For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. — Matthew 17:20 NRSV One concept I have run into again and again, both among Christians as well as among others with an interest in mysticism, is the idea that mysticism is about experience which is somehow different from faith. The logic seems to go like this: as the author of the letter to the Hebrews puts it, "fa … [Read more...]

Location, Location, Location

It is said that there are three important concerns in real estate: "Location, location, location." It's funny because it's true.If you love to golf, your dream house is adjacent to a golf course — maybe not so close that you get golf balls flying through your windows, but close enough to walk to the clubhouse. Likewise, if you love the ocean, there's nothing like beachfront property; if the lake is your thing, then you want waterfront property. And so it goes.My wife and I keep going back a … [Read more...]

Meditation Minutes

"Seven times a day I praise You." — Psalm 119:164 I took a class on spiritual formation from the Shalem Institute in Washington, DC, back in the mid-1980s. The instructor, Isabella Bates, led us through a variety of meditative and contemplative practices. We met every Saturday morning from November through May for two and a half hours. It was a wonderful class. One thing that Isabella said, toward the end of the class, has stayed with me over the past 25 years. Commenting on the relationship b … [Read more...]

Chasing Francis

Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim's TaleBy Ian Morgan CronColorado Springs: Navpress, 2006Review by Carl McColmanFrancis of Assisi might not be the first figure who comes to mind as a mentor and inspiration for a twenty-first century evangelical pastor, but in this enjoyable and thought-provoking teaching novel by Ian Cron, Francis turns out to be just the figure to both encourage and challenge a "successful" pastor who is dealing with issues related to burnout. The hero of this tale is … [Read more...]

Finding the Monk Within

Finding the Monk Within: Great Monastic Values for Today By Edward C. Sellner Mahwah, NJ: HiddenSpring, 2008 Review by Carl McColmanEd Sellner is known primarily for his writing on various aspects of the Celtic Christian spiritual tradition (such as Wisdom of the Celtic Saints). And indeed, one of the most beautifully written chapters in Finding the Monk Within concerns Brigid of Kildare, well known as an Irish saint but also remarkable for being the Abbess of a mixed gender monastery. But in … [Read more...]

Concerning Human Rest-Less-Ness

Here are my replies to my friend’s questionnaire: the second part, which deals with the topic of Human “Rest-less-ness.”What robs you of peace? What gets in the way of your resting? What makes you feel restless? What is it that we “lack” when we are “rest-less”? My own compulsions, probably more than anything else. My tendency to compulsive behavior not only keeps me busy (often with tasks that do not in themselves truly nurture my soul), but also introduces a sense of anxiety: if I don't do t … [Read more...]

My Daily Horarium

A reader of this blog has asked me to comment on my own daily practice, especially in regard to these concerns:Word prayer (litanies and sorts) Rosary prayer Jesus prayer/prayer of the heart Psalm prayer Christian meditation/Centering prayer Daily Office Lectio Divina Participation in the sacramental life of the Church Bible reading Personal study Creative exercises (writing, painting, dancing...) Retreats and quiet days Fasting Waking & vigilance Works of mercy … [Read more...]