The Desert and the Dark Night

In the Christian tradition, there are two symbols which recur frequently in the literature of contemplative prayer: the symbols of Desert and of Dark Night. The Desert symbol spans the spiritual history of the people of God from Abraham's movement into unknown territory, through the wanderings in the wilderness, the desert movement of the early church, to Charles de Foucauld and the revival of desert spirituality in the twentieth century. It stands for the realities of purity, of simplicity, of … [Read more...]

Inception and Contemplation

By now I suppose everyone who wants to see Inception will have done so. But if you want to see it, and haven't yet, don't read any further, as this post does contain spoilers. … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

Saints and divines teach us that prayer is the elevation of the soul to God. If thy prayer by word of mouth serves this purpose, well and good. But even so: if my clothing serves me, all the same it is not my own self. Thus does all prayer of the mouth serve true prayer; but in itself and taken alone it is not true prayer. — Blessed John Tauler, quoted in The Soul Afire: Revelations of the Mystics edited by H. A. Reinhold. … [Read more...]

Training Your Dragon

We went to see How to Train Your Dragon last night, and were delighted. It's quite a fun movie, filled with action, but good for kids aged about 7 up; it's got a wonderful storyline about learning to think outside the, er, dragon's nest and looking for solutions to problems that don't involve violence. It portrays disabled characters with dignity and grace. But perhaps the most important message of all has to do with fear. The hero, Hiccup (gotta love his name) is a runt of a Viking, a scrawny … [Read more...]