Seven Hopes for the Christian (and Church) of the Future

In his 1981 book Concern for the Church, Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner made his famous prediction, "the Christian of the future will be a mystic or he will not exist at all."A third of a century later, has Rahner's prediction come to pass? The "not exist at all" part seems ominously real, as more and more congregations face declining membership, a shortage of priests, nuns, monks and volunteers, and difficulty raising enough money to pay for clergy salaries or building maintenance. But I t … [Read more...]

Silence Today

Today is a wonderful day to be silent.If you have never taken time to simply "be still and know God" (Psalm 46:1), then I invite you to do so. Not some day — today. Find some time today to turn off the smartphone, unplug the television and the laptop, silence the iPod and iPad — and simply rest, gently, quietly, in silence before the mystery of God.  … [Read more...]

Lectio Divina Every Day

"Love for Jesus is fed by constant meditation on the Gospels." — Michael Casey, OCSOA prominent pastor who hosts an Internet podcast once interviewed me for his show, and at the close of our conversation asked me, "What is the one book you would recommend to readers as the most essential title to read, for the purpose of understanding Christian mysticism?"Without batting an eye I said, "The Bible, of course." I don't think that was the answer he was expecting!But it's true. If you ha … [Read more...]

A Prayer for the Morning

Beautiful God, Blessed Trinity, I thank you for the gift of this new day. O God, come to my assistance. O Lord, make haste to help me. I ask for the gift of grace today. All that I long for can only come from you. I ask for the gift of peace today. Lead me to the silence deep beneath my inner turbulence. I ask for the gift of light today. May your resplendence shine on me, without and within, and on all people. I ask for the gift of true repentance today. Change my mind and give me the … [Read more...]

Sometimes When I Sit in Silence…

Contemplative prayer — the prayer of sitting in silence, waiting in faith and trust on God — needs to be a daily practice. There are a number of reasons for this, but today I'd like to look at something I experience in my own prayer. I have to eat a little bit of humble pie to write this, because I'm admitting how poor I am at praying. But the truth is the truth. I need to pray in silence every day because, well, most days my silent prayer is not all that silent. Futhermore (and this is actually … [Read more...]

The Fullness of Our Destiny

I picked up a copy of an old book called The Laughter of God: At Ease With Prayer by Trappistine nun Miriam Pollard from the used book tent at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit's Fall Festival earlier this month. It's an insightful book which seeks to foster a sense of prayer as a means of entering into intimacy with God — the God who laughs and loves, a healthy corrective to the frightening God of judgment and wrath that so often seems to be the stock in trade of old-style religion. Here is a sn … [Read more...]

Why Contemplation is Revolutionary (Part One)

In yesterday's post (The Archbishop and the Community Theologian) I quoted two renowned living contemplatives — emeritus Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and author/community theologian Kenneth Leech — both speaking of the communal and social implications of contemplative prayer.Naysayers, stand aside. Contemplative prayer is not about navel-gazing or self-absorbed "spiritual experiences." Indeed, anyone who explores contemplation only out of a desire for mystical experience or per … [Read more...]