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Fall 2014 Cowley

Click on the links below to read selected articles from the Fall 2014 Cowley Magazine.

In the Monastic Wisdom insert on “Time,” Br. Geoffrey Tristram proposes that much of our stress and anxiety derives from our pollution of Time, and reveals how  ordering our relationship to Time can help us to experience the joy of the present moment. Download a PDF here.

  1. In his piece “Our Human Vocation,” Br. James Koester reveals the community’s hopes for the Monastic Intern Program at Emery House and the Brothers’ recently acquired Grafton House.
  2. Life is busy inside and outside a monastery, and we all need to practice stopping. Br. Luke Ditewig offers concrete suggestions on how to stop, rest, period.
  3. In 2015, the Brothers will celebrate SSJE’s founder, Richard Meux Benson. In the article “Look to the Glory!” four men in the novitiate select a favorite quote from Father Benson and comment upon its meaning for them.
  4. Br. Robert L’Esperance reflects on his journey to vowed life at the Monastery.

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Look to the Glory!

Benson2Richard Meux Benson was born in 1824 in London and studied at Christ Church, Oxford University. In 1866, together with two other Anglican priests, he founded the Society of Saint John the Evangelist, “a small body to realize and intensify the gifts and energies belonging to the whole Church.” SSJE became the first stable religious community for men in the Anglican Church since the Reformation, patterned on the missionary vision of St. Vincent de Paul, the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola, and the corporate prayer of Benedictine monasticism. Father Benson was a contemplative and a mystic; he was also a tireless evangelist and retreat leader. His prolific preaching, teaching, and writing often focused on God’s glory and our life-long conversion to Christ. “We cannot bound into the depths of God at one spring; if we could we should be shattered, not filled. God draws us on.” He understood God’s revelation as continuous and ongoing. “Faithfulness to tradition does not mean mere perpetuation or copying of ways from the past, but a creative recovery of the past as a source of inspiration and guidance in our faithfulness to God’s future, the coming reign of God.”

For this article, we asked four of the men in our novitiate to select a favorite quote from Father Benson and comment briefly on it. Read More

How We Love – Br. David Allen

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DavidA_2008_031Have you ever had a moment in your life when suddenly some concept has become deeper, wider, and clearer?   My understanding of the first verse of today’s first reading, “We love because he first loved us,” was such a moment.

It was in my first year of Seminary in a class on the New Testament in Greek.  We were reading the First Letter of John, and had come to Chapter 4.

For most of us The King James Version was deeply imbedded in our minds. Read More

Living In Love: Father Benson's Vision for SSJE – Br. David Vryhof

davidvToday we are celebrating the feast day of our Founder, Father Richard Meux Benson, a priest of the Church of England who, with two companions (one of them an American), established the Society of Saint John the Evangelist in a section of Oxford called “Cowley” on December 27, the feast of St. John the Evangelist, in the year 1866.

Father Benson was a man of God, a theologian and a mystic, a man of deep prayer and an ascetic.  His writings can be dense and difficult to comprehend, but they can also be very inspirational.  Many things can be said about him, but no one can dispute the fact that he was a man who was in love with God, and that he lived in a state of union with God that so transformed him that countless others were transformed by him – by his words, by his writings, by his example, and by the order he founded and which has tried to carry on his vision. Read More