What’s in a (Sacred) Story? Meditating on the Mysteries of Our Faith


To be a mystic is to be the explorer of both Divine and human mysteries (which corresponds to Jesus’s two essential teachings, “Love God” and “Love your neighbors”). We often think that the essential way to do this is through spiritual practices such as meditation, contemplation, chanting the psalms, and working with a spiritual guide or companion. And, yes, all...

What’s the difference between Ignatian Spirituality and Centering Prayer?


What is the difference between centering prayer and Ignatian spirituality? To answer this question, let’s consider the difference between meditation and contemplation — or, perhaps we could say, the difference between a beautiful painting and the expansive wall on which it is hung. A reader of this blog recently posted this on Facebook: As I work with people interested in Centering Pray I...

"The Process of Being in Relationship with God"


Okay: to summarize… Spirituality: the process of being in relationship with God. Belief and Wonder: the mental and emotional qualities of being open to the possibility of Divine presence in our lives. Culture, Ikons, Teachings/Tradition/Scripture: the stuff in our lives that carry the news of God to us; the evidence we have of God’s presence and the clues we have to help us recognize...

Is Contemplation Dangerous?


Contemplation: is it the key to happiness — or a path to holiness? Is contemplation dangerous? Some people think so. This past weekend I read a book that has given me some food for thought on this subject. The Buddha Pill: Can Meditation Change You? is by Miguel Farias and Catherine Wikholm, two psychologists in England who study the idea that practices like yoga or mindfulness meditation have...

Mindfulness and Contemplation


Recently a reader left the following comment on this blog: I have been reading and tried to practice the way of a contemplative life although poorly I believe. But my hunger for anything on the topic of contemplation continues. Recently I have also been enticed into “mindfulness” practices. Now what or how do you relation contemplation and Mindfulness? They’re beginning to sound that there is a...

Lectio Divina Every Day


“Love for Jesus is fed by constant meditation on the Gospels.” — Michael Casey, OCSO A prominent pastor who hosts an Internet podcast once interviewed me for his show, and at the close of our conversation asked me, “What is the one book you would recommend to readers as the most essential title to read, for the purpose of understanding Christian mysticism?” Without batting...

What Mystics Do (and You Can, Too)


What do mystics do? The following list can be a way to begin answering this question. I’m not suggesting that every mystic does everything on this list (for starters, this list is particularly aimed at Christian mystics), or that a person has to do all of these things to be considered a mystic. I’m trying to make the list general, so that it’s not just about persons who live in...

Answers to Contemplation’s Objectors


I continue to be amazed at how some Christians reject, if not outright attack, contemplative and centering prayer. As best I can tell, the anti-contemplation arguments can be distilled down to three basic ideas: People shouldn’t practice contemplative prayer before they are ready; Contemplative and centering prayer are “un-Christian” because of their similarities to eastern...

Meditating with a Cat


This morning my wife had a migraine. Poor lass, she gets one about every three months or so (the stress of living with me). Anyway, she squirreled down into the bed and I got Rhiannon off to school, then went into my office to meditate. Now, normally when I meditate, I close the office door. But I wanted to be accessible in case my wife needed anything, so today I left the door open. And I was...



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