Chronicles (in two threads)

Historical Challenge of Chronicles The inconsistencies within the text of Chronicles versus Samuel-Kings does not imply that one is truth and the other lies.  Inconsistencies also occur in the creation narrative.   What comes to mind, however, if we allow the inconsistencies to occur and still regard the whole text as valid is that we must…

Walter Hilton

Most likely written to an anchoress, Walter Hilton offers instruction and guidance concerning the spiritual journey towards God in his Ladder (or Scale) of Perfection. This text, however, is prefaced by Clifton Wolters in the introduction; Wolters reflects on Ladder and Hilton specifically with a sense of objectivity mingled with admiration. Wolters, familiar with Hilton’s…

Joshua

While not the only theme of the book of Joshua, a strong current within the text is a handbook, if you will, regarding the qualities necessary in righteous leadership. Joshua is not the first significant leader of the Old Testament; he follows Abraham, Noah, Jacob, Moses, and Aaron. However, his lot is given to him…

What I Heard from the Pulpit…

Today is the celebration of the Transfiguration, a moment in Luke’s Gospel (our reading passage for today) in which Jesus reveals Himself in His Divine Glory to Peter, John, and James.  The sermon this morning offered a different perspective on this event.  The lectionary reading also included Moses, face shining from having experienced the Glory…

Numbers

The book of Numbers continues to establish the law in tedium and subsequently offers a case study of application to the law regarding God’s boundaries and expectations, the consequences of breaking said boundaries and exacting God’s justice, and the bestowing of God’s loving mercy when the people repent.

The Cloud of Unknowing

“The quality of the contemplative effort which measures all progress in the interior life of the solitary is immediately related to the reflex conscious awareness of the self in its relationship to God, the supreme and single object of its desire” (64). While James Walsh in writing the Introduction to The Cloud of Unknowing understands…

Genesis

The book of Genesis offers identity, purpose, and hope to God’s chosen people through the land; this tangible gift from God allows the people to suffer and thrive according to their obedience to Him and commitment to His promise. God gave to Adam the gift of land in the garden of Eden, to tend it…

Dancing About Architecture

Life is funny: there can be times when we feel so connected to one another, we are in sync and almost finishing one another’s sentences, and there other times that we could be sitting beside one another right now but there is a gap miles wide between us. Sometimes we can be engaged with one…

adesse.

“This realization of your own unworthiness will drive out of your heart all unreasonable interest in other people’s affairs and criticism of their actions, and will compel you to look at yourself alone, as though there were no one in existence but God and yourself.  You should consider yourself more vile and wretched than any…

Pray for me…

I first became aware of Josèmaria Escrivá’s teachings in a little movie called The DaVinci Code.  However, as we all know, that film is a highly entertaining one built upon a teeny tiny foundation of pseudo- truth and an overwhelming amount of fiction, fantasy, and “what if”?  In the past few years I have discovered…

How Much Does It Cost?

Henri Nouwen writes: “Nuclear man no longer believes in anything that is always and everywhere…He lives by the hour…His art…is a combination of divergent pieces, is a host impression of how man feels at the moment [emphasis mine].” Further, “We see man paralyzed by dislocation and fragmentation, caught in the prison of his own mortality…We…

There is Peace in Patterns

I have the immense honor of writing for The Ambrose Institute, a spiritual formation  and congregational development program through Nashotah House Theological Seminary. This is my latest article written for Formatio, the online journal of Ambrose.  Just click the links and see the amazing work they do to form and encourage the Body of Christ!

Is it live, or is it Memorex?

In post-modern culture we guard the written word and even the ideas behind the ideas with patents, trademarks, and copyrights.  We protect and lay claim to our creation like a dog marks its territory.  However, there are some scholars who find it necessary to analyze the verbiage, syntax, and style — to distinguish the “authentic”…

Ah! The humanity of man!

