November 10th, 1985, Serial No. 00987

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At the end of the last chapter, some of the younger monks actually said, why don't we compose a message to the whole order, and so we did, and it kind of has a thrust for the whole world. It's kind of like a papal document or something. No, no, a general chapter back in Italy, and in fact the first draft was composed by one of our young hotshots back there, maybe 30 years old or something. And then in the U.S., the American Benedictine Review published it. It's a very lively document, so that's in the bibliography and recommended as kind of a flavor of where the order is. No, we don't look at things during that moment. Then I did three little monographs on the history, a brief history of the place here before the monks came, after the monks came the first 10 years, then of Berkeley, our house there. Then some years ago, 20 years ago, just a brief thing on the place of constant prayer. If prayer is simply communion with God, cleaving with God, then this can't be a sometime thing,

[01:12]

but is continuous. And so this was the program of the Desert Fathers, how to pray always. We have this injunction of our Lord and the injunction of St. Paul to pray without ceasing. How do you do that? Well, much of the life of the early monks was the endeavor to discover the how, and that's still a key dimension. Then there's a nice little pamphlet by Raphael Brown, who's this Franciscan scholar who used to love the place. I don't know how many of you know Peter Anson, a very mellow English writer, and many years ago he did this, The Quest of Solitude, it's about the Carthusians and the Camaldolese and quite charming. It says before Vatican II, yeah, good, good for you, correct that. That's an estate there, Peter Anson. I was in another wavelength because I just had Raphael Brown, and there's charming little line drawings and things.

[02:14]

Fun. Then Gratian, all of you who are interested in canon law, I suspect, well, the father of canon law is the Camaldolese, but he did it quite differently than it's done now. He lined up some 4,000 texts from scripture, from the fathers, from the popes, on any given issue on the Eucharist, but it should be said, yeah, I'm sure that is the case. So his thing was, look at all the different approaches to this theme. They're not in flat contradiction, but there is this pluralism, and this was the beginning of canon law, and again, done in quite a different mode. Some were hoping that the, this is Gratian, I'd say, what, the 1300s, some were hoping

[03:18]

that the reform of canon law would be in this line, but it took the kind of post-Vatican one line, but simplified and reduced, et cetera. Then if you want to know about any of these people or aspects of the Camaldolese, always go to a source book, or series of books like the Catholic Encyclopedia, or I hope you all know the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. It's a marvelous one-volume reference book on almost anything that touches Christianity. Then the Camaldolese artistic heritage, I know some of you are interested in art. Well, this chap was a teacher of Fra Angelico, this is one of our monks, Lorenzo Monaco, and beautiful paintings, and this is a part of our early heritage. Here's St. Benedict, happily invited, he's a nice guy, our lady, and so forth. But this is early Camaldolese heritage, this is a beautiful one. His work is in the Vatican, and in the Uffizi in Florence, et cetera, and so down through

[04:21]

the centuries. This, pardon me? Early Renaissance. Yeah, yeah, early Renaissance, so right before Fra Angelico. Lorenzo Monaco, that is Lorenzo the monk. Dopogiotto, he became a novice in 1390, and then yeah, he produced and died around 1424. You've seen in the community room that Head of Christ, kind of fiery color. This is Artarcesio, who's a contemporary artist, and quite famous, and his own exhibits and books. But he's famous, there's a Head of Christ in black and white, not unlike Moreau, the French contemporary. But, no, no, we won't get distracted. I was told it's a bad pedagogical method.

[05:22]

Never put anything in a kid's hand, that's what I've been told. Yeah, all kinds of colors, and all kinds of secular things. This was his red period. Now remember, we just recently received two of his canvases. This is not a model. Oh, my word. Then the other we received that was there on the cooler for a while, Martino Pianese. He's so different from this. I think there's a comment that he does everything in shades of white, at least most recently. There's a few, but in the back of here there's some of his sketches, and then it goes into which you have to very carefully study in a good sunlight to see that there's really subtle, subtle shades of the whole rainbow there. This is not unlike the one we received, the monks. And there's an introduction here translated into English by one of our monks.

