Reflection on Mount Zion’s Unshakableness



Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion: which cannot be shaken but stands forever.  As the hills enfold Jerusalem: so you enfold your people O Lord, now and forever.  (Psalm 125:1-2 A New Zealand Prayer Book. p. 352).

All of us have those moment in our lives when we might question the symbolism written in this Psalm.  How can we be like Mount Zion which can never be shaken?  How many of us have prayed for the restoration of health for ourselves or someone we love believing in the power of God to answer our prayers, yet we do not get what we asked?

The writer of this Psalm knew exactly what it is like to struggle with trusting in God with what feels like life around him crumbling to pieces.  The Psalmist knew that trusting in God was the only hope he had.

Praying these Psalms with such picturesque language gives us a sense that God knows what we go through and is not very far from where we are.  The Holy Spirit uses them to  open our hearts to contemplate the wondrous mystery of God’s abiding presence.  God gives us the grace to listen for how much faith God has in us and wants us to have unwavering trust in God.  Our greatest strength is to let go, and allow God to love us and heal us.

The Psalmist gives us another hopeful analogy.  Just as the hills around Jerusalem enfold the city, so God enfolds us at this moment and for ever.   We are never left alone and without love.  God is always with us and embraces us in the Incarnate Word and gives us the most affectionate experience of God’s love.

Are we ready to trust in God and receive the love God wants us to experience?


Br. Anselm Philip King-Lowe, n/OSB

Searching for Answers When There Are None



I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them and give them gladness for sorrow.  (Jeremiah 31:13.  A New Zealand Prayer Book, p.695).

In The Rule of Saint Benedict, Chapter 4: On the Tools for Good Works, he wrote in verse 74, “And finally, never lose hope in God’s mercy.” (RB 1980, p.29).

Life is cruel at times.  Life makes no sense.  The are no answers for many of the horrific things that happen to us or around us.  We mourn and live with sorrow when excessive violence occurs.  That was certainly the scene as we recall this Commemoration of the Holy Innocents.  We remember today all of the children up to 2 years old that were slaughtered.   We can speculate what God may be saying to all of humankind through these things, but, unless we know the mind of God (which no one but God knows), looking for answers when there are none; will only leave us more confused.

What we do know through our faith, is that when we feel so alone with all of our unanswered questions about what happens in this world; God is drawing closer to us.  God comes closer to be our consolation, to share our sorrow and to walk with us in the Incarnate Word so that we may “not lose hope in God’s mercy.”  Only three days after Christmas, the Church asks us to meditate on the Holy Innocents to know that in Christ, God is present and weeps when we weep.

Among the things that happens to us when we are grieving the things we cannot wrap our minds around; all of our certainties become out of order.  Through it, God turns our world view upside down and leads us to a deeper relationship with God in a mystical union of holy love and grace.  Through such experiences we are able through God’s grace to contemplate ever so deeply, what God wants of us, individually and collectively.

Are we listening?

It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes; these have been redeemed form humanity as first fruits for God and the Lamb. (Revelation 14:4. A New Zealand Prayer Book, p.696).


Br. Anselm Philip King-Lowe, n/OSB

The Incarnate Word and The Light



This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all.  (1 John 1:5 NRSV).

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. (John 1:5 NRSV).


The First Sunday after Christmas repeats the use of John 1:1-18 that we heard on Christmas Day.  This year, this Sunday and the commemoration of St. John the Evangelist occurs on the same day.  Because it is a Sunday, the Feast of St. John the Evangelist is replaced by the First Sunday after Christmas.   At the same time, I think that both occurring the same day and date are prophetic in their own right.

The two themes that repeat themselves in the Gospel of John and his first letter is the Word and the Light.  Jesus who is the Incarnate Word is inseparable from the Light.  We see through the darkness because of the Light.  We hear God because of the Incarnate Word.

As St. Benedict wrote in The Prologue to The Rule, his very first word was listen.  Rearrange those letters and we get the word silent.  Benedict tells us to “incline the ears of our heart.”  He begins with these words because to know God more deeply, is to listen deeply to God speaking through The Word.  To see God is to look for the Light.

May all of us look for the Light of God in love and holiness in our many relationships.  May we listen to the Incarnate Word so we may know God in our hearts.  May we respond by what we hear in our hearts, so that others may see things from God’s point of view.  It is a contemplative experience and quite mystical.

Jesus, new beginning, heavenly bread, living water, we hear the word of life, we see and grasp the truth; help us to proclaim it. Amen (A New Zealand Prayer Book, p.694).

Br. Anselm Philip King-Lowe, n/OSB



Reflection on St. Stephen



Stephen said, “I can see heaven open, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God’. (Acts 7:56) (A New Zealand Prayer Book, p.693).

It sounds like St. Stephen had a contemplative and mystical experience while he was being stoned to death.  It certainly was not a peaceful or silent moment.  Being dragged out of the city and be stoned to death for proclaiming the truth he knew about Jesus as he did; yet, he had this vision of Jesus at the right hand of God.

In the last two days of my mother’s life, she groaned and moaned a lot.  To be honest, this was the first time I had ever been at the bedside of a dying person.  It was a very powerful spiritual experience.  When I asked the hospice nurse about the groaning and moaning, she said that mom was talking with the other side.  As my mother was handing over everything physical and material, she was embracing ever so graciously what is spiritual.  My mother could not talk in those final moments of her life.  Yet, she did say one word very clearly that she had not said in sixteen years.  She said, “Ma”.

St. Stephen’s mystical experience of Jesus, and my mother’s were the work of the Holy Spirit.  At the moment of the greatest chaos, pain, suffering and death; our God becomes ever more visible and tangible.  In those moments, we see everything from God’s view point.  All that is touchable in this life, becomes the “rubbish” that St. Paul wrote about in Philippians 3:7.  What becomes crucial is the revelation of God who seeks union with us, as we embrace God in a holy union of body, mind, soul and spirit.

Jesus, your glory is not in power alone, but even more in suffering and death, may Stephen’s vision crown our resolution and keep us true. Amen. (A New Zealand Prayer Book, p.693).

Br. Anselm Philip King-Lowe, n/OSB

Christmas Day Reflection



In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being.  What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. (John 1:1-5 NRSV).


I want to apologize to all of you who have been wondering where I have been or what I have been doing.   This past Fall and leading into the Advent Season, my mother passed away on November 22nd.  I was her personal caregiver and advocate during her illness.  Her death was very peaceful, and I was most blessed to have shared those final moments with her.  I miss her very much, but I believe that she is at peace in the arms of our holy God.  I ask for and thank you for your prayers as I walk this year of grief as I try to fill in the gap that has been left in my life because of her loss.

The loss of my mother and the faith and knowledge that she is in God’s care is one of the greatest things for me to contemplate today.  It is that Word that “life” that has come into being because of the Incarnation.  That faith in the Word made flesh gives us hope as we travel the hardest journeys of our lives.  Jesus is the Word that has always been there, and always will be.  He is the Word that came to us as one like us in all things, to show us what our lives can be like from God’s perspective of pure love.

In contemplative prayer, we seek union with God so that more and more, we may enter into a fuller relationship with what is visible and invisible.  Christ the Incarnate Word is not just words written down, He is the Living Word who lives in relationship with The Holy Essence of God, who seeks to live in union with our essence.  It is a union that seeks purity of heart, so that we find that union with the God who has already found it with us.

May our Christmas celebrations be filled with the wonder of God’s holy presence.   May the Word that brings life to all things, bring peace and joy to our conflicts and sadness.


Br. Anselm Philip King-Lowe, n/OSB