Prayer of the Kingdom

In my last blog post, I mentioned that Ashley and I just attended a silent retreat at Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House located in Dallas, TX. It was such a refreshing experience, and one that I was sad to leave behind, but hope to carry the spirit and intent of the weekend with me. During my time at Montserrat, I was exposed to several new prayers, and this one I absolutely loved.

Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House

Patient Trust in the Slow Work of God

This past weekend, Ashley and I attended a silent treat at Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House in Lake Dallas. Like every retreat I have been on, it began with apprehension and ended with a desire to not leave. The serene and peaceful setting, interaction with the Jesuits, lack of urban distractions, and quiet time with God were such gifts. 

Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House


My 100th Straight Razor Shave

Clearly I have been quiet on this blog for some time. Nevertheless, my straight razor shaving endeavors continue with the same fervor as always. In fact, today I reached an admittedly arbitrary milestone: my 100th straight razor shave.

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Walkin' Horse 3" English Bridle with Linen Strop

Walkin' Horse Strops are handmade in the U.S.A and can be difficult to come by given stock inventory levels are generally low. The English Bridle hides are tanned in the United Kingdom.

Full disclosure: I have little credibility in writing a strop product review. This is my first strop and I am still fairly new to straight razors (63 shaves completed), so I have nothing to compare this to.

Walkin' Horse 3" English Bridle with Linen Strop | Image Credit: West Coast Shaving


Welcoming Prayer

Last Saturday, Ashley and I attended a Centering Prayer workshop on the "human condition" led by Fr. Bill Sheehan. This event was fostered by the Contemplative Outreach movement founded by Fr. Thomas Keating. In addition to time for practicing Centering Prayer, Fr. Bill Sheehan concluded the workshop by leading us through the practice of Welcoming Prayer.

Mary Mrozowski, one of the founders of Contemplative Outreach, formulated the Welcoming Prayer based upon the 17th century French spiritual classic, Abandonment to Divine Providence by Jean-Pierre de Caussade, as well as Fr. Thomas Keating's teachings and her own lived experience.

The Welcoming Prayer focuses on consenting to God's presence and action in in our physical and emotional reactions to events and situations in daily life. This method of prayer seeks to heal wounds by addressing them where they are stored - in the body. One is called to pay closer attention to the body and interior state because the mind can deceive while the body does not lie. Every thought, feeling or emotion has a corresponding body sensation. Each experience is imprinted in every cell of our body. Centering Prayer is a receptive form of meditation whereas Welcoming Prayer is relatively more focused and concentrated.

“Welcoming Prayer is the practice that actively lets go of thoughts and feelings that support the false-self system. It embraces painful emotions experienced in the body rather than avoiding them or trying to suppress them. It does not embrace the suffering as such but the presence of the Holy Spirit in the particular pain, whether physical, emotional, or mental. Thus, it is the full acceptance of the content of the present moment. [In] giving the experience over to the Holy Spirit, the false-self system is gradually undermined and the true self liberated.” - Fr. Thomas Keating

Contemplative Outreach Logo | Image Credit: Saint Richard Catholic Church


My First Straight Razor Honing

After 27 straight razor shaves, I decided it was finally time to hone my Dovo. Of course, the folks over at The Superior Shave honed it for me before shipping it my way, but now the task was up to me.

So why hone now?

That's probably one of the most asked questions of beginners to straight razors. The cadence of honing sessions depends upon numerous variables: care and maintenance up until that point, stropping technique, use of sharpening pastes, etc. Ultimately an experienced hand learns when it's time to hone. Just to be clear, I do not fall into the category of "an experienced hand." I'm new and still learning.

After reading a lot of chatter on forums at Straight Razor Place and talking to The Superior Shave, I decided one month of shaves was a good point to give honing a shot. Plus, after 27 shaves, I had a fairly consistent technique down, and noticed that my straight was becoming slightly less effective at passing through my beard. So here we go.

Straight Razor with Belgian Hone | Image Credit: Straight Edge Razor


Dovo Best Quality 5/8" Half-Hollow Ground Round Point Straight Razor

The Dovo "Best Quality" is an entry-level straight razor made by DOVO, an independent German company founded in 1906 based in Solingen. Given this is a German-made straight razor, "entry-level" comes with a rather high standard of quality.

"Best Quality" razors come in two sizes (5/8" and 6/8"), two grinds (full-hallow, half-hallow) and three colors (black, white, blonde). All are made from carbon steel and rounded at the toe. Each is relatively plain-looking with a very basic plastic handle, but they shave wonderfully. It's a good beginner's straight razor, which is why I choose it.

Full disclosure: I really have no credibility to write a sound product review on this razor. This is my first straight razor and I'm still new to the game (only 27 shaves completed) so I have nothing to compare this to.

Dovo Best Quality 5/8" Half-Hollow Ground Round Point Straight Razor | Image Credit: Traditional Shaving