A Monkish Friendship: Fr. Charles Cummings, OCSO (1940-2020)

“The monastic night watch is good practice in the art of waiting, as we patiently look for the coming of dawn. Monks and nuns wait in the dark, longing for the light of dawn but unable to hasten its coming. No one can force the dawn or bring it about in any way. It dawnsContinue reading “A Monkish Friendship: Fr. Charles Cummings, OCSO (1940-2020)”

The Absurd Vocation

“One person plus one typewriter constitutes a movement.” –Pauli Murray Coming off a week-long class on activism, organizing and social movements in Durham, North Carolina (and my first full year of seminary at CTS), I climb back into the quiet walls of a Kentucky monastery: Gethsemani Abbey. Here, the silence seeps into my bones likeContinue reading “The Absurd Vocation”

Carl McColman Interviews Cassidy Hall

How did you get inspired to create a film about Thomas Merton and his hermitage?

Encounters with Silence – Thomas Merton’s Hermitage

To go seeking for something which cannot be sought. To go on looking for something which cannot be found. To attempt to do something which cannot be done.

The Uncertainty of Silence

(This will be among the many essays featured in the forthcoming book Notes on Silence that I’m co-authoring with Patrick Shen which can be purchased here.) “…I want to be with those who know secret things or else alone…” Rainer Maria Rilke I was around 8 years old when I began to have reoccurring dreams aboutContinue reading “The Uncertainty of Silence”

When Letting Go Is Holding On

“My dishonesty with myself and others hinders the honesty of all humanity, hinders the progress of all people.” Journal entry on 2/12/12 In 2012 I made the decision to let go of some certainty in my life for the sake of exploring something unknown. I quit my job. I quit my salary-paying, insurance-giving job full of securityContinue reading “When Letting Go Is Holding On”

“Cassidy Hall found silence in an Iowa monastery and brought her discoveries to a new documentary” Des Moines Register

“A cricket chirped in the monastery’s library. That and the swish of a turned page, Thomas Merton’s “New Seeds of Contemplation,” was about it for sound. Cassidy Hall stopped on page 81. Merton did not write on the absence of sound on that page but the abyss of solitude in the soul: “You do notContinue reading ““Cassidy Hall found silence in an Iowa monastery and brought her discoveries to a new documentary” Des Moines Register”

The Voice of the Heart

Listening to the voice of my heart has never come easy for me. I’m usually quick to assume a present feeling is final, an agony is forever, or that all of my questions should have answers and answers NOW.

The Great Anesthetic of Modern Day Life

(Originally posted on The Huffington Post Blog.) “The world is like an anesthetic… people are not going beyond the superficial to the meaning of life — they don’t even ask that question because they’re caught up in that anesthetizing process.” A Monk of Holy Trinity Abbey, Utah I woke up this morning with an overwhelmingContinue reading “The Great Anesthetic of Modern Day Life”

When Doing Nothing is Doing Everything

As originally posted on Huffington Post and Patheos: “Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving.” Bell Hooks This time, after jumping in my car, no maps were necessary as I navigated my way towards New Mellerary Abbey for the 10th time since 2011. Maybe I had gone enough times to know my way,Continue reading “When Doing Nothing is Doing Everything”