November 10, 2021

Sigh. Last night I stumbled across yet another website from a well-meaning, but obviously misinformed, Catholic blogger who attacks Centering Prayer as “un-Catholic.” Not only has she spilled a lot of ink on her blog about this topic, but she has written an e-book filled with her denunciations of Centering Prayer that you can buy on Amazon for just a few books. Forgive me for not linking back to this person or her e-book, but frankly I can’t in good... Read more

November 4, 2021

Mysticism crosses all religious and spiritual boundaries. In other words, mysticism — like prayer or meditation or worship or sacrifice — is a universal spiritual/religious concept, not something that is limited to just one religious or wisdom tradition. What Baron Friedrich von Hugel called “the mystical element of religion” can be found in all the world’s great traditions, east and west, indigenous and cross-cultural. Granted, the word mysticism with its roots in Greek paganism and its rich contemplative tradition within... Read more

October 11, 2021

N.B. Today’s post is a meditation on the Ten Commandments that I wrote for the people who support this blog through Patreon. I’m sharing this particular post with the public because I hope it will spark reflection and dialogue. Eventually every post I share with patrons will eventually be published, but if you’d like to be the first to see much of my new writing, then I hope you’ll consider becoming a supporter today. Click here to visit Patreon. Meditations... Read more

October 8, 2021

Hi friends, just want to make sure everyone is aware of two upcoming retreats I am doing online. If one or both of these topics appeal to you, I hope you’ll join me! On October 22 and 23, the Rock Hill Oratory is sponsoring a retreat called “The Wisdom of the Christian Imagination” featuring insights from the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. I know fantasy isn’t everyone’s cuppa joe, but if you are like me and love to... Read more

September 20, 2021

Last night I had this dream: Fran and I were visiting friends who had a beautiful house out in the woods. The house was covered with natural wood paneling that hadn’t been painted, maybe only varnished, so the beauty of the wood was apparent. The house was surrounded on all sides by woods, like my old house north of Monteagle where I lived from 1990 to 1993. I don’t know who lived there, but they were friends. Fran and I... Read more

August 15, 2021

N.B. Today’s guest post is by Jon M. Sweeney. Jon is the author of numerous books, including The Pope Who Quit, Beauty Awakening Belief: How the Medieval Worldview Inspires Faith Today, Phyllis Tickle: A Life and The Pope’s Cat among many others. He has edited works by Thomas Merton, Meister Eckhart, and others (Jon also edited my book on C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Mouse and the Dawn Treader). This blog post is adapted from Jon’s book  Thomas Merton: An Introduction to His... Read more

August 8, 2021

We all know that so many people today prefer to remain spiritually independent, intentional about cultivating their interior life but unencumbered by affiliation to a faith community. In other words: “spiritual but not religious.” We know that this annoys some religious people, while others seem to roll with it. Even though I remain engaged with Christianity-as-religion, I also try to understand and appreciate the perspectives of those who say “no thank you” to institutional religion. Yesterday morning, this insight came... Read more

August 2, 2021

N.B. Today’s guest post is by podcaster and physician Donna Chacko, author of Pilgrimage: A Doctor’s Healing Journey. Some of the material in today’s post is adapted from excerpts of that book. For nearly forty years I practiced medicine and did my best to help my patients enjoy better health. I didn’t realize I was missing a huge part of the healing package. After retirement I started a program called Serenity and Health and began writing a self-help book to... Read more

July 28, 2021

Consider these teachings from Jesus, all taken from just one Gospel (Matthew — See verses 5:44, 7:12, 19:21, 22:39 and 25:40): “Whatever you do to the least of these, you do to me.” “Sell your possessions, and give (the money) to the poor, and follow me.” “Whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them.” “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” “Love your enemies.” Couple this with a strong theme running throughout the Jewish and... Read more

July 22, 2021

A reader of this blog submitted this question: How explicitly Christian does the prayer word need to be in contemplative prayer (e.g., Centering Prayer)? My quiet-time practice is a hybrid of Lectio Divina with the Liturgy of the Hours. “No problem” with the three discursive steps of Lectio, but when I get to the non-discursive contemplatio, I struggle with monkey brain… Frankly, zazen’s breath counting “works” best for me over the years. I’ve tried using the Jesus Prayer, infused with... Read more


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