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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Lent: Letting Love Enter In

On Ash Wednesday I took tentative steps into the Lenten season. I wasn’t sure what disciplines to embrace, but that morning I lit a candle and sat quietly in prayer before going through liturgical readings for the season. I attended a noon service and stood in line to receive ashes on my forehead, remembering that […]

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.

Create in Me a Clean Heart and a New Blog Post

I said “yes” to writing a blog. At the time, writing a blog about something I loved seemed like a piece of cake. I could instantly see all of the prayers I would include, the artwork, the inspirational music videos and more. I was excited to create the blog until I actually started writing and wondering how I would fill its approximately 50 blog posts.

The topic was Lent and all of the days leading up to the magnificent Easter celebration. In the midst of creating the posts I was thinking about my own Lenten journey. I was praying for perfect words and a clean heart so that the posts would be holy and a blessing. I was trying to get it just right and was feeling very overwhelmed.