The Politics of Silence

The other day, I posted this tweet: a friend of mine posted this reply: which I made this immediate response: I think this deserves some further reflection, so here goes.In the 1980s, at the height of the AIDS crisis, several activists launched a campaign to raise awareness of the need … [Read more...]

At the Edge of Waiting — A Celtic Approach to Contemplation

The Irish word for contemplation — or contemplative prayer — is rinnfheitheamh. Yes, that’s a mouthful! I only have enough Irish to be dangerous, and the pronunciation of Irish depends on which of several dialects you’re speaking, but to the best of my knowledge the pronunciation is something like RINN-eh-hev.So why such a big word, for such a simple concept? To answer that question, let’s take rinnfheitheamh apart.Rinn means a point or a tip, as in the sharp point of a sword. Fheitheamh … [Read more...]

It’s Summertime (On the Road Again!)

Hello friends and readers of A Contemplative Faith.Just a quick note here to let you know that over the next five weeks this blog will be updated less frequently than normal. I'll be traveling some, leading a few retreats here and there, as well as taking time to finish the book I'm currently working on (on Celtic spirituality) and begin gearing up for the next project (which I will say more about, when I return to regular posting).So between now and July 16, I'll only be posting to this … [Read more...]

The Heart of Celtic Spirituality is Hospitality

The heart of Celtic spirituality is hospitality. Indeed, from even before the coming of Christianity, the Celts recognized hospitality as a core value of their civilization.The reigns of mythic kings were judged on their hospitality (or lack thereof). Once, when Bres, a warrior of the Fomorian people — the “bad guys” of Celtic myth — became king of the Tuatha Dé Danann, he quickly became renowned for his parsimony. Bards complained that visitors to his house could count on leaving with no … [Read more...]

Saint Brigid (Part Two)

This is the second of a two-part series on Saint Brigid. Click here to read part one.As the abbess of Kildare, Brigid soon became renowned for her holiness and spiritual leadership. The stories told about her are both charming and illuminating. Perhaps my favorite story about Brigid involves the season of Lent, the 40-day period before Easter when Christians fast in preparation for their high holy days. The story goes that Brigid, and two other nuns from Kildare were traveling during the … [Read more...]

Sacred Rhythms: How Monastic Spirituality Can Nurture Your Walk with God

Would you like to learn more about the beautiful spirituality of Christian monks and nuns?Are you drawn to the silence, the chanted liturgy, the ongoing commitment to prayer and compassion, the simple life where both manual labor and spiritual study are valued and celebrated?Here is a book which distills the best elements and characteristics of the monastic way into a useful and informative overview of this ancient, yet still relevant, way of life.Forget about Rod Dreher — here is a b … [Read more...]

Saint Brigid (Part One)

Patrick may be the best known of the Celtic saints, but for many people, the heart of the Celtic tradition belongs to Brigid.Born in the middle of the fifth century, Brigid is according to legend the daughter of a pagan chief and his Christian slave. The story goes that Brigid’s mother worked in the dairy of her master’s household, and that she gave birth at dawn on the morning of February 1, precisely at the moment she was stepping over the threshold into the dairy.So Brigid is very … [Read more...]