Br. James Koester

Isaiah 55: 6 – 11
Psalm 34: 15 – 22
Matthew 6: 7 – 15

Several years ago, Brother Robert and I found ourselves in a small, subterranean chapel on top of the Mount of Olives, within sight of the Old City of Jerusalem. The chapel where we were had once been a cave, but over the centuries had been dug out and expanded, and then a newer, larger, modern church had been built over this cave chapel. The floor around the altar was littered with scraps of paper on which people had written their prayers, and then dropped through a grille in the floor of the church above us, down into this smaller cave chapel where Robert and I stood. We were there with Sr Elspeth, an American, who had begun her religious life as a Sister of the Order of Saint Anne here in Arlington, but the deeper she entered the mystery of her vocation, the more she realized that it was to the contemplative life that she was called, and so there she was, a Carmelite sister of the Pater Noster Carmel, showing Brother Robert and me the cave where tradition tells us that Jesus taught his disciples the Lord’s Prayer. Read More

Is. 55:6-11/Ps. 34:15-22/Mat. 6:7-15

“Forgive us our sins,” we pray, “as we forgive those who sin against us.” I often tuck in a quick “Lord, have mercy” after those words. Or go off on a tangent like, “actually, God, don’t forgive me the way I forgive others, just forgive me.  And help me be a better forgiver.” Read More

Wisdom 2:23-3:9/Psalm 34:15-22/Luke 17:7-10

“So you, also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say ‘We are worthless slaves, we have done only what we ought to have done.’”

Some of you may have your own version of the Jefferson Bible.  Thomas Jefferson, you’ll remember, made up his own edition of the Bible that literally cut out the parts he didn’t like.  Reaching for the scissors—at least metaphorically–may be tempting at times. But we have other options. Read More