[06:28]

So this is to get a flavor of, but we're very open to the arts is the main point. Then ecumenism. We've noted that St. Romuald is called the last of the saints of the undivided Church right before the split of 1054 East and West. And so what we have is a heritage common to East and West. So what we, in the great program of Pope John XXIII, we've so stressed what divides us now to explore now what unites us. Well, it's this common heritage of which the monastic is an important part. So Vatican turns to us. Often Protestants and Orthodox have a certain suspicion of the orders that come later. They have a difficult understanding of what are they all about. The Orthodox Church, you may know, doesn't have congregations specialized according to work. They don't have teaching and nursing orders and missionary orders and that kind of thing. It's simply, you're a monk or you're married.

[07:29]

Or you're trying to become a monk or trying to marry. So this heritage is very important for the dialogue with the East, also the dialogue with the Anglicans, the Reformed tradition, and of course the Hindu and Buddhist. The monk is kind of archetypal for Hinduism and Buddhism. So we have this long tradition, and it's rather flourishing at the present time. Ambrose Traversari is one of our giants of the 15th century who anticipated all kinds of things, wanting the liturgy and the vernacular and things. In any case, he worked with great love for the reunion of Eastern Church and Western. He had a total mastery of Greek and translated many of the fathers into Latin and such. At Camaldoli, there's this huge, marvelous rug that's attached to the wall, and it's a gift of one of the Eastern patriarchs to the Camaldolese in the time of Ambrose Traversari. Well, that kind of concludes our bibliography.

[08:31]

It wants to be an overview of things you can be chewing on to slowly journey deeper into them. Pardon me? Well, modesty forbids. So, other questions, comments? Okay, let's then... Yes? B. Griffin is a Camaldolese monk. No doubt about it. He joined us the way many of the monasteries joined us also in the time of Romuald and thereafter, that is through aggregation. His was a community pre-existing his union with us, indeed, for decades and decades. But at a certain point, he wanted to become Camaldolese, and so there was this period of dialogue and discernment, and then now his ashram is fully integrated, so he's a Camaldolese monk. The same has happened with our little community of nuns in Windsor, New York. They were, first of all, what's sometimes called primitive Benedictine. Not primitive in the sense of...

[09:34]

but in the sense of really tough. Well, then they aggregated to our nuns in Rome. Okay, let's then look at this very important early medieval writer, contemporary with Saint Bernard, William of Cythera. Just a few decades ago, he was considered to be not that important at all. He was known chiefly as the biographer of Saint Bernard, and that was about all. Then the scholars went to work, and they found that one of the key works that had been attributed to Saint Bernard is, in fact, written by him, the Golden Epistle. And then they started looking more carefully at his others, and they found there's a whole theology here that's his, and it's not just borrowed from Saint Bernard. Lovers of William say it's deeper than Bernard Fuller and... Pardon me? That was an abomination.

[10:35]

Oh, good. I said, of course. Of course, amen. So, now we have a greater appreciation of William. One of the scholars, interestingly enough, is this Jean Deschenes, who then becomes famous for launching the whole use of yoga in the Catholic world. Anyway, he's... So that many of the critical editions, etc., have introductions by Deschenes, and this is a whole book he's published on William of St. Mary, the man in his work. Well, he concludes, what about this William? Amid a tumultuous and pugnacious age ruled by opposite extremes, that is the time of St. William, and you could say the same of our time, I think, a very conflictual, debated time, diehards and innovators in every sort of field, St. Bernard's great friend seems to embody in the Church that wisdom and balance,

[11:37]

which have always superintended the development of doctrine. As a Catholic, an all-rounder, he reveres tradition, yet will not stifle the life astir in it. His spiritual teaching is so judicious, so sane, and so enlightened, most manifold schools have been able to benefit from it. So there's this rediscovery now of William, and he's a fascinating person to study. There's a full mystical theology there that one can dedicate much time to. Some say he's the great pioneer of what's today called holistic spirituality, that is a spirituality encompassing the whole person, spirit, but also mind, and also body, in one kind of unified thrust into Godhead. His life, contemporary of St. Bernard, born in France, Liege, technical studies of also the emerging speculative theology that got very problematic, according to the monastic mind.

