Concerning Spiritual Noise, (Lack of) Inner Silence, and Singlemindedness

AM writes: I find most of your posts on the contemplative life too congested with many labels and categories - mystics and non-mystics, oppositional thinking and non-oppositional thinking, Christian mysticism and ordinary Christian spirituality, Protestant mystics and Catholic mystics, mysticism and contemplation, etc. This appears to me not only an intellectual congestion but also a spiritual noise, a portrayal of a lack of inner silence. Somehow, I visit your blog ... to be nourished … [Read more...]

Suffering

Recently I received this sobering comment from a woman named Karen, posted to the Mystics page of this website: God abandoned me, killed my brother, father and mother and left me with no family God hurts people and could choose to help but doesn’t It is hard to understand why he makes some people suffer so and gives so much to others, not very charitable Karen, while there are many details of your situation that I do not know, it seems clear to me that you are dealing with profound suffering. … [Read more...]

The Contemplative Life is a Heavenly Life

Blessed John Ruusbroec says, toward the end of his masterpiece The Spiritual Espousals, that "the contemplative life is a heavenly life." In The Big Book of Christian Mysticism, I describe mysticism as "living in heaven consciousness." (We'll see if that phrase survives the editing process, but I like it, so I think it will). I just read on Twitter where somebody quoted Thich Nhat Hanh as saying "The peace movement can write very good protest letters, but they are not yet able to write a love … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

The way of the cross is often misunderstood as masochistic, especially in an age so desperately in search of pleasure. But the suffering of which Jesus spoke is not the suffering that unwell people create for themselves. Instead, it is the suffering already present in the world, which we can either identify with or ignore. If pain were not real, if it were not the lot of so many, the way of the cross would be pathological. But in our world — with its millions of hungry, homeless, and hopeless … [Read more...]

A Kiss from Mom and a Lesson About Suffering

Early this morning (August 15, 2009) I had a dream in which I was standing outside a building, like an officer’s club on a small military base. It felt like I was in Florida or somewhere else where the winters are mild. There may have been palm trees, but I’m not sure. What I do remember is that I stood outside the building, with tables and chairs all around me, as if this were a place where people can gather and share a meal. Perhaps there were a few others milling about; again, I don’t … [Read more...]


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