• Mary van Balen

    • Mary van Balen is the author of four books, numerous articles, and has written the column, “Grace in the Moment” for over thirty years. Mary holds an MA in Theology and was a resident scholar at the Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical & Cultural Research. A public speaker, Mary conducts retreats and days of reflection on a variety of topics including journaling and spirituality. She is a spiritual director and a graduate of Shalem's Nurturing the Call: Spiritual Guidance Program. You can contact Mary through her website: maryvanbalen.com.

Deeds Come First

Today’s blog post is by Mary van Balen Peter Claver, a 16th century Spaniard, was canonized by the Roman Catholic church as a saint in 1888, but he is not well known. He was born in 1581 and entered the Jesuits there in 1601. In 1610 he went to the missions in America, landing in […]

The Wisdom of Pope John XXIII

Today’s blog is by Mary Van Balen. Friday, October 11, is the 57th anniversary of the opening session of Vatican II. It is also the fifth time the Catholic church celebrates the feast of Saint John XXIII. Almost 12 when the Council began on October 11, 1962 and a student in a Catholic school, I […]

Niksen: A Time for Be-ing

Today’s post is by Mary van Balen There is a Dutch word for doing nothing: Niksen. I know this not because of my Dutch heritage but from an article that made its way to my email inbox. What does it say about our modern sensibilities that an article about doing nothing and not feeling guilty […]

The Simple Act of Breathing

Today’s post is by Mary van Balen The liturgical feasts of Pentecost and the Holy Trinity focus my thoughts on the Holy Spirit. Of the biblical accounts of Pentecost, I’m always drawn to John’s, where Jesus appears to the disciples gathered in fear, greets them with “Peace be with you,” and imparts the Spirit to […]

June 06, 2019 by Mary van Balen 2 Comments
Categories: Contemplative Living. Tags: breath, breathing, Holy Spirit, Pentecost, spirit, and Trinity Sunday. Formats: Article and Friday Blog. Interest Areas: Friday Blog.

Drawing Us Forward

Today’s post is by Mary van Balen We are often afraid of the truth. Rather than experiencing it as a way to experiencing a deeper reality, we see it as something that up ends our world, threatens our sense of security, and even our sense of self. We have found a comfortable place to “fit in,” […]

April 04, 2019 by Mary van Balen
Categories: Contemplative Living, Contemplative Spirituality, and spiritual growth. Tags: Good Friday, Lent, Palm Sunday, and truth. Formats: Article and Friday Blog. Interest Areas: Friday Blog.

Lent is a Time to Listen

Today’s post is by Mary van Balen While reading some reflections by Richard Rohr on the presence of Christ in creation from the beginning, I was struck by the phrase “Christ-soaked world.” It brought to mind two Scripture readings from Paul used for the beginning of Lent: one from 2 Corinthians and the other from […]

Making Space, One Book at a Time

Today’s post is by Mary van Balen Sometimes the simplest of chores become prayer. It’s about paying attention and being present to the moment. That’s what wisdom teachers have always said whether they were early Christian monks living in the Egyptian desert or a contemporary Buddhist monk like Thich Nhat Hanh; a Sufi poet like […]

February 02, 2019 by Mary van Balen 6 Comments
Categories: Contemplative Living, Contemplative Reading, and Contemplative Spirituality. Tags: books and Reading. Formats: Article and Friday Blog. Interest Areas: Friday Blog.

Hope in the New Year

Today’s post is by Mary van Balen I like to celebrate Christmas—all 12 days of the season. So, while discarded Christmas trees line neighborhood sidewalks, mine still shines with white lights and carefully chosen ornaments. By the time you read this, Epiphany will have come and gone, and my tree will be back in the […]

January 01, 2019 by Mary van Balen
Categories: Contemplative Living, Contemplative Reading, and Contemplative Spirituality. Tags: Christmas, hope, and Thurman. Formats: Article and Friday Blog. Interest Areas: Friday Blog.

Welcoming Christ, Welcoming Others

Today’s post is by Mary van Balen Stepping out of the parking garage elevator and starting down the walkway to the office building, I stopped to look at the nativity scene that had been placed outside the large windows. All the faces were painted pink-white. Sure, that nativity was probably bought decades ago and spends most […]

December 12, 2018 by Mary van Balen
Categories: Community, Contemplation in Action, and Contemplative Living. Tags: Advent, bishops, Christmas, and racism. Formats: Article and Friday Blog. Interest Areas: Friday Blog.

Thomas Keating and Centering Prayer

Today’s post is by Mary van Balen I’m not sure when I began reading books by Thomas Merton. Probably late high school or early college. I’m also not sure how I discovered them. Though I was naturally drawn to contemplative prayer, the word was unfamiliar to me until Merton’s writings provided it. “Contemplative” was not […]

November 11, 2018 by Mary van Balen
Categories: Contemplative Spirituality and Prayer. Tags: centering prayer and Thomas Keating. Formats: Article and Friday Blog. Interest Areas: Friday Blog.