Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Father Theophane Boyd OCSO

Father Theophane was my friend. I spent five years at Saint Joseph's Abbey when he was Vocation Director. He was a "zen koan" in the flesh.

After five years I left to become a teacher in a Catholic boy's high school near Boston. Every day in every class I taught, I would wait for silence from everyone, then sound a pair of small Tibetan cymbals and read a selection from an Emily Dickinson poem, or the Writings of Chuang Tzu by Thomas Merton, or the Sermon on the Mount, or Tao Te Ching, or a story from Theophane's Tales of a Magic Monastery. Then I would begin class which could be Chemistry, Physics, Math, Scripture or Sexuality; and we even did this  with kids from 4-12 years old in a Summer Arts & Crafts class I taught.  For over 35 years I maintained this practice. (Recently a friend sent me a video which shows that these Tibetan bells still work their magic.)

Through the years my former students have testified how wonderful it was to begin every class this way. The stories of Theophane the Monk have stayed with them for all the years since we shared my class. Many of them have practiced meditation into their older middle age. Especially beloved from Tales are the following: "The Pearl of Great Price", "Myself","The Gun", and most especially "Now!"

I have always felt that "Tales of a Magic Monastery" will last as long as "Apothegmata Patrum"(the "Sayings of the Desert Fathers"). Thank you Father Theophane and may  we meet again