September 11, 2018

Today’s post is by a guest author, Dr. David Rensberger, author of Johannine Faith and Liberating Community. A version of this post originally appeared on the blog for the Weavings Journal. Religion is about balance, we are often told. For example, there’s a story in the gospel of Luke about Jesus paying a visit to two sisters, Martha and Mary. Martha busied herself with the necessary household preparations, while Mary simply sat at Jesus’ feet and listened. This story is often… Read more

September 8, 2018

A reader named Kevin wrote and asked me:  What’s your view on the phenomenon of spiritual ecstasy? I used to think, before I experienced it, that it was a surge of positive emotion, rather like joy. Experienced in the body. Actually, in my experience spiritual ecstasy takes place in silence, in stillness, and in the spirit rather than the body. It is an internal experience. Do you have a view? That’s a great question, and I’m afraid I can only… Read more

September 5, 2018

A reader wrote this message to me recently: Carl, I just recently started centering prayer as my form of meditation. Here is my dilemma: I find myself picking a word without really knowing why and the midway through the meditation feeling some kind of inadequacy in it so then picking another word. How do you pick a “sacred word” and then how do you stick with it? Any thoughts? This is a great question and one that I imagine many… Read more

August 30, 2018

This fall my new book, An Invitation to Celtic Wisdom, will be published. You can pre-order it from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or IndieBound (independent bookstores),  — just click on the retailer’s name to order it). If you would like to read a sample chapter of the book, click here. An Invitation to Celtic Wisdom explores what is unique, beautiful and life-giving in the spirituality found in places like Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. Celtic spirituality is filled with poetry, myth, humor and adventure. It is… Read more

August 27, 2018

I sure know how to pick them (he says, ruefully). The two organizations that I have turned to for contemplative formation over the past decade — the Catholic Church and Shambhala Buddhism — have both been rocked by abuse and cover-up scandals. Since 2004 the Catholic Church has been my spiritual home. I was confirmed as a Catholic at the Easter Vigil in 2005. Over the past fourteen years I have gone from being a timid student of Catholicism, to… Read more

August 24, 2018

Meister Eckhart is one of the most renowned of Christian mystics: a medieval philosopher who could have gone down in history as an equal to Augustine or Aquinas — but whose career (and legacy) as a theologian was forever tarnished by accusations of heresy at the end of his life. His many sermons and treatises (in both Latin and Middle High German) show not only a brilliant mind, but a daring and visionary understanding of spirituality and the call of… Read more

August 22, 2018

When I lead retreats, I often offer up a disclaimer: I am not an academic theologian, or a Biblical scholar, or any other kind of scholar for that matter. Which I don’t see as a handicap, since you don’t need a college degree to do the work of silent prayer. I try to be honest that I am a layperson, writing (or speaking) for other laypersons or for anyone interested in contemplative practice. Most of the time this is not… Read more

August 17, 2018

Over the next six months at least three noteworthy books on one of my favorite topics — silence — are scheduled to be published. So I thought I’ve give you a head’s up in case you might be as interested in these books as I am. Two of them will be out before Christmas, so you can put them on your wish list. Pablo d’Ors, Biography of Silence: An Essay on Meditation (October 2018) — A bestseller in the author’s… Read more

August 14, 2018

For years now I have loved Psalm 37, for it includes one of my favorite verses in all of scripture: Take delight in the Lord,     and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4) But there’s much more to this Psalm than that one splendid verse, excellent as it is. I’ve been reading Alexander Ryrie’s Silent Waiting: The Biblical Roots of Contemplative Spirituality, which contains a lengthy chapter called “Waiting for the Lord in the Psalms.” This chapter includes commentary… Read more

August 11, 2018

N.B. Today’s guest post is by Judith Valente, poet, Benedictine oblate, and author of How to Live: What the Rule of St. Benedict Teaches Us About Happiness, Meaning, and Community. To read the first post in this series, click here: Anam Ċara in Verse: How Poetry Is a Soul Friend.   Gray mist between trees Portal we pass through en route To new adventures — Judith Valente   There are times when a particular moment might grasp our attention. We stop, listen,… Read more

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