The Places that Scare You

The American Buddhist teacher Pema Chödrön has written a book called The Places that Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times. I haven't read it yet, although I like her work and so I hope to one of these days; but I'm mentioning it because the title alone is, for me, provocative. Sooner or later meditation or contemplation alone will take us to the places that scare us. Indeed, life will take us to the places that scare us. We lose a job, a relationship, a valued possession, our h … [Read more...]

The Right Way and the Wrong Way

In response to my comments about the forthcoming Catholic Prayer Bible: Lectio Divina Edition, where I complained because the ad for this Bible suggested that lectio divina culminates in "action" rather then "contemplation" (see Lectio Divina as a Tool for... Creating an Action Plan?!?), a Facebook friend of mine who is a Catholic author says the following: I read your blog comments on the Paulist Press Lectio Divina Bible. I agree absolutely with you that contemplatio does not equal action, and … [Read more...]

Watching the Woodstock Movie (Again)

This weekend I saw the recently released "ultimate collector's edition" director's cut of the Woodstock Movie (available on DVD and Blu-Ray). This was the third time I saw the movie; I originally saw it in the theater back in the late seventies, and then watched it on VHS sometime in the late 80s or early 90s. But the ultimate collector's/director's cut has about two hours of footage not featured in the theatrical release, including Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

You can't have a light without a dark to stick it in. — Arlo Guthrie, "The Neutron Bomb" from Precious Friend … [Read more...]

“An Author is Not Famous Until After He Dies”

I don't know who said "An author is not famous until after he (or she) dies," but I do believe there is some truth to it. Last night I began reading Jean-Pierre de Caussade's Abandonment to Divine Providence. de Caussade was a French Jesuit who lived from 1675 to 1751, and who gained some renown in his lifetime as a spiritual director. He did write one book that is now pretty much forgotten; meanwhile, Abandonment to Divine Providence was essentially redacted from the authors letters by another … [Read more...]

Why the Divine Office?

This morning, a reader of this blog posted these two simple questions: The Divine Office: how important is it for lay Christians? How does it deepen our spirituality? If I can answer the second question, that in itself will answer the first. The Office is important for ordinary Christians precisely because it does deepen our spirituality.But how?Just a few thoughts here. I believe the Daily Office deepens our spirituality because it immerses us in the language of prayer, it links us to the … [Read more...]

Memorizing the Office (or, at least, parts of it)

I recently listened to a recording I have of the Anglican theologian Kenneth Leech, when he spoke at an Episcopal Church here in Stone Mountain back in the mid-1990s. Leech is a true treasure, and I'm excited to note that a new anthology of his writings have been published: Prayer and Prophecy, the Essential Kenneth Leech (after I get my hands on a copy, I'll write a review of it). Anyway, when he spoke here in 1995, he made a comment that, listening to the recording now, I find inspiring, in … [Read more...]