Remembering the Monks of Tibhirine

May 31, 2016 marks a grim anniversary in the history of the Cistercian Order. It's been twenty years since the assassination of seven Trappist monks of Notre Dame de Atlas Abbey in Tibhirine, Algeria. The monks, who had been kidnapped by insurgents two months earlier, were probably killed on May 21; their remains were recovered ten days later — on May 31. The circumstances surrounding their death — and who was responsible — remains clouded in mystery.The Martyrs of Atlas, as they have come to … [Read more...]

Mystagogy: the Heart of Spiritual Formation

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults — the Catholic process by which adults enter the Church — suggests that there are four stages or steps in the process of Christian initiation. These steps — evangelization, catechesis, initiation, and mystagogy — not only define the journey of general formation in the life of Christ (in other words, "becoming a Christian") but they also give us insight into the process by which followers of Christ are called "deeper" into the contemplative or mystical li … [Read more...]

Who’s Who Among the Christian Mystics…

My friends, I'm happy to announce my forthcoming book, due in October 2016.Christian Mystics: 108 Seers, Saints and Sages is a companion volume to The Big Book of Christian Mysticism. I originally envisioned including a section in that book that would serve as a sort of who’s who of mysticism, with entries for all the major figures that gave biographical informa-tion, key teachings or ideas, and a representative quote or two. For a variety of reasons, that never came to pass, and so The Big B … [Read more...]

Coming in the Fall of 2016

Friends, I'm so excited to announce my forthcoming book, due in October 2016 from Hampton Roads Publishing Company: Christian Mystics: 108 Seers, Saints and Sages.This book is designed to be a companion volume to The Big Book of Christian Mysticism. While that book explained the "what" and "why" of Christian contemplative spirituality, this book covers the "who" — by profiling the lives and teachings of over 100 of the most significant and interesting of the great mystics, from Biblical times … [Read more...]

“We have been given the Holy Spirit”

Jesus returned to Nazareth, the town where he had been brought up. And on the Sabbath day, he went to the synagogue, as was his custom. On this particular day, he was appointed to read, and the passage for the day came from Isaiah — the same passage we heard, just a few minutes ago.Jesus unrolled the scroll, and found the place where the following words were written:The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,because he has anointed meto bring good news to the poor.He has sent me to proclaim r … [Read more...]

This Silent Blog is Going Silent (But Only Until Pentecost)

I hope you have had a wonderful and prayerful Lent, and that your Holy Week is likewise a time for reflection and contemplative waiting. Here's looking forward to Easter — and the Easter season. May it be filled with joy, warmth, and plenty of "alleluias"!One thing that won't be part of this Easter season: new posts on my blog.I'm taking the Easter season — basically, March 26 through May 15 — as a kind of mini-sabbatical. So I do not expect to publish any new content on either of my blog … [Read more...]

This Silent Blog is Going Silent

I hope you have had a wonderful and prayerful Lent, and that your Holy Week is likewise a time for reflection and contemplative waiting. Here's looking forward to Easter — and the Easter season. May it be filled with joy, warmth, and plenty of "alleluias"!One thing that won't be part of this Easter season: new posts on my blog.I'm taking the Easter season — basically, March 26 through May 15 — as a kind of mini-sabbatical. So I do not expect to publish any new content on either of my blog … [Read more...]