The Desert and the Dark Night

In the Christian tradition, there are two symbols which recur frequently in the literature of contemplative prayer: the symbols of Desert and of Dark Night. The Desert symbol spans the spiritual history of the people of God from Abraham's movement into unknown territory, through the wanderings in the wilderness, the desert movement of the early church, to Charles de Foucauld and the revival of desert spirituality in the twentieth century. It stands for the realities of purity, of simplicity, of … [Read more...]

Something of the Leisure of Eternity

The action of those whose lives are given to the Spirit has in it something of the leisure of Eternity; and because of this, they achieve far more than those whose lives are enslaved by the rush and hurry, the unceasing tick-tick of the world. Otherwise we tend to forget that God, Who is greater than our heart, is greater than our job too.— Evelyn Underhill, The Spiritual LifeI know I get caught up in the deadline syndrome: I have to get something done by a certain date or it won't happen. I … [Read more...]

Reading and Recognition

The Greek word for "reading" means to have renewed cognition, to re-cognize. To read texts of mysticism is to have renewed cognition of one's self, of a being that is buried under rubble. Thus, the discovery of the mystical tradition also sets free one's own forgotten experience.— Dorothee Soelle, The Silent Cry: Mysticism and ResistanceIn The Wisdom Jesus, Cynthia Bourgeault describes Jesus "as a recognition event." In Jesus we recognize ourselves, but we also recognize God. Recognition and … [Read more...]

Cistercian Spirituality, Anyone?

My latest installment of the Let the Earth Keep Silence column is now live at Patheos: it's called Cistercian Spirituality 101.As always, I hope you'll click on the link and take a look. And if you find it interesting, or would like to see more columns devoted to Cistercian spirituality, please say so (i.e., leave a comment, either here or there). I'm thinking it might be fun to write a series of columns on the Cistercian Charisms — but only if enough folks seem to be interested in the t … [Read more...]

Discovering the Celtic Experience (Evening at Emory Course)

This post is especially for my friends in the metro Atlanta area...I'm pleased to announce that Emory Continuing Education is bringing back a class I haven't taught in several years: Discovering the Celtic Experience. Here's the blurb for the class from the Emory website:Evening at Emory: Discovering the Celtic ExperienceCome explore the rich traditions of Celtic history, art, music, spirituality and wisdom. Through storytelling, audio-visual presentations and lively discussions, … [Read more...]

Contemplative Decluttering

Once you face your belongings, confront your fears, unclutter your space, and discover your personal desires and truths, you will have more energy, feel more inspired, access more creativity and find refuge, renewal and splendor within your own four walls.— Xorin Balbes, SoulSpace: Transform Your Home, Transform Your LifeEvelyn Underhill suggested that artists, with their devotion to beauty, are naturally kin to mystics with their devotion to God. With this principle in mind, I find Xorin B … [Read more...]

The Holy Land from the air

Here's a little something for your Saturday morning viewing pleasure. This is a seven minute preview of an iMax movie currently in production about Jerusalem and its role as a holy city for the three Abrahamic faiths. The cinematography (all aerial in this clip, although the finished film will include footage from the ground) is gorgeous.The movie is scheduled for a 2013 release. If you want to learn more about it, visit … [Read more...]