Concerning Contemplative Prayer and Spiritual Xenophobia

Evagrius Ponticus, fourth century Christian contemplative

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...]

Seven Books I Hope to Read in 2014

Mystagogy

Are you looking for a book or two to read, on the topics of contemplation or mysticism?I thought I'd offer a twist on the typical blog post where books get reviewed. Here is a list of seven books I hope to read, ideally sometime this year. Some of these books are brand new, others a few years old, others older still. They all touch on contemplative prayer, the Christian mystery, and/or interspirituality, in some form or fashion. A disclaimer: copies of three of these seven books were s … [Read more...]

Requiem for a Trappist Monk

Father Luke in the cloister.

Rest in peace, Father Luke Kot.Father Luke died tonight, at the age of 102.Father Luke was the last surviving of twenty Trappist monks who, almost seventy years ago, left Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky to take the midnight train to Georgia, arriving on a rainy day in Atlanta in March 1944 — the Feast of St. Benedict — to move into a makeshift cloister in a barn on an old plantation some thirty miles southeast of the city. From that humble beginning came the Monastery of Our Lady of the Hol … [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...]


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