Quote for the Day

Our discontent with the church is the very reason that we engage rather than pull out. Within the brokenness of the church is our own brokenness. —Shane Claiborne, quoted in The New Atheist Crusaders and Their Unholy Grail by Becky Garrison … [Read more...]

Breaking the Mystical Thermometer

A reader named Judy comments on my Teresa of Ávila page thusly: ... as to the stages of mysticism, the less I know the better. I do not want that craving of evaluating or one could say taking their spiritual temperature ever again. That sneaky ego always popping up saying "well done". I am terrified of taking pride in what is "all God" and his work in me. I know myself and how quickly I can slide right down the chute, having done it several times. As for being "terrified" of pride, I'd like to … [Read more...]

Positive Thoughts

The Prosperity Gospel, The Secret, the Prayer of Jabez, What the Bleep?... like many people who desire to orient my life around the love of God rather than my desires, I find many of the pop-culture "think positive and get what you want" movements to be troubling. I think they are primrose paths that distract people into a tar-baby-like relationship with their appetites, encouraging a focus on the stuff of ambition rather than cultivating a deep faith shaped by gratitude for blessings and … [Read more...]

2/11/1858

The Grotto at Lourdes Originally uploaded by Lawrence OPToday is the 150th anniversary of the first apparition at Lourdes. The Blessed Mother appeared to a sickly child named Bernadette Soubirous eighteen times over the course of 1858, beginning on February 11. Today Lourdes is a place of pilgrimage for Catholics and all who have a devotion to the Lady. The water that flows from the site of the apparitions is believed to have curative powers. The story of Lourdes was eventually … [Read more...]

I John 4:18

There is no need to be afraid. — Matthew 10:31 Courage! It’s me! Don’t be afraid. — Matthew 14:27 Stand up, do not be afraid. — Matthew 17:7 Do not be afraid; only have faith. — Mark 5:36 Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. — John 14:27Yes, that's Jesus talking. And when he wasn't encouraging people to be fearless, others — even his critics — were acknowledging that he himself was afraid of no one, "because human rank means nothing to you" (Mark 12:14).If there's one thing I'm attra … [Read more...]

Perfectly Perfect

"Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."This saying of Jesus, from the heart of his Sermon on the Mount, might possibly be the single most misunderstood verse in the Bible (although it has stiff competition from "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me"). A week ago, during the annual Lay-Cistercian retreat in Conyers, Dom Francis Michael spoke on the question of "What does it mean to be a child of God?" After insisting that … [Read more...]

A Joyful Lent

To all my readers and friends, I hope that you will join me in seeking to keep a joyful and holy Lent. Lent is an invitation to embrace simplicity, silence, and prayer. If you are a person of faith in Christ, may this be a time in which you more fully enter into union with him. If you do not consider yourself a Christian, I hope you will join me and all other people of goodwill in praying for peace in the world and in our hearts, and especially for peace between those who are divided by … [Read more...]


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