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Archive for Contemplative Reading

Coddiwomple

“It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” (Ursula Le Guin) Several years ago, I planned a road trip with a good friend to visit her son, my godson, during spring break. We had only four days to drive out to Idaho, visit […]

Desmond Tutu as Christian Mystic

The three-fold division of Christian mysticism (purgation, illumination, and union) is essential in understanding Desmond Tutu’s life. Purgation exemplifies Tutu’s formation as an institutional church leader, illumination exemplifies Tutu’s role as confessor, and union exemplifies Tutu’s elder years as sage. As Tutu’s life proceeds through purgation, illumination, and union, not only does mysticism describe Tutu’s […]

Prayer as Action: Loving the World

Does it ever seem that not much is happening when you pray? When that’s what it seems like to me, all I need to do is look back at the tracks of prayer in my life. The psalmist’s astonishment and relief at being “lifted out of the miry bog”- in all the bog’s various guises […]

Love, Not Atonement

This year in the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar, the feast of the Annunciation falls just a few days before Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week. (This isn’t always the case since Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the spring equinox.) The proximity of the two feasts […]

Prayer Changes Us

There is an old saying: be careful what you wish for. In a similar vein we might also be careful how we pray and what we pray for. As we practice contemplative prayer things change and that change is mostly in ourselves. Our ways of seeing and acting in the world become transfigured by divine […]

Welcoming God with Open Arms

While Lent is sometimes thought of as a season to give up something, this Lent comes after a year of pandemic and unrest that has many feeling like they’ve already given up a lot. For some it has meant no in-person visits with family or friends for close to a year. Some have lost jobs. […]

Let This Light Grow in Us

Let it grow in us, this light, let it grow in all of our hearts, the light of our love for one another, let it grow and get stronger, let it not be dimmed but increased, becoming ever more radiant, reaching out to enfold all the people who need its blessing so badly. Let it […]

A Day Like No Other

I awoke on Wednesday, November 4, with no small measure of fear and trepidation. I was responsible to lead Shalem’s “Prayer for the World” at 8:30am and had been afraid for weeks that we’d be in exactly the situation in which we awoke: no clear result of the presidential election and an incumbent that was […]

Election Day Prayer Vigil

The other day as I was having my prayer time, I was feeling very vulnerable and helpless, particularly in regard to the world situation. This is an ongoing occurrence these days, as things seem to be so chaotic, divisive and truly unpredictable. This chaos and distress in the air has a big impact on me, […]

Silent Retreat: Deepening Intimacy

Silent retreat is a serious commitment and practice common to spiritual seekers throughout history. Conversations about the spiritual journey are studded with transformational experiences that have occurred on quiet days, weekends, or even quiet months. When my children were young, it was only possible for me to attend day retreats. But I remember being drawn […]