When I was approached by the Patheos Catholic channel editors to create a contemplative blogging space, as head of the non-profit and Roman Catholic lay association The Inner Room I was a bit mystified. What does it mean to blog contemplatively? By definition, contemplation is deep Christian prayer. Specifically, it is silent prayer. If one was to take seriously that this was a contemplative prayer space, there would be no blogging done at all. Jokes were made about the contradiction we were setting up but I was convinced that there could be something offered. Something different. I just wasn’t sure what.
I invited people to write who were associated with The Inner Room or who were interested in our mission of teaching and supporting silent prayer practice for all in the church. We started off on this page during the season of Advent and tried our hand at offering prayerful reflections on the daily readings of the Church or at the very least, contemplative themes that came out of the readings. That seemed to be a good approach and a few of us wrote consistently during the whole liturgical season.
When the season ended, we didn’t have a plan of action other than each of us should develop our individual voices on the blog centering around deepened prayer.
Karl Persson took up the ball and ran with it. Offering insightful and helpful things for me and our readers in terms that were personal, vulnerable, honest, and with academic grounding in the contemplative and Mystical Theological tradition. He has posted the most and the most consistently and I thank him while looking forward to his next posts.
Cassidy Hall, has offered her own personal struggles and insights into attempting to be faithful to silent prayer in her life and she has done this in artistic sketches that have inspired me. I hope her next posts will continue in the same helpful voice.
Chris Johnson has written not as often but when he does write his amiable and down-to-earth style and vocabulary allows me to approach the topic of silent prayer in ways that I find is an important balance to the academic language that could distract me from the grace that seeks me.
And as for me?
I think I have taken the original idea too seriously. No blogging done at all.
Well, not completely, but close.
I have struggled with the vision of what this space should be. As the director of The Inner Room who is invited to give talks or retreats in line with our mission, I am always trying to balance the need for talking about silence and then offering a space for silence. How to do this on a blog? I am not sure I have found an answer. My original thought was to write only posts that were intended to lead to prayer. Not to offer book reviews. Not to be a teacher that stimulated thinking. But to be more poetic in approach. To lead people to want to slow down and listen to the Silent Voice that Beckons. So my limited posts have been in that vein. But that style of writing has been tough to do on demand on a deadline. At least it has been. Maybe it will get easier over time.
Until then, I have realized that the blog can continue as a “contemplative space” in that it can offer inspiration for people to make silence an essential aspect of their prayer life and their everyday embodied life. We can share resources or thoughts that come out of and lead back into the Silent Way that is Christ.
So starting this week, I will write more consistently and discover my own approach to the topic as I go without trying to limit my writing to a very precise template. There will be posts that will be prayerful and that follow the daily readings of the church but there will also be posts that will have silent prayer and its importance for all of us as the topic.
I apologize for being absent on the blog.
I promise to speak more consistently. I pray my words will be Silent.
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