Healing Prayer for the World

The other day I found myself weeping over the state of our world. I felt deep grief and pain; I call it being heartsick. I felt moved to seek out another person so I could share this deep pain. As we sat together and I wept, I felt comforted. I told of the troubles I […]

With My Heart Enlightened

Last February was the 10-year anniversary of my open heart surgery to replace my aortic valve. The valve problem was caused by a congenital defect, and the time had finally had come for the replacement. Scripture, mystics, and poets say that the heart is the organ of spiritual perception. I’ve wondered if the purpose of […]

Conversions of Consciousness

“Jesus is concerned with eliciting a conversion of consciousness from those not yet able to understand, and not with imparting information to a deluded pattern of consciousness.” (John P. Keenan, The Gospel of Mark: A Mahayana Reading) As I reflect on the events of September 11 and our nation’s way of responding, I realize that […]

Hearts Broken Open

In mid-March, all the numbers fell off my calendar and clock as my carefully arranged plans changed in an instant. With the spread and threat of the COVID-19 virus, my sensibly constructed life changed. For the next month, I would watch every single plan change, die, or be reconceived in some way or another. The […]

Serving Tea

There is something magical about watching my sister Marsha serve tea. Few notice as she performs this kindness. She is quiet and unassuming as she works. Her attention is steadily focused on two things: carefully depressing the button on the cooler and watching as the tea fills the cup and then meeting the eye of […]

The Movement in My Heart

“God is at work enlarging the boundaries of my heart.” -Howard Thurman, Meditations of the Heart For many years Congressman John Lewis led bipartisan congressional delegations on a Civil Rights Pilgrimage to Alabama for the Faith and Politics Institute. As a board member, I was privileged to join one of these in 2001. This is […]

Mustard Seeds and Yeast

[Jesus] proposed another parable to them. “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the ‘birds of the sky come and dwell […]

Contemplatives and Racial Justice: What is Ours to Do?

Rose Mary Dougherty, in her days leading groups at Shalem, had a favorite parable she came back to often. With her charming Irish smile, she would ask: “Why do the antelope walk side by side in the jungle?” And after letting that settle for a short moment, she would answer: “So they can blow the […]

Between Us There Is No Between

Today’s blog is taken from the reflection and prayer offered during Wednesday’s Prayer for the World by Shalem graduate Barb Kelly. Over the past several weeks I have been pondering and praying the question, “What obligations do we have to one another?” I have a heightened awareness of the question of obligation during this time […]

Letting the Light In

Full disclosure: I’ve tried to write this column for weeks. Thoughts and notes spill across my journal pages; drafts of documents sit on my laptop. Prayer and vigil candles are spent. Life feels heavy. Sometimes overwhelming. The state of our world and our country is revealing the dark, shadowy side beneath our comfortable façade. And […]