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Brother Bernard Seif

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Category: 

Action/Thriller

Publisher:  iUniverse ISBN-10:  0595500056 Type: 
Pages: 

154

Copyright:  April 27, 2008 ISBN-13:  9780595500055
Fiction

The mystery team is at it again! This time the six good friends travel to the land of mystery and intrigue--Tibet--via Nepal and Bangkok. Having started their journey, but not even out of America yet, they are drawn into a search for an ancient Dorje--a scepter-like object used during Tibetan Buddhist prayer services. The Dorje, however, quickly becomes the least of their challenges.

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The mystery team is at it again! This time the six good friends travel to the land of mystery and intrigue--Tibet--via Nepal and Bangkok. Having started their journey, but not even out of America yet, they are drawn into a search for an ancient Dorje--a scepter-like object used during Tibetan Buddhist prayer services. The Dorje, however, quickly becomes the least of their challenges.

Fertile with information about Asian medicine and spirituality, this book is presented in a light and humorous fashion through the minds and hearts of single, married, male, female, lay, and monastic characters. The great religions of the world are also represented--and a hopeful agnostic familiar to our readers is an integral part of the action as well.

Third in the Office of the Dead series, Morning Prayer is a complete monastic murder mystery containing characters which develop out of the first two complete books: Office of the Dead and Vigils. Experience friendship and danger through the psyche of a Christian monk / doctor, along with his friends, as he connects with Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns for some continuing education credits that he will never forget. Enjoy your trip to Tibet--a Kingdom also known as the Top of the World!




   


Excerpt

No murder or mayhem at the moment thought the monk as he settled himself on his wooden prayer bench in the Oratory. I haven’t stumbled over a dead body or had to deal with anyone in our community being kidnapped in a long while. Not even a novice having recurring nightmares has disturbed my peace of mind! Underneath Brother Francis’ reflection concerning gratitude for a relatively calmer existence was a lower-case question mark. Perhaps he was not so sure he liked things this way.

He spoke to his Master. Thank you, Jesus, for inviting me to found this small monastic community. We usually have about six members, plus or minus one or two. You called me from a more active form of religious life to lead a more monastic expression of the vowed life, but it seems that I am busier than ever. The most important thing is keeping my mind and heart fixed on you, Rabbi Jesus.

It seemed to Brother Francis that Christ was in agreement with his assessment of the vocation to which he had been called. The prayer bench he sat on to meditate hinted of the mysteries of the East. He would start by simply kneeling down and then place the low bench made of pinewood over his ankles. Two pieces of wood formed the sides and a flat top, tilted slightly forward, completed the meditation aid. When Francis would sit back on the bench, he was about eight inches off the floor, but his mind and heart would be soaring to the heavens.

Francis’ meditations were more contemplative and non-verbal than they had been many years ago. He would often take a mantra, a simple word or phrase, and repeat it over and over again. Sometimes Francis would repeat the mantra in rhythm with his breath--once on each exhalation. One of his favorite mantras came from Asia and is used there by millions of people everyday.

Loving Kindness Mantra

May I be filled with loving kindness,

May I be well.

May I be peaceful and at ease,

May I be happy.


At times Francis would change the pronoun to “may he or she or they be filled with loving kindness.” He did this especially when he found someone difficult to deal with. If he was praying for that person, Francis thought that his heart, if not his feelings, was in the right place. When the Abbot focused on his breathing during meditation he would expand his lower abdomen on an inhalation and relax it on an exhalation over and over again, thus bringing body, mind, and spirit into oneness.

Whatever tool Francis chose from the many he had learned as a novice, or from his spiritual reading, or from Asian hospital rotations and monastic adventures there, his goal was always union with God and honesty with self. This morning, however, his prayer was more conversational than usual. He believed that the Holy Spirit is the one who really leads the prayer and that it is up to us to respond simply and in freedom. Today the Holy Spirit seemed to be leading him toward an informal chat with Jesus.

Recently Francis had celebrated the forty-year anniversary of his entrance into monastic life. During all of those years his constant prayer was the Liturgy of the Hours, more commonly known as the “Divine Office” prior to the liturgical updating of Vatican Council II, which is the public or common prayer of the Church. This set of prayer services is said throughout the world. Originally they were chanted in Latin, but since the Council, they are said in the vernacular language of the local region. The Liturgy of the Hours is a way to celebrate and consecrate the various stages of the day and night to God, and Francis found these periodic services helpful during the course of his busy days, in bringing him back to the reason he became a monk in the first place.






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