What Has Not Yet Been Revealed

Radiance

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is I John 3:2. Here is a lectio divina meditation I recently wrote about this verse. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. I think there is a tendency to pay attention to the second half of the verse. "We shall be like God... we shall see God as God is." It's a powerful promise and a lovely summation of what has been cal … [Read more...]

Why Is “Mysticism” A Dirty Word?

Andrew Louth is one of numerous scholars who criticize "mysticism" as a controversial or useless category.

In the introduction to her book Writing the Icon of the Heart, Maggie Ross makes this rather in-your-face claim: The word 'mystic'... has, in my view, become entirely useless. It has acquired nuances of romanticism, exoticism and self-absorption. In addition, far too many studies of 'mysticism' and 'spirituality' are based on a modern and narcissistic notion of 'experience' as self-authenticating that corresponds neither to the way the brain works nor to notions of experience in the ancient and … [Read more...]

Meet the Newest Doctor of the Church: Saint Gregory of Narek

Armenian manuscript of 1173

Vatican Radio announced earlier this week that Pope Francis has declared a tenth century Armenian saint and mystic, Saint Gregory of Narek (Grigor Narekatsi), a Doctor of the Universal Church.St. Gregory of Narek is the first new Doctor of the Church appointed by Pope Francis. The last saints to be given this title were Sts. Hildegard of Bingen and Juan of Avila, conferred by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012. Before that, the last Doctor of the Church was St. Thérèse of Lisieux, declared by Pope Jo … [Read more...]

Seven Books I Hope to Read in 2014

Mystagogy

Are you looking for a book or two to read, on the topics of contemplation or mysticism?I thought I'd offer a twist on the typical blog post where books get reviewed. Here is a list of seven books I hope to read, ideally sometime this year. Some of these books are brand new, others a few years old, others older still. They all touch on contemplative prayer, the Christian mystery, and/or interspirituality, in some form or fashion. A disclaimer: copies of three of these seven books were s … [Read more...]

Our Words, Our Breath, Our Bodies, Our Spirit

Once again, Alison Leigh Lilly wows me with the elegance, beauty and insight of her writing. The fact that her most recent blog post begins with something I tweeted yesterday is not only a delight in itself for me, but her reflections in that post are so rich and relevant to concerns that I am wrestling with in my own current writing that it seems, well, serendipitous.The piece is called Why I Cannot Tell You About My Gods. And yes, "Gods" is meant to be plural, for Alison is a Pagan, her … [Read more...]

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 therapize. … [Read more...]

Three Video Clips: Speaking of Mysticism in Portland, OR

Here are three brief excerpts from a talk I gave in Portland, OR, in October 2010 on the topic of Christian mysticism. They were filmed and produced by Cathy Zheutlin of Holy Rascals — a media company that produces videos and webinars for the spiritually adventurous. In the first one, I tell an amusing story of one of my monastic mentors, Father Anthony, who gave me some grief about the difficulty of defining the word "mysticism"...So in this next video, I offer less of a "definition" of … [Read more...]


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