Writing the Icon of the Heart

Writing the Icon of the Heart: In Silence Beholding By Maggie Ross Abingdon, UK: Bible Reading Fellowship, 2011Almost twenty years ago I read Maggie Ross's wonderful book on the theology of priesthood, Pillars of Flame: Power, Priesthood and Spiritual Maturity. Not only was it a valuable book in helping me to affirm my ministry as a lay Christian, but it also struck me as one of the most lyrical and eloquent statements of Christian spirituality in general that I had ever read. Yes, that is … [Read more...]

Soundings in the Christian Mystical Tradition

Soundings in the Christian Mystical TraditionBy Harvey D. EganCollegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2010Harvey Egan is one of the big names in the academic study of Christian mysticism; he is the editor of one of the best anthologies of Christian mystical writings, and has penned insightful studies into the work of Jesuit mystics like Ignatius of Loyola and Karl Rahner. But this most recent offering of his may be one of the most useful books for anyone wishing to learn more about the great … [Read more...]

A Brief Julian of Norwich Bibliography

A Facebook friend has asked me to draw up a list of recommended books on Julian of Norwich. While I have done this previously (see my page on Julian), it had been a while since I had updated it, and there are some worthwhile new books available. So it seemed worth revisiting. Here, then, is my updated list. Happy reading! A Brief Julian of Norwich BibliographyEditions of Julian's book, translated into modern English:Julian of Norwich, Revelation of Love, tr. John Skinner (the translation I … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

Each of us possesses a soul, but we do not prize our souls as creatures made in God's image deserve and so we do not understand the great secrets that they contain. — Saint Teresa of Avila, The Interior Castle … [Read more...]

Vision: From the Life of Hildegard von Bingen

On Monday Fran and I went to see Vision, a recent German-language film directed by Margarethe Von Trotta and starring Barbara Sukowa, on the life of the twefth-century visionary abbess, Hildegard of Bingen. Many people in our time know of Hildegard exclusively through her music, thanks to beautiful contemporary recordings like Gothic Voices and Emma Kirkby's luminous A Feather on the Breath of God. But Hildegard was more than just a composer — she was truly a renaissance woman, centuries before t … [Read more...]

Teresa of Avila

Today is the feast day of Teresa of Avila.To honor her, I thought I'd mention a few books that newcomers to her work might find helpful.Teresa's writings fill three large volumes, not to mention her letters which fill up another two books. But for students of the contemplative life, three works are truly essential: her autobiography, and two manuals of instruction in prayer and mystical theology: The Way of Perfection and The Interior Castle. Here are my recommendations for exploring each of … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

But to serve God freely and joyously with a pure heart, yea, what a delicious life it is! Ah, to embrace the delight and love of this supreme good with a full heart what a joy it is! You must know: even though there were no reward hereafter, it would be a reward in itself. Behold, they walk on earth and yet they dwell in heaven.— Henry Suso, quoted in The Soul Afire: Revelations of the Mystics edited by H.A. Reinhold … [Read more...]