catholic music’s most popular artists. Talbot is author of Reflections on St. Francis (Liturgical Press). He has been married to Viola Talbot since 1989 and leads an active concert and teaching ministry from his home at Little Portion Hermitage Monastery.

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Humility Matters

Toward Purity of Heart

Mary Margaret Funk, OSB

Humility Matters makes the claims that humility is for a disciple of Jesus Christ what enlightenment is for a Buddhist, realization for a Hindu, surrender for a Muslim, and righteousness for a Jew. It is the unmistakable character of one who has accepted the vocation to undertake the spiritual journey. It is at the core of our experience of life in Christ. Meg Funk guides readers deeper into a life of humility by following the movement of what the early Christians called the four renunciations: to renounce our former way of life, our thoughts of our former way of life, our self-made thoughts of God, and our self-made thoughts of ourselves. With the help of the compelling examples of St. Benedict, St. Teresa of Jesus, and St. Therese of Lisieux, Funk shows the way to ongoing conversion of mind, heart, and way of life. Mary Margaret Funk is a Benedictine nun of Our Lady of Grace Monastery, Beech Grove, Indiana. From 1994 through 2004, she served as executive director of Monastic Interreligious Dialogue, which fosters dialogue among monastics of the world's religions. In addition to the volumes of the Matters Series, she is the author of Islam Is…: An Experience of Dialogue and Devotion and Into the Depths: A Journey of Loss and Vocation.

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Monks and Muslims

Monastic and Shi'a Spirituality in Dialogue

Edited by Mohammad Ali Shomali and William Skudlarek, OSB

If Christians and Muslims are to live in peace, encouraging one another to grow in holiness and working together for the good of all God's creation, they must move beyond politicized and often negative images of one another. Monastic/Muslim dialogue—issuing from friendship and focused on revelation, prayer, and witness—is an important component in this effort. Indeed, it is essential. Monastic Interreligious Dialogue is a commission of the Benedictine Confederation that promotes and coordinates dialogue between Catholic monastic men and women and spiritual practitioners of other religious traditions. The organization invited Iranian Shi'a Muslims and Christian monastics to share their faith in a revealing God, their understanding and practice of prayer, and their desire to be witnesses to the world of divine mercy and justice. This book invites readers to listen in and learn from their conversation. Mohammad Ali Shomali is the author of several books, including Ethical Relativism: An Analysis of the Foundations of Morality, Discovering Shi'a Islam, and Shi'a Islam: Origins, Faith & Practices. He is also coeditor of Catholics & Shi'a in Dialogue: Studies in Theology & Spirituality, Catholic-Shi'a Engagement: Reason & Faith in Theory and Practice, and A Catholic-Shi'a Dialogue: Ethics in Today's Society. William Skudlarek is a monk of Saint John's Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota, and Secretary General of Monastic Interreligious Dialogue. His books include The Attentive Voice: Reflections on the Meaning and Practice of Interreligious Dialogue and Demythologizing Celibacy: Practical Wisdom from Christian and Buddhist Monasticism.

