• 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.

Proximity and Hope

by Mary Van Balen A movie or book can be transforming. For Black History Month, I’m sharing an experience with both. In January, I attended a movie with friends: Just Mercy. Based on the book Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, written by Bryan Stevenson and published in 2014, the movie centers around […]

Finding Hope

Today’s blog is by Mary van Balen People long for hope, for peace, for cooperation. While some are bent on stirring up distrust, and spreading fear based on dividing the world into “us” and “them,” most of humankind is looking for a better way in 2020. Many I talked with over the holidays desire an […]

Advent Listening

Today’s blog is by Mary van Balen I am poring through Scripture readings and books while preparing for an Advent retreat, revisiting favorite writings and discovering new ones. As readers do, I filter the words through my current state of mind, faith, and being. A passage that held deep meaning five years ago provides little […]

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.