Pastoral Post


For most of this past week, I had the gift of time for silence and reflection at Mepkin Abbey, a Trappist monastery located on the Cooper River, not far from Charleston, SC. Mepkin was originally a plantation, then the estate of the Henry and Clare Booth Luce family (he was a renowned magazine publisher and she was a congresswoman and ambassador), and, since that family donated the nearly 3,000 acres to the Trappists, a thriving monastery. It is a beautiful place: towering, moss-covered live oaks, vast pasture lands, and spectacular views of the river.  

Even more beautiful than the place itself is the spirt of the place. Generations of monastics have saturated the buildings and grounds with their prayers, their gracious hospitality, their devotion to simplicity, and their awareness of the crucial rhythms of labor and rest, labor and prayer, labor and worship. Being there, immersed in silence for most of three days, gave me a chance to find center again—to “reboot” or “re-set” my priorities and to re-center my vocation.

More and more, I’m convinced that restful silence, unhurried presence, and focused attentiveness are the essential components of a grounded, meaningful and faithful life. Our culture conspires against those essential qualities: we live in loud, busy, and distracted times. I bring back from Mepkin renewed commitments to “be still and know that God is God” and to live in the present moment—the only moment we have.

Grace and peace,