To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the last book Thomas Merton completed before his death, Liturgical Press has brought out a new edition. The book is The Climate of Monastic Prayer, which has also been published under the title Contemplative Prayer. The new edition features a foreword by noted Anglican theologian Sarah Coakley. Coakley’s foreword is short — only five pages long — but she makes every word count, deftly describing the book itself, why it matters in the context of Merton’s… Read more

One thing I love about the mystics is just how weird they are. Obviously, there are mystics who see visions, who hear voices, who smell beautiful aromas that no one else can smell, that sort of thing. There are also stories out there of mystics who levitate, who survived for who-knows-how-long eating nothing but the daily eucharistic Host, and whose bodies remained incorrupt after dying. I don’t know how true any of these stories are — but you gotta admit, they’re… Read more

To be a mystic is to be the explorer of both Divine and human mysteries (which corresponds to Jesus’s two essential teachings, “Love God” and “Love your neighbors”). We often think that the essential way to do this is through spiritual practices such as meditation, contemplation, chanting the psalms, and working with a spiritual guide or companion. And, yes, all those things are important. But there’s also the question of how we find the mysteries in the midst of the stories… Read more

Today’s guest post is by Mark S. Burrows, translator of Rilke’s Prayers of a Young Poet. My life is not this steep hour in which you see me hurrying so. I am the tree standing before what I once was; I am only one of my many mouths, and, at that, the first to close. I am the stillness between two notes that don’t easily harmonize, because the note Death wants to lift itself up. . . But in the… Read more

A few months ago my wife and I jumped on the MoviePass bandwagon. We don’t spend every night at the movies — but we are getting out on average about once a week, which is more often than we used to go see films in the cinema. One of the interesting consequences of being a MoviePass subscriber is that, now that I’m seeing more films, I’m beginning to look at how the individual films we watch seem to contribute to… Read more

One of the my favorite Christian writers is a woman who lived in fourteenth century England. We don’t even know her name. But we know her by the name of her church, which was St. Julian’s Church in Norwich, England. So she is forever known as Julian of Norwich. Julian lived from about 1342 to about 1416. We don’t know a lot about her life, but we do know that when she was thirty years old, she became ill, so… Read more

Scripture very bluntly tells us that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God — and so, my brothers and sisters, I feel that I must begin today’s sermon by confessing one of my own sins. When I was a little boy — and I am not proud to admit this, but it is the truth — when I was a little boy, maybe four or five years old, I was a thief — and the object… Read more

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. One of the most memorable people I’ve interviewed as a journalist is the former U.S. Poet Laureate, Billy Collins. Collins’ poems are usually laugh-out-loud funny, even sarcastic at times. One on one, the poet is a witty, but also deeply reflective man. I asked Collins about writing “The Names,” his poem… Read more

The Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus occurs every year on the Friday after the Feast of Corpus Christi. In 2018, that means it falls on June 8. Before I became a Catholic, I thought images and statues of the Sacred Heart were, well, a little creepy. I remember my first visit to Ireland, staying at B&Bs which allowed me an intimate glimpse into the homes of ordinary Irish folk. At that time the overwelming majority of the… Read more

Today’s guest post is by Neil Douglas-Klotz, author of The Little Book of Sufi Stories. What’s the story with Sufis today? Sufis, usually called the mystics of Islam, are best known in the West through the popular love poetry of Jelaluddin Rumi, the 13thcentury Persian mystic. Yet an internet search of “Sufi news” over the past year reveals that Sufis are just as present today as they were eight centuries ago and are playing a major role in the culture wars… Read more

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