Social Media… and Silence

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Hi. My name is Carl and I'm a Facebook addict.("Hi, Carl!")This past weekend, against my better judgment, I got into an unpleasant debate in a Facebook group with a young person whom I do not know. No need to go into details here — let's just say that by the end, nobody was edified. Much of my weekend got swallowed up in a back-and-forth conversation that generated much more heat than light. I'm embarrassed that I allowed myself to get so thoroughly triggered, and that I kept going back f … [Read more...]

How to Keep a Holy Lent

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Mardi Gras can be a lot of fun, but when Fat Tuesday ends, Ash Wednesday begins. Clean up the mess from the party, and recycle the empty bottles. Welcome to Lent.If you've never observed Lent before, or if it means nothing more to you than "forty days without chocolate," then here are a few thoughts to introduce you to this ancient Christian season. Lent is more than just a time of year — it's a spiritual practice.The word Lent comes from the Old English word lencten meaning "sprin … [Read more...]

Timothy Keller Gets Contemplation Wrong

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Timothy Keller, the popular New York City Presbyterian pastor and author of several bestselling books, is out and about promoting his newest work, called Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God. I haven't read the book, and normally I would applaud a new book by a prominent author encouraging people to pray. But after reading an interview with Keller on MSNBC this morning, I'm nervous about this title. Based on the interview, at least, it seems that Keller has no idea what he's talking … [Read more...]

Prologue 9

This 1996 translation of the Rule of St. Benedict, by Brother Luke Dysinger, gets it right.

“Prologue 9”? What does that mean, pray tell?It’s an allusion to the Rule of Saint Benedict, and — by a sort of happy coincidence — also to the Gospel of Saint John. Both the Rule and John are documents renowned for their prologue — and in both documents, verse 9 of the prologue is packed with meaning.The Prologue to Saint Benedict’s Rule is itself a renowned spiritual document, a stirring cry to holiness and fervor for anyone who might seek to follow the way of Christ without compromise. … [Read more...]

“That God’s Love Might Live in Us” — A Few Lovely Words from Thomas Merton

I've been re-reading Thomas Merton's The Waters of Siloe for a class I'm teaching at the monastery. It's basically Merton's history of the Cistercian order, but it's also full of his insights into Cistercian spirituality (and monastic spirituality in general). I especially love the book because it devotes several pages to the founding of the monastery in Georgia, including a wonderful photograph of the monks sitting in front of the old barn where they lived when they first came to the … [Read more...]

A Prayer for the Morning

Beautiful God, Blessed Trinity, I thank you for the gift of this new day. O God, come to my assistance. O Lord, make haste to help me. I ask for the gift of grace today. All that I long for can only come from you. I ask for the gift of peace today. Lead me to the silence deep beneath my inner turbulence. I ask for the gift of light today. May your resplendence shine on me, without and within, and on all people. I ask for the gift of true repentance today. Change my mind and give me the … [Read more...]

The Choices We Make Determine Who We Are

Drawing by St. John of the Cross

This morning I was reading St. John of the Cross, and came across this passage.An act of virtue produces and fosters in the soul mildness, peace, comfort, light, purity, and strength, just as an inordinate appetite brings about torment, fatigue, weariness, blindness, and weakness. Through the practice of one virtue all the virtues grow, and similarly, through an increase of one vice, all the vices and their effects grow.—John of the Cross, The Ascent of Mount Carmel, I.10.5 from The C … [Read more...]


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