When Silence Rings

By Frmir (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

 A reader named Nick writes: I am interested in the subject of meditation and Christian meditation in general, but I have a minor concern. I would like to engage in practices like centering prayer, but in the instructions for these meditations, I often hear an emphasis on finding a silent place to engage in these activities. I don't have problems finding a silent place, but silence is not something that I carry with me. I have a condition called Tinnitus that causes me to perceive a rin … [Read more...]

Requiem for a Trappist Monk


Rest in peace, Father Luke Kot.Father Luke died tonight, at the age of 102.Father Luke was the last surviving of twenty Trappist monks who, almost seventy years ago, left Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky to take the midnight train to Georgia, arriving on a rainy day in Atlanta in March 1944 — the Feast of St. Benedict — to move into a makeshift cloister in a barn on an old plantation some thirty miles southeast of the city. From that humble beginning came the Monastery of Our Lady of the Hol … [Read more...]

Preparing for the Silent Night (Conclusion)


Okay, I'm loving The Reed of God by Caryll Houselander so much that I have to give you one more quote for this Advent season. Only Our Lady has ever lived all the aspects of phases and moments of Christ completely. In some He is newly born. In some He is a child. In some He is homeless. In some He is ignored, unrecognized, mocked, betrayed. In some He is hungry; in some He is naked; in some He is helpless... He remains, being tempted in all those who are tempted: in those who are in … [Read more...]

Preparing for the Silent Night (Part Two)

Caryll Houselander

This is the second of a series of Advent reflections. To read the first part, follow this link: Preparing for the Silent Night (Part One).In part one of this series we considered the following quotation from The Reed of God by Caryll Houselander. Because He is in the little house of our being, we will learn to control our minds, to gather our thoughts to silence, and to crown them with peace, just as we learn to control our voices and to move softly when a child is asleep in the house of b … [Read more...]

Preparing for the Silent Night (Part One)


My Advent reading for this year is The Reed of God by Caryll Houselander. A twentieth century Catholic mystic, Houselander lived from 1901 until dying from breast cancer in 1954. She wrote several books, but The Reed of God is her most enduring work; published in 1944, it explores themes of waiting, pregnancy, seeking and beauty in regard to Mary’s relationship to Christ. Insightful and earthy, it transcends the theological horizons of its time and has come to be regarded as a twentieth century s … [Read more...]

The Silences of the Lamb (of God)


Speaking (or writing) about silence is an enterprise embedded in paradox; every word represents a departure from, an obstacle to, the subject at hand. Oxford don Diarmaid MacCulloch (who created a splash with his Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years) begins this improbable task of recounting the story of Christian silence by appealing to a dog who did not bark in a Sherlock Holmes story. The great detective discerns a clue in the animal's silence (a dog that does not bark is a dog who … [Read more...]

Before We Face the Monkey Mind

A reader has written to me with the following question:I make my living as a psychotherapist & most of my work is spiritually oriented counseling with Christians.  I have long been trying to introduce clients to contemplation through encouraging brief periods of silence, solitude and openness  (15-20 min).  I also taught an introductory  course through my church.  Finally, I am preparing to lecture other therapists on using contemplation in therapy.As I have tried to introduce others we … [Read more...]