Friday, November 1, 2013

Inspired by James Behrens...

Order the book here...
   People who use photography as a contemplative practice are a small fraternity but a passionate one.  Contemplative photographers who publish books of their images and reflections is an even smaller one.

   I was thrilled to discover Fr. James Behrens, a monk at Holy Spirit Monastery in Georgia.  The abbey was founded in 1947 by Trappist monks from Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky.  The Trappist order is dedicated to contemplation and apparently contemplative photography as well!  Consider Fr. Louie (aka Thomas Merton), Br. Paul and now Fr. James.

   His book, Portraits of Grace, is a lovely and insightful pairing of images and words.  Fr. James has, like Br. Paul Quinon at Gethsemani, discovered the metaphors close to hand.  No need to travel great distances to spectacular landscapes; they find all the meaning they need in their own back yards.

   Fr. James has combined his intimate photographs of tiny and deceptively simple, everyday objects with his wonderful and thought provoking reflections.  Each page is a delight and an inspiration.  I've chosen one passage from the many....

   Each day has a vast array of beauty.  
Take the time to notice it.
It is an interesting habit to develop.
The more we give ourselves time
to see it, the more beauty will 
reveal itself to us.
It is a very generous mystery.

   I chose this quote from Fr. James' book for that last line..."It is a very generous mystery."  What a beautiful way to describe the messages we find in the world around us.  There is so much there for us if we would but have eyes to see it and a heart to receive it!  Nature is a most generous mentor to the seeking soul providing us daily gifts of the spirit. 

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