Salvation and Wellness, Holiness and Therapy

Last week when I wrote about the distinction between mindfulness meditation and contemplative prayer, one reader left this comment: I would also like to hear your comments on salvation vs therapy. I feel a bit of trepidation taking this on, for the simple reason that I am not a professional counselor, therapist, psychologist, social worker — I have none of those little sets of letters like "LPC" or "MSW" that tag along after a person's name to indicate that he or she is qualified to … [Read more...]

Francis of Assisi on Holiness

Holiness is not an accomplishment of the self, nor a fullness which one gives oneself. It is first of all an emptiness which one discovers and accepts, and which God comes to fill in the measure that the person opens himself to His fullness... To contemplate the glory of God... to discover that God is God, eternally God, beyond what we are or can be, to rejoice fully in what he is, to be in ecstasy before his eternal youth and to thank him for  himself, for his unfailing mercy, that is the most … [Read more...]

A Few Deep Breaths

I spoke with a friend of mine the other night, who does marketing consulting for publishers. We talked about my writing. Now that The Lion, the Mouse and the Dawn Treader has gone to press, my next project is to work on the new edition of The Aspiring Mystic which will hopefully be released in time for the Wild Goose Festival. But then what? Spiritual writing for me is a calling, not a career or even a livelihood. Yes, I want my books to be successful, but at the risk of sounding clichéd, … [Read more...]

What Mystics Do (and You Can, Too)

What do mystics do? The following list can be a way to begin answering this question. I'm not suggesting that every mystic does everything on this list (for starters, this list is particularly aimed at Christian mystics), or that a person has to do all of these things to be considered a mystic. I'm trying to make the list general, so that it's not just about persons who live in a cloister (monks and nuns) or who have ordained ministries of some sort. Think of this list as a glimpse into the … [Read more...]

To love many things…

The other day my co-worker, Robin, with whom I carpool, and I had a deep and philosophical conversation... about the weather. "This is such a great time of year," I enthused, about September in Georgia. "Cool in the mornings, and yet still plenty of warmth in the afternoons." She nodded, as I went on, "You get a chance to both cool down and thaw out." "I agree, Carl, I love this time of year." She thought for a moment, and then added, "but I love every time of the year." We both … [Read more...]

Embracing Contemplative Depth (on God’s Terms)

A reader writes (and I quote him with his permission): You seem very knowledgeable and deep and compassionate all at the same time.  I sense a depth to you that is rather rare. How do I go about getting to that point (if it is God's will)? I am already doing the Daily Office but I want to be more contemplative.  Perhaps I already am but I don't think I have the proper tools (I think about things a lot but I feel that contemplation is much more than just thinking about things).  I looked at … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

O Love, why should you be so unknown and why should you, as it were, throw yourself and all your delights at everyone whilst people are trying to find you in hidden corners and obscure places where they will never come across you? How foolish they are not to breathe the fresh air, not to wander about the countryside, not to drink the abundant water, not to recognize and seize hold of God and see his holiness in all things. — Jean-Pierre de Caussade, Abandonment to Divine Providence N.B. As I … [Read more...]


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