How to Think About Angels

Here is a wonderful description of angels from the anonymous Syrian monk who is now called "Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite." The angel is an image of God...... a manifestation of the hidden light...... a mirror, pure, bright, untarnished, unspotted, receiving, if one may say so, the full loveliness of the divine goodness and purely enlightening within itself as far as possible the goodness of the silence in the inner sanctuaries. This is from the treatise The Divine Names, as t … [Read more...]

Seven Ideas for a Contemplative New Year’s Resolution

Happy new year!'Tis the season for making a resolution for a positive change in our lives. It's easy to get cynical about new year's resolutions (how many of us join the gym in January, only to cancel our membership by March?), but I think we need to keep a positive attitude. Better to make a resolution and at least attempt to improve ourselves, than just not to bother at all.I think the best approach to a new year's resolution is to start small. Making a modest change in life — and stic … [Read more...]

A Christian Mystics Bibliography

In my books The Big Book of Christian Mysticism and Christian Mystics: 108 Seers, Saints and Sages, I suggest a number of books that anyone interested in learning more about Christian mysticism might enjoy.On this page I've gathered together those books (and a few audio recordings). For good measure, I've thrown in a few other important titles, and will continue to add useful books to this page as they come to my attention.I believe this list represents a comprehensive library of Chri … [Read more...]

St. Teresa’s Advice for Dealing With People Who Cannot or Will Not Engage in Christian Contemplation

Some things never change.Here's a little quote from Teresa of Ávila's classic book about prayer, The Way of Perfection: Let us now return to speak of those souls I have mentioned who cannot practise recollection or tie down their minds to mental prayer or make a meditation. We must not talk to them of either of those two things— they will not hear of them; as a matter of fact, there are a great many people who seem terrified at the very name of contemplation or mental prayer. The next time … [Read more...]

Cats in the Cloister!

Here's your silly cat video for the day: filmed at the Optima Orthodox Monastery in western Russia, apparently this documents a daily occurrence in the cloister: as a monk walks through the grounds blessing the place, eight or so feline friends accompany him through the snow. Perhaps dinner awaits them when the task is done? Or perhaps these are "cloister cats" who take their formation seriously!Who says you can't herd cats?!? Although, if you watch the video all the way through it's pretty … [Read more...]

Why I Still Recommend Verbum Software for Catholics… and for all Contemplatives

Two years ago this week, I wrote a glowing review of a Bible Software program called Verbum. Click here to read that review. Among other things, I said... I use Verbum every day. I repeat: every day. It’s not perfect, but it’s far and away the best Bible software I’ve ever come across. Twenty-four months later, and I'm still using this software every day.Not only do I consider Verbum an essential tool for my work as a Catholic writer, speaker, and catechist, but as a student of the contemp … [Read more...]

Books to Give Away this Christmas

It's that time of year again... Advent! And if you're like me and many other Catholics, you're devoting some energy into trying to honor the deeply contemplative spirit of the season, while at the same time keeping up with all the demands on your time: parties, planning, gifts to buy, presents to wrap, and so forth.Well, hopefully this blog post can be a wee bit of help. Here are seven ideas for books you might want to give to loved ones this year. Okay, it's actually eight (the last one is … [Read more...]