[12:38]

He perhaps studied with Abelard, and later he'll take him on and fight him, but with the same kind of competence of Abelard on very technical issues, like the technical theology of Trinity, etc. About 1110, he enters the Black Benedictines of St. Nicholas at Vienne, then he becomes abbot in another Black Benedictine community, 15 years of intense work as abbot. He's got two huge problems, bad, bad health, and this is characteristic of, well, Aylred, if you remember, not our Aylred, but St. Aylred and also St. Bernard, plus he wants a more intense contemplative life. There's a while when he wants a more solitary life, and eventually he'll join the Trappists. He's an early ex from the Black Benedictines to the Trappists. Then he becomes a Cistercian and he continues writing. His fonts, it's the same kind of pattern you found with the vest of the medievals.

[13:41]

That is an awareness of the Western heritage, Ambrose, Augustine, the Rule, and Gregory the Great, but also the Eastern. He knows Origen, he knows Gregory of Nyssa, he even knows Plotinus, who is a non-Christian source, and of course he's himself characteristically in the line of just nurtured by Scripture. So he's getting Scripture directly, but also through all of these, in their own particular ways of reading Scripture. So he is a gold mine, and he is a bridge person. Question from audience Does he not want to join the community that Bernard was, and Bernard refused him because he was a Benedictine Catholic? In some ways, I think that upset him. Yeah, Bernard tried to dissuade him from doing the switch, and in the end he just did it anyway. Not to Bernard's community, but to another Trappist community. Oh, he's in the Trappist community? Well, the Cistercians. The Cistercians. So, five main works by him.

[14:45]

The Golden Epistle. Beautiful thing. And since it's cast in the whole hermetical, it's well worth our reading also. That is, he loves this whole theme of, as we'll see, also the classical desert values. There's a whole desert spirituality here. Then the Nature and Dignity of Love. Beautiful, beautiful treatise. More theological and abstract, but beautiful. Then the Mirror of Faith. Then On Contemplating God. One minute. Oh, here we are. This is beautiful, and this is a great mystic, not simply a speculative theologian like Abelard or something. And then Exposition of the Song of Songs, et cetera, et cetera. But a good corpus so that one can get into him and study various works and see how one complements the other. He does have this desert spirituality. If you read

[15:46]

just the beginning of his Golden Epistle, it's addressed to the Carthusian brethren of Mont-Dieu. As the brethren of Mont-Dieu introduced to our western darkness and our French cold, the light of the East and that ancient fervor of Egypt for religious observance, that is the pattern of solitary life and the model of heavenly contemplation, run to meet them, O my soul, and run with them in the joy of the Holy Spirit and with a smiling heart. So he sees the Carthusians as this renewal of the eastern desert ideal. He says, this is wonderful, and I'm going to embrace it. Welcome them devoutly and with every attention and dedication. Surely it is right to feast in the Lord and rejoice because the fairest part of the Christian religion, which seemed to come into close contact with heaven, has returned to life after having died. So here it is in our midst with these Carthusians.

[16:47]

So it's quite a praise of the Carthusians and of the solitary life and not that just generically but taking up the key values of solitude. I'm going right back to the desert, which is custody of the heart, awareness of what's happening there and in that context of mindfulness, self-presence, of being present to God. So as the apostle bids, keep guard on yourself with the greatest care and in order to have your eyes always on yourself, turn your gaze away from all else. The eye is a remarkable instrument of the body. If only it could see itself as it sees other things. Now the inner eye is enabled to do this. This is a huge thing in Hinduism of the third eye or the inner spiritual eye that's aware of what's happening within just as we're aware of everything that's happening out there. If then it follows the example of the outward eye and neglects itself, giving its attention to the affairs of others,

[17:47]

it will not be able to return to itself however much it may wish to do so. So give your attention to yourself. You yourself constitute abundant matter for solicitude for yourself. Now at worst, this just becomes navel-gazing, an obsession with self, but at its best, it's mindfulness and presence to self that one can then move on to God. And this in the cell, in the solitary cell, which is, as he says, just an outward invisible sign of that inner cell, and here he articulates a theme that will be taken up by Catherine of Siena, that will be brought into the whole lay spirituality current through St. Francis of De Sales, etc. He had a tremendous influence also on the German spirituality through Tauer, also on Franciscan spirituality through Bonaventure, etc. But this theme of the inner cell, anyone can live that, anyone can leave that also, but to abide

