Nicodemus, Peace, and the Dark Night


N. B. This is a Gospel reflection I shared during a communion service at St. Thomas More Catholic Church, Decatur, Georgia, on the evening of April 17, 2023. The Gospel reading comes from John 3:1-8, the story of Nicodemus’s night-time visit to Jesus. Nicodemus is a smart man. In today’s Gospel he is described as a “Pharisee” but also a “Ruler of the Jews.” We learn later in the Gospel that...

The Stations of the Cross with Julian of Norwich


Friends, it is holy week, and I cannot think of a better guide to this most sacred week of the Christian liturgical year than Julian of Norwich. Julian’s book of visionary writing, The Showings, is remarkable on multiple levels. Written about the same time as Geoffrey Chaucer was composing The Canterbury Tales, Julian has the distinction of being the first known woman to write a book in the...

Encountering Silence: A Conversation with Kaira Jewel Lingo, author of “We Were Made for These Times”


Friends, here is the latest episode of the Encountering Silence podcast. This episode features a conversation the Encountering Silence team had last year with Buddhist author Kaira Jewel Lingo, author of We Were Made for These Times: Ten Lessons in Moving through Change, Loss and Disruption. Kaira Jewel Lingo is a Dharma teacher who has a lifelong interest in blending spirituality and meditation...

The Politics of Emotions


This morning I came across this luminous insightful paragraph on page 132 of Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility: Many of us see emotions as naturally occurring. But emotions are political in two key ways. First, our emotions are shaped by our biases and beliefs, our cultural frameworks. For example, if I believe—consciously or unconsciously—that it is normal and appropriate for men to express...

The Science of Meditation (and the Relationship between Meditation and Trauma)


A few years back the Buddhist magazine Lion’s Roar published an interesting article surveying what insights we can glean from the scientific study of meditation. These insights concern questions such as the health and psychological benefits of meditation, the relationship between meditation and compassion, and how meditation might impact our relationships and even our biases. It’s an...

Check Out the New Podcast from Contemplative Outreach!


I am happy (and honored/humbled) to announce that I’ve recently appeared as a guest on the new podcast from Contemplative Outreach! Opening Minds, Opening Hearts is a new initiative from Contemplative Outreach International, hosted by Colleen Thomas and Mark Dannenfelser. Other episodes of the podcast feature wonderful folks like Lerita Coleman Brown and Adam Bucko. Definitely check it out...

The Mystical Imagination: Quotations for Reflection and Meditation


One of my favorite topics to explore when leading a retreat is “The Mystical Imagination.” I often pair it with Centering Prayer, exploring how the silence of Centering Prayer naturally complements the inner imagery of prayer anchored in the imagination. When I lead such retreats, I often will share a variety of quotations with the retreatants to make the case for why the imagination...

Plowshare Prayer — and General Intercessions


Yesterday I was leading a class for Zeitgeist Atlanta and one of the participants shared an amazing song by a musician named Spencer Lajoye, called the “Plowshare Prayer.” It is profoundly beautiful, and I’ve had it on repeat for pretty much the rest of the weekend. Check it out — here’s a video of a live performance of the song (you can also find it on Spotify or download...

The Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom — But Love Casts Out Fear


N.B. This homily was written for the Community of Hope International at their annual retreat, during the Saturday evening Taizé service, October 8, 2022 at Camp Allen, Navasota, Texas. The readings included Psalm 66:1-12, Psalm 111 and Luke 5:12-16. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” This is a powerful statement, capstoning the beautiful song of praise that we find in Psalm 111...

Dying Alone (with the Angels)


I recently received the following heartbreaking message through my website. Normally this is the kind of message that I would answer with a private email, but the person who sent it did not give me her email address. So, I’ve remove some details to protect her privacy, but here’s the message: Thank you for the recent article “Memento Mori: The Contemplation of Death and the Wonder of...

Join Carmen Acevedo Butcher for an Online Program Celebrating the Wisdom of Brother Lawrence


On June 16, 2022 my friend and colleague Carmen Acevedo Butcher PhD is offering a free online program to explore the wisdom of Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, author of The Practice of the Presence of God. Click here to register for this free event. You probably know Carmen Butcher from her luminous translation of The Cloud of Unknowing. Later this year she is releasing her latest book, in...

The Wrath of God and Wishful Thinking (or, Julian of Norwich and Biblical Images of God)


Recently a reader of this blog wrote the following to me: I am just starting out on this journey and feel drawn to the mystical/contemplative side of Christianity.   To this end, I am using your book “Answering the Contemplative Call” and also “Growing into God” by John Mabry as my guides.   I do not have a spiritual director as yet but am trying to find one near where I live in the UK.    In the...

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