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Tools Matter

Beginning the Spiritual Journey

Mary Margaret Funk, OSB

How can we tend the garden of our souls? Meg Funk turns to the wisdom of the desert fathers for the means of removing obstacles to spiritual growth, which include thoughts of food, sex, possessions, anger, dejection, and pride, among other preoccupations. Redirecting thought away from such weeds in the garden of the spirit can lead to a greater awareness of God and purity of prayer. This method to mental discipline may seem impossible at first, Funk admits, but those who succeed at it are rewarded with a liberating experience as they come to observe and control individual thought processes. Drawing on the writings of the fifth-century monk John Cassian, Funk goes on to explore deeply using such tools as memory, imagination, and rational thinking&mdashtools right out of early Christianity—to work on inner healing. She also explains how other positive tools, such as ceaseless prayer, manual labor, and isolation, may lead to uncluttering the mind and purifying the heart. Mary Margaret Funk is a Benedictine nun of Our Lady of Grace Monastery, Beech Grove, Indiana. From 1994 through 2004, she served as executive director of Monastic Interreligious Dialogue, which fosters dialogue among monastics of the world's religions. In addition to the volumes of the Matters Series, she is the author of Islam IsHow can we tend the garden of our souls? Meg Funk turns to the wisdom of the desert fathers for the means of removing obstacles to spiritual growth, which include thoughts of food, sex, possessions, anger, dejection, and pride, among other preoccupations. Redirecting thought away from such weeds in the garden of the spirit can lead to a greater awareness of God and purity of prayer. This method to mental discipline may seem impossible at first, Funk admits, but those who succeed at it are rewarded with a liberating experience as they come to observe and control individual thought processes. Drawing on the writings of the fifth-century monk John Cassian, Funk goes on to explore deeply using such tools as memory, imagination, and rational thinking&mdashtools right out of early Christianity&mdashto work on inner healing. She also explains how other positive tools, such as ceaseless prayer, manual labor, and isolation, may lead to uncluttering the mind and purifying the heart. Mary Margaret Funk is a Benedictine nun of Our Lady of Grace Monastery, Beech Grove, Indiana. From 1994 through 2004, she served as executive director of Monastic Interreligious Dialogue, which fosters dialogue among monastics of the world's religions. In addition to the volumes of the Matters Series, she is the author of Islam Is…: An Experience of Dialogue and Devotion and Into the Depths: A Journey of Loss and Vocation.

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Pleading, Cursing, Praising

Conversations with God through the Psalms

Irene Nowell, OSB

Irene Nowell's work would be both impressive and important if she were "only" a masterful Scripture scholar or a gifted spiritual guide or a compelling teacher. The fact that she is all three makes her an extraordinary resource for Christians today. In Pleading, Cursing, Praising, Nowell puts all of these gifts to use to offer a guide to praying with the psalms. Nowell maintains that the psalms teach us to tell our story, to cry out our pain, and to give praise to God. They also teach us to listen—to the voice of God, the voice of Christ, the voices of the people around us, and the voice of all creation. This book includes questions and exercises for personal reflection, brief prayers for praying along the way, and suggestions for composing one's own psalm-prayers. It promises to enrich the spiritual life of everyone who reads it. Irene Nowell, OSB, is a member of the Benedictine community of Mount Saint Scholastica in Atchison, Kansas. She served on the translation team of the revised Old Testament of the New American Bible and the Committee on Illuminations and Texts for The Saint John's Bible. Nowell is a past president of the Catholic Biblical Association. She is the author of Numbers (of the New Collegeville Bible Commentary), Sing a New Song: The Psalms in the Sunday Lectionary, and Women in the Old Testament, all published by Liturgical Press.

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Living in the House of God

Monastic Essays

Margaret Malone, SGS; Foreword by Michael Casey, OCSO

"How should we live in this house of God? We know that the way a building is shaped also helps in determining the way those within it live and relate. We are indeed formed by what we form. Qualities such as integrity, hospitality, humanity and beauty in a place will enable its dwellers to live lives in which such qualities are evident. The way we understand who we are and how we live will be reflected in our places and vice versa. Our places become bearers of meaning and memory." —From Chapter 1In Living in the House of God, Margaret Malone draws on her study of and research on the Rule of Saint Benedict to show the ways in which this ancient rule can illuminate modern life. The broad gamut of topics this book examines—from Benedictine life as sacrament to Augustine's influence on Benedict to obedience and the art of listening, among others—is itself a witness to the generous flexibility of the Rule, as Benedict proposes a way of life that truly corresponds to the deepest needs of the whole of human nature.Margaret Malone, SGS, is a member of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan of the Order of St Benedict. She trained as a teacher and taught at all levels; her last appointment was as a lecturer at Australian Catholic University where she taught sacraments, liturgy, and social justice. Since then, her main work has been in formation throughout her own order and with the Benedictine monks at New Norcia. She gives retreats internationally and nationally.

