A reflection given at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church, Artane, Dublin, Ireland, on September 28, 2014 Scripture: Ezekiel 18:25-28, Philippians 2:1-11, Matthew 21:28-32 It is said that actions speak louder than words. It has also been said that our choices determine who we are, or perhaps, who we shall become. Our lessons today highlight this essential spiritual principle. Ezekiel reminds us that when we blame God for our misfortune, often the real cause of our distress lies far closer to home. When we abandon… Read more

On Thursday, September 11, a vigil for Rhiannon Gladelle Wilburn took place at Wages and Sons Funeral Home in Stone Mountain, GA. The family received guests from 7 to 8 PM and at 8 PM a brief prayer vigil was presided over by Father John Molyneaux, CMF. People told stories — mostly humorous — and Rhiannon’s dear friend Cindy Lou Harrington sang two of Rhiannon’s favorite songs: her own “Let Me Win” and Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon” (with lyrics specially rewritten… Read more

Back in May, I wrote a post about my daughter’s decision to enter in-home hospice care. Rhiannon struggled with health issues, related to polycistic kidney disease, her entire life, and spent 26 of her 29 years in a wheelchair. I first blogged about her challenges back in 2010. Today’s post is the inevitable conclusion to her story. Rhiannon passed away on August 30. Here’s a link to her obituary. Maybe the easiest way to write this post is to begin with the… Read more

Elaine A. Heath is a true friend of contemplation. She recognizes the vital importance of bringing contemplative prayer and mystical spirituality not only into the local church, but into the hearts of the clergy and other ministerial leaders in the church. As a seminary professor (she teaches Christian Evangelism at Perkins School of Theology in Dallas) and Methodist elder, she understands the crisis that mainline churches are facing in our time; while as a student of the contemplative tradition, she also appreciates the… Read more

I sometimes get asked if contemplative prayer is “really Christian.” When someone asks that question, it’s usually because they have noticed the similarity between practices like centering prayer and eastern disciplines such as zazen or transcendental meditation. The fact that many practitioners of centering prayer or other silent prayer forms tend to be interested in interfaith dialogue is sometimes worrisome to others, who do not have a sense of being called to interfaith dialogue and who only want to practically specifically… Read more

Today I wrote a letter to Adam Lewis Greene, who is known for his wonderful project, Bibliotheca, which achieved an awesome level of crowdfunding through Kickstarter. And yes, I’m one of the nearly 15,000 backers. It is a great concept. Greene is publishing a new edition of the Bible as four (or five, if you include the deuterocanonical books) separate books, each beautifully bound, with the text laid out for reading rather than for studying. So there’s no verse numbers, endless annotations,… Read more

Karl Rahner, one of the most renowned Christian theologians of the twentieth century, once famously remarked that “the Christian of the future will be a mystic or will not exist at all.” For people whose experience of Christianity is, often, little more than a religion invested in obedience and in patriarchal morality, this seems to be a bold statement. After all, mysticism implies not legalistic religion, but living spirituality —  heart-felt intimacy with God, centered on a miraculous and joyful appreciation of the… Read more

“Love for Jesus is fed by constant meditation on the Gospels.” — Michael Casey, OCSO A prominent pastor who hosts an Internet podcast once interviewed me for his show, and at the close of our conversation asked me, “What is the one book you would recommend to readers as the most essential title to read, for the purpose of understanding Christian mysticism?” Without batting an eye I said, “The Bible, of course.” I don’t think that was the answer he was… Read more

Today is the feast day of one of the lesser known of Cistercian blesseds (and medieval mystics), Beatrice of Nazareth, who lived ca. 1200-1268 CE. Born in or around 1200 CE, Beatrice of Nazareth was the youngest child of a devout Flemish family; her father may have been a mason involved in the construction of three different monasteries. A devout child, after her mother’s death when she was 7 Beatrice lived for a year with Beguines (lay women who lived… Read more

Jesus, following the law of his people, instructed his followers to “love your neighbor as yourself.” But then he upped the ante by telling the story of the good Samaritan — in his society, the Samaritans were the social outcasts. Yet here was a parable in which the social outcast was a better neighbor to a man in need than the community and religious leaders who didn’t want to get involved. The message is simple: Our neighbors are not just the… Read more

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