The Rule, the Discipline, and Spiritual Growth

I bet if I took a poll, almost everyone who reads my blog would agree with this statement: "I want to grow spiritually."Readers of spiritual blogs want to grow in their faith and practice the way that readers of marketing blogs want to expand their business, or the readers of investment blogs want to make more money. It's part of the nobility of being human: we see areas in our lives where we want improvement, and we try to gain more knowledge, more skill, more discipline in order to reach … [Read more...]

When Contemplation Feels Like Dying

"For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:3).How exactly does this "spiritual dying" fit in with the practice of contemplative spirituality? One reader of this blog is curious about this. In response to my post from a few weeks back (Why is "Mysticism" a Dirty Word), I received the following message on Facebook: Thank you for your thoughts on mysticism's more dubious meanings, my learned friend. I'm afraid I've been shallow in my understanding, based as … [Read more...]

Rocking Justice & Spirituality: Like the Two Movements of the Breath

When I met the Anglican writer Kenneth Leech, who is one of my heroes, he told me a funny but sad story.I mentioned to him that one of my favorite books of his was The Eye of the Storm: Spiritual Resources for the Pursuit of Justice. I loved it (and still do) because it is an eloquent statement of why Christian spirituality necessarily includes a commitment to making the world a more peaceful and just place. He explained to me how he was inspired to write the book.At some point in the … [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...]

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...]

Keeping Spirituality Grounded

One of the pitfalls of contemplative practice is that we can easily get stuck in our heads. Combing through the Bible or other books for lectio divina, investing time to daily prayer and meditation, and nurturing our faith through study or devotional reading — these are all fine pursuits, but, especially when combined with the kind of white collar work so common in western society, they can result in a spirituality that is abstract, overly mental, and divorced from the messy realities of li … [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...]