“Eleven years of Catholic education had told me nothing about Christian meditation.”

Here's an interesting article published the other day in the Utah Statesman by a fellow named Michael Sowder: Finding Home in India. The author tells the story of his spiritual journey, and it's a story I've heard again and again. Basically, it runs like this: born into a Christian family, Sowder (and countless others like him) finds himself befuddled by the sterile Christian education he received as a child. Eventually he  goes on to find meaning and insight in contemplative spirituality … [Read more...]

Some New Books to Explore

If this were an ideal world and I had all the time in the universe to do everything I would like, I'd be reading all sorts of books — and writing lengthy reviews of many of them on this blog. But, alas, ours is not an ideal world, and so like everyone else I have to make do. And so, in that spirit of making do, here are a few brief comments about some interesting books that have come to my attention lately. Some of them are new and some have been around for a while, but I think they are all w … [Read more...]

Thoughts about Mysticism from 1953… and now

Here's something interesting I stumbled across online the other day: an article from Time Magazine's February 2, 1953 issue:Religion: Benedictine v. TrappistIt's basically an article about a Benedictine writer, Dom Aelred Graham (author of Contemplative Christianity and Zen Catholicism among other works), who offers criticism for the ideas he sees being put forth by Thomas Merton. After almost a half century, it's interesting to see some criticism leveled at Merton during his lifetime. But … [Read more...]

Thought for the Day

Too many ascetics fail to become great saints precisely because their rules and ascetic practices have merely deadened their humanity instead of setting it free to develop richly, in all its capacities, under the influence of grace. — Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

The problem of mysticism is to endow the mind and will of man with a supernatural experience of God as He is in Himself and, ultimately, to transform a human soul into God by a union of love. This is something that no human agency can perform or merit or even conceive by itself. This work can be done only by the direct intervention of God. Nevertheless, we can dispose ourselves for mystical union, with the help of ordinary grace and the practice of the virtues. We have just seen that, for St. … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

Men have not become Trappists merely out of a hope for peace in the next world: something has told them, with unshakable conviction, that the next world begins in this world and that heaven can be theirs now, very truly, even though imperfectly, if they give their lives to the one activity which is the beatitude of heaven. That activity is love: the clean, unselfish love that does not live on what it gets but on what it gives; a love that increases by pouring itself out for others, that grows by … [Read more...]

Concerning Merton, Spiritual Direction, and Lighting Candles

  I'm continuing the conversation with noted author and Anglican solitary Maggie Ross. If you're just joining the party now, read Maggie Ross on Scholarship and the Contemplative Life and Maggie Ross's Response to get the story thus far. What follows below is my response to her comments, as posted on my blog yesterday. ***** Dear Maggie,Once again I must say thank you — this time for leaving such a detailed and thoughtful response to my questions. I know you say you are o … [Read more...]


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