• 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.

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.

A Place Where Grace Flows

Today’s post is by Mary van Balen Have you read something that stays with you, popping into mind out of nowhere, bringing insight to the moment? Recently, I read Pure Act: The Uncommon Life of Robert Lax by Michael N. McGregor. Lax was a great American poet and close friend of Thomas Merton. I took heart […]

October 10, 2018 by Mary van Balen
Categories: Contemplative Living and Contemplative Spirituality. Formats: Article and Friday Blog. Interest Areas: Friday Blog.

Ordinary Life, Extraordinary Grace

Today’s post is by Mary van Balen Sometimes an ordinary event becomes an extraordinary grace. That happened to me recently, and I’m grateful. Horrible headlines, day after day, overwhelm. I couldn’t finish reading an article about the violence and abuse that drove Honduran families to risk everything and take a chance on making it to […]

Mr. Rogers: Restoring the World to Wholeness One Neighbor at a Time

Today’s post is by Mary van Balen When my oldest child was three, friends with a son about the same age asked how I liked Sesame Street. I admitted that neither I nor my daughter had seen it. We rarely turned on the television, but after hearing other young parents extolling the show’s merits, I […]

August 08, 2018 by Mary van Balen 1 Comment
Categories: Community, Contemplation in Action, and Contemplative Living. Tags: Mr. Rogers and tikkun olam. Formats: Article and Friday Blog. Interest Areas: Friday Blog.

Three Simple Gifts

Today’s post is by Mary van Balen Recently I attended the Spiritual Director’s International Conference in St. Louis. The keynote speakers are well-known in the area of spirituality, and I looked forward to the breakout sessions, especially one on storytelling. To top it off, travel was a road trip with a good friend filled with […]

God’s Love is Never Small

Today’s post is by Mary van Balen One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus replied, “The first is this: Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your […]

March 03, 2018 by Mary van Balen
Categories: Love and Non-duality. Formats: Article and Friday Blog. Interest Areas: Friday Blog.

Howard Thurman: Black Theologian, Mystic, and Mentor

Today’s post is by Mary van Balen The reading from Mark’s gospel about the Gentile woman’s request for Jesus to heal her daughter possessed by a demon is one of my favorites. Jesus had slipped away from the crowds, but the woman found him and threw herself at his feet, asking for help. When Jesus […]

Deepening Our Ability to Hear

Today’s post is by Mary van Balen Scripture provides no definite age for Samuel at the time of his call. He is called “a boy.” Yet even at this young age, Samuel paid attention. His heart was “awake” even as he slept. One night, in the shrine at Shiloh where he lived under the care of […]

January 01, 2018 by Mary van Balen
Categories: Contemplative Living, Contemplative Spirituality, Continuous Prayer, and Prayer. Tags: Samuel. Formats: Article and Friday Blog. Interest Areas: Friday Blog.

The Both-And of Our Faith

Post by Mary van Balen I looked up the word “advenio” in my old Latin dictionary and found that, depending on how it’s used, the verb can mean “to draw near” or “to arrive.”  The noun, “adventus” is also translated as either “approach” or “arrival.” The season of Advent encompasses both. We wait. We celebrate […]

December 12, 2017 by Mary van Balen
Categories: Clergy & Congregation, Contemplation in Action, and Contemplative Living. Tags: Advent. Formats: Article and Friday Blog. Interest Areas: Friday Blog.

Doing What We Have Learned

Today’s post is by Mary van Balen Perhaps it’s because I’m weary of the divisive speech that is becoming more commonplace in our country and of the racism and ignorance of the “other” that undergird it. Maybe it’s hearing hateful comments, seeing intolerance, and recognizing that choices are being made to stoke fear and anger […]

October 10, 2017 by Mary van Balen 1 Comment
Categories: Contemplation in Action and Contemplative Living. Formats: Article and Friday Blog. Interest Areas: Friday Blog.