[18:50]

there in that inner cell, not to be just scattered out. Be yourself a parable of edification. The outward cell is the house in which your soul dwells together with your body, but the inner cell is your conscience and in that it is God who should dwell with your spirit. He who is more interior to you than all else that is within you. This is a classic quote from Augustine at his best, and this edition has all these footnotes. The outward enclosure is a sign of the guarded door within you so that as the bodily senses are prevented from wandering abroad by the outward enclosure, so the inner senses are kept always within their own domain. It's curious because Robert, the founder of the Cistercians, he wanted an emphatically communitarian form of rigorous ascetical life. And yet here's one of the early people who will pass

[19:51]

to the Cistercians who is taking with him a whole desert spirituality, so the Cistercians are very mixed up people. They have some fine items. So, purity of heart, self-custody, custody of the heart, and constant prayer. All this goes together. And this, as I say, becomes. Then he gets into, I think, one of the most precombed aspects of his teaching, and that's his anthropology, that is his understanding of what is the human person, especially in terms of our yearning for prayer, our yearning for union with God. Here I have three basic models. The first is a classic neo-Aristotelian which, through St. Thomas of Cistercianism, has had a huge influence on us. Basically, we're body and soul. Now, the main faculty

[20:52]

of the soul is the mind. You can know the truth. And so, with the mind seeking the truth, we aspire to truth. But unfortunately, the body is material. The body is called up for its vultures and sex and all that stuff. So that pulls us down. So we've got a tremendous brutalism here. And we're kind of pulled apart. Now, this flows right into modern times. Something like enlightenment. You get into your mind and clearly think that is the hopeless part of the human being. But then, as we learn with Darwin, unfortunately, we come to the apes. So we've got a kind of a computer in the apes, this is called. And so you go off eight hours a day and you work intently with your computer, systematic consistency. Then you go home and you just go wild as a train wheel. So you bounce back and forth between body and soul, but you don't have that much to do. So if you get into spiritual life, what do you want to do? You want to repress and mortify

[21:53]

the body so that the soul and the mind can ascend upward and contemplate God. Also, forms of Neoplatonism can use this kind of language that the soul is a prisoner in the body and wants to break loose, etc. This is one kind of understanding of who we are. It's very intoxicating. Obviously, there must be some truth to it, because it became the language of very brilliant, very holy people. Much of devotionalistic literature is cast in this. And some people experience their journey to Christ that way. Doesn't it come all the way back to Paul? Well, that's what we're going to see. This is our second model of how we are denounced. Quite simply, it sounds the same. The struggle between spirit and body. Between spirit and flesh. Nelda and Sarx. Classic texts in St. Paul. You say it sounds the same. It sounds very much

[22:56]

the same. Are you going to distinguish it? That's right. Now, what contemporary Paulian scholars and I think not just say is when Paul is using the flesh, he's not talking about the flesh here. He's talking about the whole person, spirit and body, inclining away from God. And he calls, he laments against the Pharisees, who are these fleshly people. They're profoundly spiritual people, but they're moving away from God in this fleshliness. And so, this is the whole person tending away from God. The spirit is not my Nelda or my soul in the various ethereal sense of getting out of the body. The spirit is the whole person, body and spirit, but tending to God. So, this, you're certainly in a kind of warfare here, but it's not part of me trying to get away from another part. But it's the whole of me trying to journey to God, rather than

[23:56]

the whole of me journeyed away from God. So, quite a different thing. And we can hear Paul and then kind of translate it into Aristotelian language. And this is much of the confusion that happened after the scholastics. They would read Paul and they would shift into Aristotle's bipartite mythology. But, if you read Paul clearly, the resurrection of the body is so important for him. The body is temple of the Holy Spirit. It's so important for him. So, he talks about the spiritual body. Christ is raised in the body. But it's not sarx, it's soma. That is, the spirit, body and soul going to God. No, soma, Greek has two words for body. Sarx is the more fleshly, heavy body. It's tending downwards. Sarx. Soma is

[24:59]

the more spiritual body. The resurrected body. Now, it gets complicated because when the word was made flesh in John, John used sarx. He didn't express it at all. The word really went down to the heavy flesh. So, this is why when you read Greek, for instance, it's such ... Oh, yeah. This is Paul. Sarx and soma. And then Penelope. When he's speaking of the resurrection of the body, he's doing it in light of this distinction between spirit and flesh. He is not necessarily saying this flesh that you don't pinch. He's not necessarily emphasizing that being resurrected by the whole person. Precisely. The whole person, including the body in some mysterious way. And there he goes to say, you know, it's the resurrected body is as different from the earthly body as the plant is from the seed that's died in the ground. So, it's a great mystery for him. But there's some kind of mysterious possibility between Sarx's body

