The Great Blue Beautifulness

After this he said nothing for a while, and I laid myself on the floor of his garret, and stared up and around at the great blue beautifulness. I had forgotten him almost, when at last he said, 'Ain't you done yet?' 'Done what?' I asked. 'Done saying your prayers,' says he. 'I wasn't saying my prayers,' I answered. 'Oh, yes, you were,' said he, 'though you didn't know it! And now I must show you something else.'— George MacDonald, At the Back of the North WindThe Apostle Paul enjoins his r … [Read more...]

Prayer and Presence

The life of prayer and contemplation is simply to realize God's presence in the depth of our being, in the depth of every being, and at the same time beyond all beings, beyond all that is within and all that is without.— Abhishiktananda, PrayerOne of the monks who teaches our Lay Cistercian group has called Abhishiktananda's book Prayer "one of the best books on the subject" he's ever read. High praise indeed. I've just started the book (based on that recommendation!) and barely 10 pages i … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

Then you should readily and trustfully commit yourself and all that concerns you to the unfailing and most sure Providence of God, in silence and peace. He Himself will fight for you, and will grant you a liberty and consolation better, nobler, and sweeter than would be possible if you gave yourself up day and night to your fancies, to vain and wandering thoughts, which hold captive the mind, as they toss it  hither and thither, wearying soul and body, and wasting uselessly alike your time and … [Read more...]

Simplicity and Prayer

In the simple promises for the junior lay associates (Lay Cistercians) of the Monastery of the Holy Spirit, we promise, among other things, to live "life in simplicity and prayer." I love that juxtaposition. Prayer and simplicity go together so beautifully, it seems to me, that one of the best ways to cultivate in our hearts the space for prayer is by allowing things to be simple. I don't mean simple in the sense of not very smart, but simple in the sense of what Taoists call wu-wei, or "going … [Read more...]

Literary Prayer

Okay, I have a confession to make.Sometimes I get bored with spiritual writing. That may seem like a crazy foolish thing for me to admit, for after all, I am a "spiritual writer" myself. But it's true. I can only take so much gentle, kind, inspirational prose about discovering our inner authenticity and learning to let God's forgiving love transform us so that we can in turn bring compassion and forgiveness to others.... yada yada yada... I believe it all, it's all true, but sometimes it just … [Read more...]

Four questions about Mysticism

A reader named Matt wrote the following questions to me, quite some time ago (sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you, Matt!):The Reformed, and Protestant traditions have been quite suspicious of some of the practices of "Mysticism", why is that, and what would be a response to Protestant concerns? What is the theology behind Christian Mysticism? Does Christian Mysticism have Biblical Support? How does one go about practicing the more Mystical aspects of the Christian faith?Any … [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...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X