One Thing: In Honor of Richard Meux Benson SSJE – Br. David Vryhof

R.M. Benson – I Kings 19:9-12; Psalm 27:5-11; I John 4:7-12; John 15:9-17

Today we remember the founder of our community, Fr. Benson, who died on this day in 1915.  We have received a great deal from him, and his example and teaching continue to inspire our life and mission today.

Fr. Benson was a man who made a strong impression on those he met.  One of his contemporaries described him as “shabby, untidy, ill-kempt, and quite eccentric,” but at the same time claimed that  there was “a divine tenderness (that) shone through all that was most uncouth” (p.19).  It seemed to those who knew him that his gaze was always fixed on things above, which were just as real to him – and far more valuable – than things below.  He lived in the presence of God. “He conveyed a sense of the immediacy and nearness of God,” says Donald Allchin.  “There was something in him and around him which spoke of eternal and heavenly realities” (A.M. Allchin, in Benson of Cowley, p. 19).   Read More

The Widow’s Mite – Br. Eldridge Pendleton

1 Kings 17: 8-16;
Psalm 146;
Hebrews 9: 24-28;
Mark 12: 38-44

One of the most brilliant and talented of the first generation of Father Benson’s spiritual sons, Arthur Hall, who later served as Episcopal Bishop of Vermont for 38 years, was also a gifted spiritual director.  When Jack and Isabella Gardner moved their membership to the Church of the Advent on Bowdoin Street in 1873, Mrs. Gardner sought him out for counsel and Hall very shortly assumed the responsibility for her spiritual formation.  At the time Hall was 25, attractive and a recent graduate of Christ Church, Oxford.  Mrs. Gardner was mourning the death of her only child.    Read More

The Gift of Desire – Br. Curtis Almquist

We could call this gospel story a picture of “lobbying” in the first century. “Would you do us a favor?” James and John ask Jesus. And like a good politician, Jesus responds, “It depends…” “What do you want?” And so there’s this story we’ve just heard: James and John jockeying to position themselves for when Jesus arrives in Jerusalem and is, presumably, inaugurated. They want to be “at his right hand and his left hand….” Of course they think they are asking for key positions in his royal entourage, which would never materialize, at least not on the terms for which they are asking. Jesus was on his way to Jerusa­lem to be crowned, but crowned in thorns, not in gold. We have the benefit of hindsight. We can see that, in actuality, James and John get what they want but not what they thought, at least not what they thought at the time of their “lobbying” Jesus. Read More

The Christmas Gift – Br. Curtis Almquist

Br. Curtis AlmquistLuke 2:1-20

This evening, during the serving of Holy Communion, we will be invited to sing the very familiar, “O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie!” The words of this hymn were penned by the great Boston preacher, Phillips Brooks, in the 19th century, a very different world than we know today.i Read More

Investing in Life – Br. Curtis Almquist

Br. Curtis Almquist

Matthew 25:14-30

In Jesus’ day, there was considerable conversation about “talent.”  Hearing about a “talent” was not in reference to someone’s ability; rather, talent was about money, as we hear in this Gospel reading today.  If Jesus is referring here to the talent-weight of silver, one talent would be approximately $300,000; if gold, upwards to $3 million in today’s exchange.  That’s one talent.  Read More

Saint Pachomius – Br. Curtis Almquist

Acts of the Apostles 2:42-47a

In the calendar of the church we remember today a monk named Pachomius who lived years 290-346.  Pachomius is the founder of coenobitic Christian monasticism.  The name coenobitic comes from the Greek, κοινός (meaning “common”) and βίος (meaning “life”), and so, a form of monasticism where monks live a common life of prayer and work, which is our own version of monasticism here: coenobitic. Read More

God’s Waiting on Us – Br. Curtis Almquist

Ascension Day

Acts 1:1-11  “… [Jesus said] you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth….” (vs. 8.)

Ephesians 1:15-23  “…I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power….” (vs. 17-19) Read More