[26:00]

and Soma's body. Here. I remember, I believe, this speaks of ... ... The body simply is a coat wrapped around the human person. Now we're going to go to his. William has ... Does William say that the spirit when it goes to God has to side that coat? Well, of course, William has his different years and different emphases. But the mature William honors the body as part of the whole triad. Now we'll see that. William has a three-part human person. This is by revolution. This is already in Paul, so you have two types of recent language of how to understand the human person in Paul. Flesh and spirit and war. Who will free me from this war within? And, of course, the law is tied

[27:01]

to the flesh as in sin, as in death. And the spirit is tied to love and grace and trust. Well, there's one famous text in St. Paul where he uses the three dimensions of the human person and then the fathers take this up and the medievals. I think, and many think, it's a much richer anthropology. First Thessalonians 5 23. May the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ He who calls you is faithful. So spirit, soul, and body. Now what's happening there? Pauline scholars do. Well, in a certain currents of the Platonic there's the three dimensions

[28:01]

of the human person. And there is the spirit dimension which is as different from the mind as the mind is from the body. The spirit is that incredibly intuitive, contemplative dimension in us. It's open to mystery. It's open to silence, etc. And, again, it's as different from the analytic mind that's seeing and trying to define and search, etc. As the mind is different from the body. So this opens up a whole new dimension that opens up a space for the contemporary person as this model certainly does. But you can argue this is a little more restrictive. Most contemporaries have no idea that their lives are written in this final dimension. Maybe the highest faculties in their head are the capacity to think about the late and the recent. And, if, in fact, beyond mind, beyond calculation and analysis,

[29:03]

intersection, etc., there is this higher dimension that is profoundly contemplative. Yeah. All like the mind and the body is in the flesh. There's the wisdom, etc. Well, these are just two quite distinct models. It's like physicists saying, what is light? It's particles and waves. It's just two different models, and you need both. Neither one, so you can't reduce this model to that. It's just two ways of going... Because this spirit, again, is the whole person, body, mind, and spirit going to God. Flesh would be the whole person, body, mind, and spirit going into law, going into death, sin. Okay, but then you can't

[30:05]

divide them. In the sense that they're not contradictory any more than wave and particle is contradictory. But you can't expand this so that flesh is the bottom two and spirit is the top. That's right. Now we have two questions here. Pardon me? That's right. [...] And again, recognizing the spirit includes the body. There's a marvelous little treatise on this,

[31:06]

The Body in St. Paul by Robinson. He studies very carefully the text. Paul is incredibly materialistic in the sense of stressing the Eucharist as body of Christ, the Resurrection Christ in the body. The Church, what's the Church? The Church is the body of Christ, etc. So body is extremely important for him. And body is not flesh, again. Body is... Sometimes he uses body to stand for the whole person in a positive way. Absolutely. Precisely. So... Where did the whole... Was it in Augustine that the whole denial of the body came into focus? Well, this gets extremely complicated. In Augustine, he's writing decades and decades so there's more pessimistic moments of Augustine and more serene and joyful moments. There are very pessimistic moments in Augustine. One of his mentors is Tertullian

[32:09]

and you can trace certain ideas that... Tertullian also tremendously affirms the body is paradoxical but there's some ideas in Tertullian and in Augustine that are the dualism and the soul... Indeed, precisely. Manichean is two forces and the one force of evil and black, etc. is the material and the other force is pure spirit. ... [...] That's right. Absolutely. Of course, Plato is the great master...

