Joyful Sanctity

What is the relationship between holiness and joy?A reader named Gordon writes, in response to my concerns about how "experience" can be misunderstood in a spiritual context:I agree with you that experience is not there for entertainment. But given my background in a very dreary fundamentalist religious upbringing, I always find the word "holy" very off-putting. It connotes too much the grey, dreary community of believers in the movie Babette's Feast that meet weekly for dreary worship. … [Read more...]

Joyful Contemplation (No Fooling!)

If you are engaged in a serious and sustained practice of silent prayer and contemplative spirituality, then you need to be a very somber, sober, and serious person, for the mystical life is no laughing matter. . . . April Fool!I was inspired to write about this topic not only because today is April 1, but also because of what is arguably the single most problematic topic in the Rule of Saint Benedict — laughter. Consider these tidbits:Do not say foolish things or things that are intended t … [Read more...]