July 5, 2018

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

July 2, 2018

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

June 28, 2018

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

June 25, 2018

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

June 22, 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. 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

June 8, 2018

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

June 1, 2018

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

May 26, 2018

We human beings are creatures of habit. We brush our teeth in the same direction, we take the same route to work, we fold our clothes or make our beds in pretty much the same manner day after day. We like to sit in the same pews at church and eat the same kinds of candy bars. We shop in our favorite stores and sometimes we even have a particular method of shopping (look at the clearance rack first, then… Read more

May 22, 2018

A friend on Facebook a few weeks back asked me what is the relationship between mysticism and separatism. Put another way: does the mystical life inherently involve a quest for separation — from the world, the flesh, the body, basically from all that is “not-God”? In other words, does our quest for union with God necessarily imply withdrawing from anything and everything that threatens to hold us back from God? Certainly mystical traditions from around the world — not just… Read more

May 18, 2018

Check out this insightful, evocative quotation from Barbara A. Holme’s wonderful book Joy Unspeakable: Contemplative Practices in the Black Church: Those who study contemplation have assumed that the difference between European and Africana approaches to contemplation is the presence or lack of silence … We tend to presume that one must create silent spaces for contemplation. It is as if we have drawn the spiritual veil around contemplative activity, seeking to distance prayerful and reflective practices from the noise of the… Read more

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