Quote for the Day

The way of the cross is often misunderstood as masochistic, especially in an age so desperately in search of pleasure. But the suffering of which Jesus spoke is not the suffering that unwell people create for themselves. Instead, it is the suffering already present in the world, which we can either identify with or ignore. If pain were not real, if it were not the lot of so many, the way of the cross would be pathological. But in our world — with its millions of hungry, homeless, and hopeless p … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

Mysticism involves not just intense forms of contact with God, of whatever duration, but also a transformed life. It is part of a process that begins, as we have seen, with acts of asceticism, reading the scripture, spiritual direction, and preparatory forms of prayer, but it is meant to spill out and over into a new mode of living. — Bernard McGinn, The Essential Writings of Christian Mysticism … [Read more...]

Teresa of Avila

Today is the feast day of Teresa of Avila.To honor her, I thought I'd mention a few books that newcomers to her work might find helpful.Teresa's writings fill three large volumes, not to mention her letters which fill up another two books. But for students of the contemplative life, three works are truly essential: her autobiography, and two manuals of instruction in prayer and mystical theology: The Way of Perfection and The Interior Castle. Here are my recommendations for exploring each of … [Read more...]

Saint Rafael Arnáiz

This past Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI canonized six new saints. One of them, Saint Damien of Molokai, has received the lion's share of the attention, because Father Damien (who served a leper's colony in Hawaii in the 19th century until he eventually succumbed to the disease himself) has been a celebrity for many years. But for members of the Cistercian family, just as exciting has been the canonization of a rather humble and largely unknown Spanish Cistercian oblate, Rafael Arnáiz Barón. Earlier t … [Read more...]

The Big Book of Christian Mysticism — available for pre-order!

I'm thrilled to announce that my forthcoming book, The Big Book of Christian Mysticism: The Essential Guide to Contemplative Spirituality, is now available for pre-order from Amazon.com.The book won't be published until August 2010 — but why wait? Place your pre-order now by clicking here.And while I cannot say for sure that this is the final cover design — publishers will often change a book's cover, sometimes at the last minute — I can say that I hope this is what the cover will look like … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

In their ignorance some think they do not desire God unless they are always calling him with the words of their mouth or else by words of desire in their hearts, as if I were to say, 'Ah, Lord, bring me to your bliss', 'Lord save me', or something of this kind. These words are good whether sounded in the mouth or formed in the heart, for they stir a man's heart to the desire of God. Nevertheless, a pure but wordless thought of God or of any spiritual thing — virtues, the manhood of Christ, the j … [Read more...]

A New Pagan Blog

My friend Laura, who is one of my cohorts from back in my Pagan days — and who, despite being a former Catholic herself, was one of the most supportive of my friends when I was called to abandon Neopaganism in order to enter the Catholic Church — has begun a blog devoted to the Goddess Persephone.Go check it out: Maid to Queen: Meditations on Persephone … [Read more...]