Archives For Paul Quenon

 

Living, Loving, Dancing, Praying, and Contemplating
 
A Review of 
 

In Praise of the Useless Life: A Monk’s Memoir
Paul Quenon, O.C.S.O.

Paperback, Ave Maria Press, 2018.
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Reviewed by Richard Goode

 

If one is looking for a guide to explain contemporary monasticism, Br. Paul Quenon offers the strongest of résumés. He is, for example, the embodiment of Trappist stability, having been a monk at Kentucky’s Abbey of Gethesemani for 60 years. As a novice he studied under none other than Thomas Merton. Br. Paul is also well published, receiving such accolades as “Best Spiritual Book of the Year” for his work. Beyond these facts, he is adept at painting a verbal picture. In the pages of this book, for example, we see the darkened Gethsemani church as the monastic choir prays Vigils at 3:15 am, an Office that the community has honored every day since its founding in 1848. Moreover, he portrays a modern Cistercian community respecting its centuries-old practice of “Ora et Labora” (prayer and work).

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Quietude, Stillness, and Silence

A Feature Review of

Unquiet Vigil
Paul Quenon, OCSO

Paperback: Paraclete Press, 2014.
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and

Meditations in Times of Wonder
Michael Martin

Paperback: Angelico Press, 2014
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Reviewed by Matthew Braddock

 

The mathematician Henri Poincare, once said, “It is by logic that we prove. It is by intuition that we discover.” When our minds are set on one way of thinking or one way of doing things, mindlessly determined by the past, we blur our intuition and can miss much of the present world around us. A purely rational/logical understanding of events can confirm old mindsets and preserve rigid categories. One should pay careful attention to what happens when one becomes stuck in a particular rational narration of a dominant story.

The counterbalance is to discover alternative narratives through awareness and intuition; varying ways of perceiving a reality that has become lost. This is one of the reasons we have poetry. As Paul Quenon reminds is in Unquiet Vigil, poems helps us listen and pay attention to that which has not yet been seen or heard. Through intuition, one may excavate stories and experiences that have been repressed, submerged, or buried. Quenon, a Trappist monk and student of Thomas Merton, refers to the process of watching and listening as “keeping vigil”.

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