[33:11]

Plato is the great master of Aristotle. The only thing is that these people are fairly subtle so there's also affirmations of the body in Plato and affirmations of the beauty that the body can sense. But there is also this current in Plato and there's this current also in Aristotle. ... [...] beyond, beyond their culture, beyond this world, open to stars, always this transcendent that seemed to go beyond the physical. There was this capacity that was an unanswered question, an unfulfilled hunger. And then there was another aspect of being a human person that was attracted to the physical,

[34:16]

to the heavenly, to the earthly. And experiencing these things forming around the person, the people pulled up in a different mode to try to describe that. Sometimes emphasizing one against the other, sometimes being anti-creation. There's no transcendent connection to these things. Contemporary understanding would say that's wrong. And there's also another dimension. There's the dimension of transcendence, going beyond, then immanence, creation. And then there's the experience of disorder, the experience of self-destructive patterns, et cetera. Now, neo-Aristotelianism can talk about that at great length, but tends to put it in the body. What I think St. Paul will say much wiser is, hey, be careful. Some of our most destructive forces are in the most spiritual side of us. The Pharisees are, again, extremely spiritual people. And they're much more destructive than, Jesus says, the prostitutes who go in before you. And then, as we'll see, William is very aware of disorder.

[35:19]

So that after the fall, before the fall, and through redemption, what happens? We want a body ordered by mind and aspiring upward through mind, and a mind ordered by spirit, and aspiring upward through spirit. But after the fall, disorder. The body goes its own way, the mind goes its own way, the spirit goes its own way. Chaos, schizophrenia, et cetera. So each of them also needs to come to terms with this very human experience, as St. Paul says, of a war in mind-members, not just between imminent and transcendent. Today, we would just simply say, send that work to me. Today, try to localize it. Well, Paul didn't. Paul was saying it's the whole human person, as would William. I think the danger of neo-Aristotelianism is to say, sin, well, that's sex. That's body. And this becomes a huge, for instance, Catholic obsession through Jansenism. Jansenism is pure renewal of Augustine at his worst, and it's extremely dualistic.

[36:25]

In this spirit-mind-body way, speaking of the spirit as intuitive contemplative study, if you took the term intellect and threw that at William, would he put spirit in the intellect, or would he put the spirit of the intellect in the term mind? I think for him, as a very technical theologian, intellect can mean one of two things. It can mean the more intuitive, just openness in awe to divine truth. Or it can mean very rigorous reasoning, the kind of thing he's doing with Apollon. So it can mean both. That's right. So we've done that. We'll come back to this. Try to grasp onto this in terms of your own experience, your own self-understanding, which of these models works. Again, I think it's like talking about God, talking about Christ, talking about church. There's not one model that's going to exhaust the mystery. Is the church body of Christ?

[37:29]

Is the church people of God? Is the church flock? Is the church pillar? Scripture says this is a mystery, so it uses all these images, not one. Is Christ the good shepherd? Is Christ the sheep? Is Christ the suffering servant? Is Christ the king? Is Christ teacher? Is Christ physician? All these models. So here we have two basic models, two basic Pauline models. I think both of them are very good. And then we have another that you'll hear very often when you listen to the fathers, et cetera. But again, try to root it in your own experience, your own day-to-day struggles. Because this shouldn't just be diagrams on the wall. Well, see, you can be influential. Well, he didn't sign his works. And so he didn't get credit. But you can be a great theologian and not be canonized. That's another thing. Oh, no.

[38:33]

No problem. No, he was a holy man. There's no doubt about that. I've never heard of a cultist or even with the Cistercians. But he's a holy man, a real contemplative. So he's a holy man. I suspect so. OK, so we'll come back next time. And we'll proceed seeing how this does challenge, how this leads Deschenes right into yoga, for instance. Deschenes says, right from this to the need to find disciplines, methods, to order the whole, to direct the whole into contemplative prayer. And he found some of the disciplines of the East, for instance, very helpful in this. Someone like our own Father Thomas thinks it's something like the Eastern Orthodox prayer of the heart. This also is a somatic or bodily form that wants to order the whole into. Just one last footnote. And I'll mention this again in chapter three.

[39:33]

We're going to have a man come in December. I think it's December, January. And talk to us about the Jesus prayer. He knows quite a bit about it. This is George Maloney, who's written about it, who's Eastern right. And so if you don't know about the Jesus prayer, read about it. Think about it. Try praying it. If you do know about it, renew, intensify your experience with it. Because it is a chief form of contemplative prayer of the monastic tradition, and not just. OK. I beg your pardon? William of Saint-Thierry. William of Saint-Thierry. Oh, why don't you. That's a good question. Why don't you look that up and report back next time? Good question. Well, I'm sure they're all in Mother's Love.

[40:25]

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