Contemplative Prayer in Decatur

Wow. I feel so privileged to have been part of the first contemplative gathering at First Christian Church of Decatur, Georgia.It was a very simple thing, actually. There were over 20 of us (I counted 21, but someone else said 22, maybe I forgot to count myself) gathered together in one of the education rooms at the church. We sat in a circle and after introducing ourselves, we shared a communal exercise based on the ancient monastic practice of lectio divina (sacred reading). … [Read more...]

Julian of Norwich In Her Own Voice

So today is May 13 — the other possible anniversary date for Julian of Norwich's showings (the first being May 8). So to commemorate this day, I thought I would highlight editions of Julian's writings that feature her text based on the old handwritten manuscripts we have of her writing — in other words, Julian in Middle English.There are several editions of Julian in Middle English available. The first one I ever owned was the Colledge & Walsh edition, published by the Pontifical Ins … [Read more...]

By Your Words

For my morning lectio divina, today I read Matthew 12:33-37. Although this passage is best known for "the tree is known by its fruit" (v. 33), two other parts of the passage particularly caught my attention this morning, from verses 34 and 37:For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks... for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.Challenging words indeed for me as a writer — but also for anyone who loves to speak or write! What Jesus is s … [Read more...]

Brigit of Kildare’s Spiritual Practice

One day holy Brigit needed to attend a gathering of the people for a compelling practical reason, and she sat in her chariot, which was drawn by two horses. As she sat in her vehicle, she practiced on earth the life of heaven, as was her custom, by contemplative meditation, and prayed to her Lord.Thus wrote Cogitosus, the seventh-century Irish monk who authored the earliest biography of Saint Brigit. It is included in Oliver Davies' wonderful anthology Celtic Spirituality in the Classics of … [Read more...]

A Chat with a Methodist Minister

The other day at the Abbey Store I struck up a conversation with a Methodist minister who was making a short retreat at the Monastery. We chatted up books and authors and it became apparent that we had a similar interest in contemplative spirituality."So tell me," I asked him, "What is it like to advocate for contemplative spirituality in your congregation?"He smiled ruefully. "It's not easy," he said."Are people afraid of it?" I wondered, mindful of the small but vocal presence of … [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...]

Contemplative Apps

Okay all you iPhone lovers out there — I've been meaning to do this for a while: list the four apps that I find the most useful for my spiritual practice. I hope you find them useful as well.If there is one app that I think is the most essential, it would have to be Zen Timer by Spotlight Six. This handy little tool will liberate you from ever having to worry about how much time you have to pray. Easy to use, the app features a variety of sounds from bells and gongs such as those you will find … [Read more...]


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