July 25, 2018

A reader of this blog named John wrote to me a while back and asked this question: In your opinion, what role does self worth play in faith and from where does self worth come? Since it’s a broad question, I wrote back to him to get a bit of clarification. In my response, I wrote: Many of us learn not to love ourselves, thanks to the toxicity of our culture and the fact that so many families are wounded…. Read more

July 23, 2018

If you love the spirituality of the English people, a new treat awaits you, courtesy of Paraclete Press (and SLG Press in the UK). A collection of essays by Sr. Benedicta Ward, SLG, has just been published, called Give Love and Receive the Kingdom: Essential People and Themes of English Spirituality. Sr. Benedicta Ward teaches the history of Christian Spirituality at Oxford. She is a respected authority on figures as diverse as the Desert Fathers and Mothers, the Venerable Bede,… Read more

July 19, 2018

In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Saint Paul throws down the spiritual gauntlet. He instructs his readers to “pray without ceasing.” For almost two thousand years now, Christian saints, nuns, monks, and mystics have been trying to unpack that simple three-word verse (just two words in the original Greek). What, pray tell, did Saint Paul mean? Did he expect us to go through life, every waking hour engaging in a never-ending interior dialogue with God, sort of like The Truman Show On… Read more

July 16, 2018

To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the last book Thomas Merton completed before his death, Liturgical Press has brought out a new edition. The book is The Climate of Monastic Prayer, which has also been published under the title Contemplative Prayer. The new edition features a foreword by noted Anglican theologian Sarah Coakley. Coakley’s foreword is short — only five pages long — but she makes every word count, deftly describing the book itself, why it matters in the context of Merton’s… Read more

July 14, 2018

One thing I love about the mystics is just how weird they are. Obviously, there are mystics who see visions, who hear voices, who smell beautiful aromas that no one else can smell, that sort of thing. There are also stories out there of mystics who levitate, who survived for who-knows-how-long eating nothing but the daily eucharistic Host, and whose bodies remained incorrupt after dying. I don’t know how true any of these stories are — but you gotta admit, they’re… Read more

July 11, 2018

To be a mystic is to be the explorer of both Divine and human mysteries (which corresponds to Jesus’s two essential teachings, “Love God” and “Love your neighbors”). We often think that the essential way to do this is through spiritual practices such as meditation, contemplation, chanting the psalms, and working with a spiritual guide or companion. And, yes, all those things are important. But there’s also the question of how we find the mysteries in the midst of the stories… Read more

July 5, 2018

Today’s guest post is by Mark S. Burrows, translator of Rilke’s Prayers of a Young Poet. My life is not this steep hour in which you see me hurrying so. I am the tree standing before what I once was; I am only one of my many mouths, and, at that, the first to close. I am the stillness between two notes that don’t easily harmonize, because the note Death wants to lift itself up. . . But in the… Read more

July 2, 2018

A few months ago my wife and I jumped on the MoviePass bandwagon. We don’t spend every night at the movies — but we are getting out on average about once a week, which is more often than we used to go see films in the cinema. One of the interesting consequences of being a MoviePass subscriber is that, now that I’m seeing more films, I’m beginning to look at how the individual films we watch seem to contribute to… Read more

June 28, 2018

One of the my favorite Christian writers is a woman who lived in fourteenth century England. We don’t even know her name. But we know her by the name of her church, which was St. Julian’s Church in Norwich, England. So she is forever known as Julian of Norwich. Julian lived from about 1342 to about 1416. We don’t know a lot about her life, but we do know that when she was thirty years old, she became ill, so… Read more

June 25, 2018

Scripture very bluntly tells us that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God — and so, my brothers and sisters, I feel that I must begin today’s sermon by confessing one of my own sins. When I was a little boy — and I am not proud to admit this, but it is the truth — when I was a little boy, maybe four or five years old, I was a thief — and the object… Read more

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