Contemplation and Grieving

A reader named Monika wrote the following comment and left it on one of my blog posts:I recently lost my husband of 49 years to a sudden brain tumor. I sold our home and cafe for economic reasons. I always wanted to live in quiet contemplation when the right time came. I think that it is here and I have nothing but grief blocking any inner peace I am looking for. Where do I start?All your posts seem so moving and joyful.ThanksThank you, Monika, for your comment. I am so sorry to hear ab … [Read more...]

Psalm 131: Humility, Silence and Hope

Sometimes I get asked "Where is contemplation in the Bible?"One obvious answer to this question is Psalm 131.It's a short Psalm, only three verses. Here it is in its entirety from the Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (but every translation works):O Lord, my heart is not lifted up,my eyes are not raised too high;I do not occupy myself with thingstoo great and too marvelous for me.But I have calmed and quieted my soul,like a child quieted at its mother’s br … [Read more...]

Why We Need Contemplation

I am troubled by the idea that it's harder to be a child today than it was when I was young. Is that just my personal angst, the anxiety of someone moving rapidly through midlife? Or is there some truth to my worrisome intuition?Well, consider the following sobering statements, all culled from recent articles on respectable news websites.It is reported that one in three children is the victim of bullying at school, and with a growing number of young people online today, cyber bullying is en … [Read more...]

When Silence Rings

 A reader named Nick writes: I am interested in the subject of meditation and Christian meditation in general, but I have a minor concern. I would like to engage in practices like centering prayer, but in the instructions for these meditations, I often hear an emphasis on finding a silent place to engage in these activities. I don't have problems finding a silent place, but silence is not something that I carry with me. I have a condition called Tinnitus that causes me to perceive a rin … [Read more...]

My Forthcoming Book on Cistercian Spirituality

Dear friends, I'm excited to announce the title and subject of my forthcoming book.In July 2013 I began a conversation with an editor associated with Ave Maria Press about writing a book grounded in Cistercian spirituality. If you're not familiar with it, this is the spirituality of Cistercian monks and nuns — including mystics like Thomas Merton, Bernard of Clairvaux, and Beatrice of Nazareth. The contemplative prayer movement in Christianity today has its roots at least partially in the Cis … [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...]

Talking about Silence: An Interview with Patrick Shen

Indie filmmaker Patrick Shen has made several award-winning documentaries, including Flight From Death (2003), a look at the human longing for immortality, and La Source (2012), an inspiring tale of an ordinary custodian's efforts to provide his hometown in Haiti with clean drinking water. But it's his current project that caught my eye: In Pursuit of Silence, a meditative film about the importance of silence for human beings — and the increasing noise that is drowning out silence in postmodern l … [Read more...]