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In the Valley of Wormwood

Cistercian Blessed and Saints of the Golden Age

Thomas Merton; Edited with an Introduction by Patrick Hart; Foreword by Brian Patrick McGuire

Shortly after entering the monastic life in December 1941, a relatively unknown Trappist monk called Frater Louis-who would later be known to the world by his given name, Thomas Merton-began to pen biographical sketches of early Cistercian blessed and saints. These were initially collected, printed, and bound inexpensively, with no mention of the author, by the Abbey of Gethsemani. They are now published here for a wide audience for the first time.This work of the very young Merton perhaps takes on added significance when one considers the writing that lay just ahead of him at the time. In 1948, his autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain, was published and soon became an unexpected national bestseller. This long-awaited publication of In the Valley of Wormwood offers a window into Merton's thinking and his spiritual life just a few years before his phenomenal autobiography would see the light of day.Thomas Merton (1915–1968) was a monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani, Kentucky. He was a renowned writer, theologian, poet, and social activist.Patrick Hart, OCSO, a native of Green Bay, Wisconsin, entered the Abbey of Gethsemani in 1951 and served as secretary to Thomas Merton during the last year of his life. He has edited many books by and about Thomas Merton during the thirty-eight years since the latter's death on December 10, 1968. He has served on the board of directors for Cistercian Publications for the past thirty years.

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A Listening Community

A Commentary on the Prologue and Chapters 1-3 of Benedict's Rule

Sr. Aquinata BöckmannTranslated by Matilda Handl and Marianne BurkhardEdited by Marianne Burkhard

This new book by Sister Aquinata Böckmann discusses the Prologue and chapters 1, 2, and 3 of the Rule of St. Benedict. In a lectio regulae she plumbs the depths of Benedict's vision. Listen, the first word of the Prologue, is a keyword that describes the main stance of the individual monastic, the superior, and the entire community. Listening to the Scriptures and in them to Christ guides individuals and the community on how to "run on the way of God's commandments" toward the goal of communal life in and with Christ. The first three chapters of the Rule concretize the principles of this communal spirituality of listening: the importance of a rule and a pastor for maintaining the community's attentiveness to life; the superior's responsibility to listen to individuals within the community; and the mutual listening between leader and community members, regardless of their age.As in her earlier books Sister Aquinata proves to be a true guide into the spirit of Benedict's Rule, which provides sound principles for listening in common in a community of life.Aquinata Böckmann, OSB, PhD, is a member of the Benedictine Missionary Sisters of Tutzing, Germany. She has taught in Rome since 1973 at the Pontifical Institute for Spirituality and Moral Theology Regina Mundi and as the first woman professor at Sant' Anselmo. She is the author of Perspectives on the Rule of Saint Benedict and Around the Monastic Table, also published by Liturgical Press.

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Blessings of St. Benedict

John Michael Talbot

Blessings of St. Benedict is a devotional that brings the Rule of St. Benedict to all people of every state of life. In these brief and accessible reflections on this ancient monastic rule, John Michael Talbot offers simple and timeless monastic wisdom for everyone. Dipping into the well of spirituality that is both practical and mystical, this book is designed for both monastics and monastics at heart. John Michael Talbot was born in Oklahoma City in 1954 and grew up in Indianapolis. He moved to Arkansas and founded the Brothers and Sisters of Charity at Little Portion Hermitage in 1982, an integrated monastic community of celibates, singles who can marry, families, and domestics who live in their own homes. He still serves as minister general. He was a founding artist of Sparrow Records in 1976. After a successful career with Sparrow, in 1992 John Michael founded his own record label, Troubadour for the Lord, and is now recognized as one of Catholic music's most popular artists. Talbot is author of Reflections on St. Francis (Liturgical Press, 2009) and The Universal Monk (Liturgical Press, 2011). He has been married to Viola Talbot since 1989 and leads an active concert and teaching ministry from his home at Little Portion Hermitage Monastery.

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