Today’s post is by guest contributor Mark S. Burrows, who is a poet and an authority on the great medieval mystic, Meister Eckhart. We live our lives, much of the time, within safe boundaries. It feels better to us. And, to be frank, who does not wish to be safe? Those who find themselves facing bodily threat, or illness, know that such matters allow little room for sentimentality. Safe is safe, period; our “fight or flight” reflex, rooted deep in… Read more

What is the relationship between silence and mystery? Why is silence such an essential part of spirituality (not just Catholic or Christian spirituality, but indeed all of the great spiritual traditions of the world religions)? Why are so many people uncomfortable with silence? And why is it that the world we live in keeps getting noisier and noisier? What can we do to find more silence in our lives, or to appreciate the silence when we do encounter it? And… Read more

December 6 is Evelyn Underhill’s birthday, born this day in 1875. Not only did she go on to become one of the most important Christian mystics of the 20th century, but she also influenced a number of key figures who came after her, including C. S. Lewis and Thomas Merton. A Trappist monk once told me that her book Mysticism was required reading when he was a novice monk in the 1950s. A remember talking to a seminary dean, probably 30… Read more

Today’s post is by a guest contributor: writer, photographer, and filmmaker Cassidy Hall.  …your silences will not protect you… — Audre Lorde I used to be a quiet kid that sat in the corner of the room when I’d get overwhelmed. If I was upset, you could find me crying somewhere alone or sprinting to the prairie-land just behind my childhood home for some comfort from the wide open sky. These were the ways in which I met myself; the ways… Read more

For #GivingTuesday this year, please support this blog. After much consideration (and prayer!), I’ve set up a page on Patreon — a website where you can support writers and other artists like me — people who are engaged in on-going creative work. My blog is a forum devoted to Christian mysticism and contemplative spirituality. I write about the wisdom of the great Christian mystics of the past, the practices that can help you foster a meaningful contemplative practice in your… Read more

Today’s post is by a guest contributor: Brother Mark Dohle, OCSO, who serves as the Guestmaster at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, GA.  Before embarking on some sort of journey, be it going to another destination, or planning a vacation etc., there can be the tendency to romanticize the process. Anticipation is often different than the actual experience. When pondering the need for silence, it can be one sided when it is simply being thought about or when… Read more

Note: the following quotations are excerpted from The Little Book of Christian Mysticism which features over three hundred quotations of the mystics, from Biblical times to the present day. Seek by reading and you will find by meditating; cry in prayer and the door will be opened in contemplation. — Saint John of the Cross The important thing is not to think much, but to love much; do, then, whatever most arouses you to love. — Saint Teresa of Ávila… Read more

Today’s guest contributor is Jon M. Sweeney, author of  The Saint Francis Holy Fool Prayer Book. Read Jon’s previous post on Saint Francis here: What Do Gene Kelly and St. Francis Have in Common? What a Fool Francis Was. When Francis of Assisi acted like a fool 800 years ago, they called him pazzo. That’s Italian for crazy. So we can’t avoid terms like “crazy” and “dumb” – words that make us understandably uncomfortable – when talking about holy fools. See my previous post,… Read more

One of my favorite movies is finally becoming available on blu-ray and DVD: In Pursuit of Silence. If you have been following this blog for a while, you know that I’m in love with this film. If you’re new to my blog, you can read my review of the movie from back in the spring of 2016, when it was making the film festival circuit: In Pursuit of Silence: A Quiet Movie With Much to Say Basically, this movie matters because… Read more

Today’s post is by a guest contributor: Jon M. Sweeney, author of numerous books including The Saint Francis Holy Fool Prayer Book. I’ll always remember the day I decided to introduce my daughter to one of my favorite movies, Singing in the Rain. We sat and watched it together on the couch. She didn’t wiggle much and laughed at the right places. But then we got to the title song and dance number and there was Gene Kelly, blissfully enjoying a rainstorm…. Read more

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