Concerning Contemplative Prayer and Spiritual Xenophobia

Contemplative spirituality is a spirituality in which, in the words of Richard Rohr, "everything belongs." It's a spirituality of inclusion, rather than exclusion. It seeks to build bridges rather than walls. To me, this is part of the towering beauty of contemplation. But we live in a world where not everyone sees things the same way, and contemplation, like anything else, has its critics. Generally speaking, my experience shows that the critics of Christian contemplation reject it for two … [Read more...]

Sometimes When I Sit in Silence…

Chateau d'Amboise

Contemplative prayer — the prayer of sitting in silence, waiting in faith and trust on God — needs to be a daily practice. There are a number of reasons for this, but today I'd like to look at something I experience in my own prayer. I have to eat a little bit of humble pie to write this, because I'm admitting how poor I am at praying. But the truth is the truth. I need to pray in silence every day because, well, most days my silent prayer is not all that silent. Futhermore (and this is actually … [Read more...]

Preparing for the Silent Night (Conclusion)

Houselander-Art

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)

TROG-Featured

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 Fullness of Our Destiny

Pollard

I picked up a copy of an old book called The Laughter of God: At Ease With Prayer by Trappistine nun Miriam Pollard from the used book tent at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit's Fall Festival earlier this month. It's an insightful book which seeks to foster a sense of prayer as a means of entering into intimacy with God — the God who laughs and loves, a healthy corrective to the frightening God of judgment and wrath that so often seems to be the stock in trade of old-style religion. Here is a sn … [Read more...]

My First Article in Contemplative Journal, or, How to Be a Faithful Christian While Embracing Interspirituality

Contemplative Journal is the loveliest and most promising new website to come along in quite some time. Unlike some of the more prominent inter-religious websites, this start-up is dedicated to the contemplative dimension of the spiritual life, with a decidedly interspiritual presence. Early contributors included a variety of well-known and intriguing voices in the contemplative world: Judith Simmer-Brown, Rabbi Rami Shapiro, Mirabai Starr, Thomas Keating, and many others. According to its … [Read more...]


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