“Constantly Seek His Face”

Today’s Mass Readings (Hebrews 2:14–18, Psalm 105:1–9, and Mark 1:29–39) offer an interesting insight into the role of prayer in the life of faith.The Gospel reading, from the first chapter of Mark, gives us several stories of healing and exorcism in rapid succession. But there is a sentence right in the middle of the reading, that is very humble and unassuming, but I think it is so important for us to reflect on. Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where … [Read more...]

Encountering Jesus through Questions in the Gospels

Saint Teresa of Ávila, one of the greatest of Christian mystics, understood clearly that the height of mystical spirituality, at least for Christians, must be grounded in the humble humanity of Jesus Christ. In chapter 22 of her Autobiography, she writes, I see clearly... that if we are to please God, and if He is to give us His great graces, everything must pass through the hands of His most Sacred Humanity, in whom His Majesty said that He is well pleased. I know this by repeated experience: o … [Read more...]

“They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love” — And These Gifts Make It Possible

One of C.S. Lewis's last, and best, books was called The Four Loves. Drawing from four different Greek words for love, the book celebrates affection, friendship, eros, and charity and considers the moral, ethical, and spiritual dynamics at play in each form of love.As worthy as Lewis's writing might be, I think Jesus offers his own take on "four loves" that considers not the dynamic of love so much as the object of our love. Here are two Biblical passages that illustrate Jesus's four lo … [Read more...]

The Last Instructions of Christ to His Disciples

In the first chapter of The Acts of the Apostles, Jesus gives his disciples their last instructions before his ascension into heaven (Acts 1:6-12).The first chapter of Acts is one of the easiest chapters in the New Testament to gloss over. After all, the real action of Acts begins with the second chapter, which recounts the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.If the Gospels tell the story of the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus, then the Acts of the Apostles by contrast … [Read more...]

The Hidden Tradition of Christian Mysticism

Karl Rahner, one of the most renowned Christian theologians of the twentieth century, once famously remarked that "the Christian of the future will be a mystic or will not exist at all."For people whose experience of Christianity is, often, little more than a religion invested in obedience and in patriarchal morality, this seems to be a bold statement. After all, mysticism implies not legalistic religion, but living spirituality —  heart-felt intimacy with God, centered on a miraculous and jo … [Read more...]

Interfaith-Friendly Christianity?

Jesus, following the law of his people, instructed his followers to "love your neighbor as yourself."But then he upped the ante by telling the story of the good Samaritan — in his society, the Samaritans were the social outcasts. Yet here was a parable in which the social outcast was a better neighbor to a man in need than the community and religious leaders who didn't want to get involved.The message is simple: Our neighbors are not just the people who look like us, act like us, or en … [Read more...]

Sharing in the Passion of Christ (Why Contemplation is Revolutionary, Part Eight)

This is part of a series on “Why Contemplation is Revolutionary.” If you want to start at the beginning, follow this link: The Archbishop and the Community Theologian.When we struggle with contemplative practice — facing our own inner chaos, turmoil, and darkness — we participate in the passion of Christ, which is a deeply revolutionary matter.Here's what Kenneth Leech has to say: The contemplative shares in the passion of Christ which is both an identification with the pain of the world … [Read more...]