Andrew Garfield and Stephen Colbert talk about Silence, Jesuits and Humility…

Are you as eager to see Martin Scorsese's film adaptation of Shusako Endo's Silence as I am? Not sure when I'll get to see it, but hopefully soon!In the meantime, check out this fascinating interview that aired on "the Late Show" the other night, Stephen Colbert interviewing Andrew Garfield about the movie. They talk about Jesuit spirituality, the Ignatian exercises, the relationship between silence and spirituality, the Jesuit charism of "finding God in all things," and even the importance … [Read more...]

“Constantly Seek His Face”

Today’s Mass Readings (Hebrews 2:14–18, Psalm 105:1–9, and Mark 1:29–39) offer an interesting insight into the role of prayer in the life of faith.The Gospel reading, from the first chapter of Mark, gives us several stories of healing and exorcism in rapid succession. But there is a sentence right in the middle of the reading, that is very humble and unassuming, but I think it is so important for us to reflect on. Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where … [Read more...]

Thoughts are to contemplative silence like a monstrance is to the Host

The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines contemplation like this: A form of wordless prayer in which mind and heart focus on God's greatness and goodness in affective, loving adoration; to look on Jesus and the mysteries of his life with faith and love. I emphasized "wordless prayer" because that is often what people struggle with the most. Critics of contemplation attack it because they see it as "emptying the mind" which they think makes it too similar to eastern meditation (which is an … [Read more...]

The Flicker of the Screen

For if there is no dark night of the soul anymore that isn’t lit with the flicker of the screen, then there is no morning of hopefulness either.The above quotation comes from a fascinating, and I believe vitally important, article by Andrew Sullivan, called I Used to Be A Human Being. Originally published in New York magazine, it's long for an internet article (7000 words) — but read it anyway. Take the time. Savor the beautiful language, the keen insight, but most important of all, it's vital … [Read more...]

In Pursuit of Silence: A Quiet Movie with Much to Say

"Silence is where we speak something deeper than our words...""Silence returns us to what is real."These are two of many jewels of insight spoken over the course of In Pursuit of Silence, a luminous and vitally important movie, which, as far as I am concerned, everyone needs to see.In 2014 I interviewed the film's director Patrick Shen (read the interview here), and now I have had the privilege to screen the film ahead of its North American debut later this month at the SXSW Festival … [Read more...]

Books and a Film: All About Silence

I would love to attend the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin next month — if for no other reason than to be at the North American premiere of the movie In Pursuit of Silence. Here's the latest trailer for this "meditative film about our relationship with sound and the impact of noise on our lives."http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDTxstUyrM8So if you live in or near Austin, or are attending SXSW, go see this movie (they haven't announced time and location yet, so keep an eye on the … [Read more...]

What Are We Afraid Of?

I've been reading Bill Bryson's charming and delightful book on the English language, The Mother Tongue, and ran across this delicious tidbit:English speakers dread silence. We are all familiar with the uncomfortable feeling that overcomes us when a conversation palls. Studies have shown that when a pause reaches four seconds, one or more of the conversationalists will invariably blurt something — a fatuous comment on the weather, a startled cry of "Gosh, is that the time?" — rather than let th … [Read more...]