Life Goes Wide Within Me

My Lenten roses (hellebores) are in full bloom now in what I lovingly call my “anti-depressant garden.” All the flowers in this garden bloom early, usually starting right after Christmas. During the pandemic, my garden has sustained and still sustains me—anything that would grow was a friend, and almost every petunia or geranium, plants usually […]

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 […]

Knowing by Heart

Jeremiah 31:31-34 (The Message) “That’s right. The time is coming when I will make a brand-new covenant with Israel and Judah. It won’t be a repeat of the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took their hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant even though I […]

Boundless Gratitude for Going Deeper

Do not forget that you serve a Mystery that neither you nor your father’s father nor your mother’s mother began. And the laughter and the tears that accompany your labor are not born of your cleverness or your holiness, but are reflections of the Mystery of God in the still waters of the eternal lake […]

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. […]

The Rainbow Connection

God said [to Noah]: “This is the sign that I am giving for all ages to come, of the covenant between me and you and every living creature with you: I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth, and the […]

Experiencing the Beloved Community

Where did life begin for you? My life started in the womb of my maternal grandmother, Margaret Dunnivant Owens, born in 1908 in Giles County, Tennessee, the birthplace of the KKK. Participants in Shalem’s Heart Longings program listened to stories of my grandmother on January 9, 2021, as I honored her legacy, her struggles in […]

What Do We Think We’re Doing When We Pray?

One of the readings assigned for my first program at the Shalem Institute, the Transforming Community: Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups and Retreats program, was an article by Ann Ulanov entitled, What Do We Think People Are Doing When They Pray?  I have often returned to that question, both in my own practice and in my […]

Fill Your Heart with Joy: The Journey of Pilgrimage at Home

This article is by Chuck McCorkle, Jackson Droney, and Margaret Benefiel A pilgrimage is a journey, of experience if not of geography, into new and seemingly uncharted territory. . . With vision somewhat more clear as a result of the journey, one can discover a richness within one’s own heritage which had previously been overlooked. […]