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...]


Today is the Feast of the Transfiguration. It is also the anniversary of the first atomic bomb dropped as an act of war, in the early morning hours of this date in 1945 in Hiroshima. Three weeks earlier, in the middle of July 1945, the first testing of an atomic bomb occurred — under the code name "Trinity."The Greek word for "transfiguration" is metamorphoo. It reminds me of metanoia, a word often rather anemically translated as "repentance," but which carries a far richer meaning of a "new" o … [Read more...]

Some Greek Words Worth Knowing

The traditional developmental map for the contemplative life, as put forth in the earliest centuries of the Christian era by mystics like Clement and Origen, consisted of three stages: Purification, Illumination, and Union. The aspiring contemplative mystic began his or her journey with a rigorous program of repentance and renunciation, "purifying" one's self in order to become a worthy self-offering to God. One of the happy consequences of such asceticism would be the eventual experience of … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

Whatever form of meditation you practice, it is in essence simply a method for detaching yourself from thinking (which tends to reinforce the egoic process) long enough for you to begin to trust this other, deeper intelligence moving inside you. It provides you with another way to think: from "beyond the mind" — which, incidentally, is what the word metanoia, usually translated as "repentance," actually means. — Cynthia Bourgeault, Mystical Hope … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

But did anyone ever tell you that Jesus' very first message in the Gospels, which is usually translated as "convert," "repent," or "reform" (Matthew 4:17, Mark 1:15) is the Greek word metanoia, which quite literally means to "change your mind"? Jesus' first word to us was "change!" — and mind change at that! What we have translated as "repent" is not a moralistic or even churchy word at all; it is a clear strategy for enlightenment for the world. Once you accept ongoing change as a central p … [Read more...]

I Corinthians 2:16

At least three times this weekend, both online and off, I got into conversations with people about the word metanoia. The link is to its Wikipedia entry, which provides a succinct look at the different ways in which this delicious Greek word can be understood.Is metanoia about repentance (stopping doing things that are unloving, addictive/abusive, inimical to the grace of God), or is it about entering into a new mind: a heightened consciousness, a spiritual quantum leap?I don't think the … [Read more...]