Simplicity and Prayer

In the simple promises for the junior lay associates (Lay Cistercians) of the Monastery of the Holy Spirit, we promise, among other things, to live "life in simplicity and prayer." I love that juxtaposition. Prayer and simplicity go together so beautifully, it seems to me, that one of the best ways to cultivate in our hearts the space for prayer is by allowing things to be simple. I don't mean simple in the sense of not very smart, but simple in the sense of what Taoists call wu-wei, or "going … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

You might stare for hours at a sunset, and suddenly disappear into the World Soul, and feel yourself at one with all nature. This is well and good. But nature is not the source of this intuition. Worms and rats and foxes and weasels do not stare for hours at the sunset, and marvel at its beauty, and transcend themselves in that release — even though their senses are in many cases much sharper than ours, even though they see nature more clearly than we! No, nature is not the source of this B … [Read more...]

General Orders No. 9

This past Saturday Fran, Rhiannon and I went to see General Orders No. 9, a new movie that was screening at Georgia State University's Cinefeste Film Theater. We first learned about the movie because it was directed by Bob Persons, who is married to our friend Lisa whom we know through the Friends of L'Arche Atlanta. Bob grew up in the same town Fran did, and when we poked around online to learn a bit more about the film we discovered that parts of it were filmed in and around their home. So, … [Read more...]

Taken Up

Today is the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. What I find interesting about this idea of the assumption is its implications for those of us living here on the earth today.Morning prayer today includes this Responsory: "Today the Virgin Mary was taken up to heaven." Now, if we can agree that heaven is all about being in the presence of God, and if we can also agree that God is omnipresent, then it seems obvious that we can be "taken up to heaven" right here and right now. No … [Read more...]

Tallis in Atlanta

Guess where I'll be tomorrow afternoon?At the "Labor of Love" Choral Concert, featuring music by Vaughan Williams, Wagner, Brahms, and — the pièce de résistance — Thomas Tallis' 40-part motet, Spem in Alium. According to the website promoting the concert, this motet has never been performed in Georgia before (it's not easy to put together a chorus of forty voices, I would imagine). What promises to make this concert particularly special: the choir will be surrounding the audience, meaning that … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

Silence is not an absence of noise (though that sort of silence helps) but a limitless interior space. Silence is our natural state. Lack of silence erodes our humanity. ... Through intention we can teach our selves to default to silence; meditation is only a first and very minor step. — Maggie Ross, Writing the Icon of the Heart … [Read more...]

Upcoming events

I've got a lot of wonderful events coming up this fall. They're pretty much all in the Metro Atlanta area or nearby — between writing my new book and wanting to be available in case my daughter has a medical emergency, I'm trying to limit the amount of travel I'm doing for now. But if you do happen to live in the vicinity, I hope I'll see you at one of these events:September 4, 2011: Decatur Book Festival. This is my first (hopefully of many) appearances at this premier literary event, and I a … [Read more...]


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