It seems to me that we mortal men desire to see relevance and to understand meaning in every event.  We need to understand the “why” and “how” of things, and by doing so we validate that thing’s presence, its breaking through into our little worlds with its disruptions or smoothing over.  We need the link…

Aquinas, Grace, and Sacrament

Aquinas speaks to the relation between nature and grace concerning the sacraments.  However, we should first understand the value of grace according to Aquinas and his predecessors. In Question 2, Article 10, he references Augustine:  “By the same grace every man is made a Christian, from the beginning of his faith, as this man from…

Jesus in a Box

  I do not believe that, as a general rule, we live into the phrase “‘the kingdom of God, as Jesus proclaimed.  I do not believe we understand the gravity and power of its implication; because of the limitations inherent in our humanity, I believe we limit God. Let me step back and lay some…

Agnes, Martyr of Rome 304

Think back to that year before you were officially a “teenager.” What were you doing when you were 12 years old? I think to when I was 12 and remember I was completing my last year of braces, worried about pre-pubescent acne, and getting irritated on a daily basis at how nosey my parents were….

A cuppa tea with…Thomas Merton, Contemplative Prayer

Silent Meditation vs Empty Chatter In this chapter Thomas moves further into meditative prayer…what it is and certainly what it is not.  He encourages us that interior prayer is simple, silent, and often expressed through small acts.  He cautions us that we convince ourselves that to have a “true prayer life” we must be engaged…

A cuppa tea with… Thomas Merton, Contemplative Prayer

Inertia.  Coldness.  Confusion. Thomas speaks of these as we all experience them at some point (or many points) in our prayer life.  What do we do when faced with these empty spaces, these times when nothing seems to matter and nothing gains traction? He warns that this might be a time when we have separated…

adesse.

This compelling love, steeped in silence, is required of every soul.  This obedience to the present moment is, moreover, an act whereby they dedicate themselves totally to the external will of God as a matter of course. This is their rule, method, law and way.  Pure, simple and sure, it is a straight path along…

adesse.

A little lifting-up of the heart is enough; a short remembrance of God, an interior act of worship, made in haste and sword in hand, are prayers which, short as they may be, are nevertheless most pleasing to God. ~~unknown

A cuppa tea with… Thomas Merton, Contemplative Prayer

  Thomas suggests instead of seeking a “method” of prayer, we should choose a “life” of prayer.  It should be intentional behavior to life and not akin to the enthusiasm of acquiring a new skill.  God calls us to life with HIm; prayer is that response.  In meditation we face the harsh realities of ourselves and…

adesse.

“In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don’t try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present.” ~~Tao, 8.

A cuppa tea with… Thomas Merton, Contemplative Prayer

Thomas mentions the various forms of contemplative prayer including psalmodia, lectio, oratio, contemplatio.  These prayers are a way to turn from the world to God, but “to separate meditation from prayer, reading, and contemplation, is to falsify our picture of the monastic way of prayer.”  Singing hymns and songs of praise, sharing in the liturgy, and…

John 17:6-19

Pray with me. Almighty God, whose blessed Son our Savior Jesus Christ ascended far above all heavens that he might fill all things: Mercifully give us faith to perceive that, according to his promise, he abides with his Church on earth, even to the end of the ages; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives…

adesse.

The future, good or ill, was not forgotten, but ceased to have any power over the present.  Health and hope grew strong in them, and they were content with each good day as it came, taking pleasure in every meal, and in every word and song. ~~J.R.R.Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

adesse.

We do not want to be beginners.  But let us be convinced of the fact that we will never be anything else but beginners, all our life! ~~Thomas Merton, Contemplative Prayer

adesse.

So whatever form of prayer, meditation, or activity leads you to the highest and purest desire for Him, and to the deepest experience of Him, will be the means by which you may best seek and find Him. ~~Walter Hilton, The Ladder of Perfection, 57.

Couldn’t Be More Clear

…that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands… ~~1 Thessalonians 4:11

Ouch!

“Turn my eyes from watching what is worthless; give me life in your ways.”  ~Psalm 119:37.

adesse.

We do not want to be beginners.  But let us be convinced of the fact that we will never be anything else but beginners, all our life! ~Thomas Merton, Contemplative Prayer.

adesse.

That our thoughts spoil everything all the trouble begins with them.  We must be careful to reject them immediately [when] we see that they are neither necessary to our occupation at the moment nor conducive to our salvation, and return to our communion with God, wherein is our only good. ~Br. Lawrence, The Practice of…

adesse.

It is only when one makes a relentless and unswervingly concrete commitment to prayer that it becomes possible for God even to begin to act significantly in that life. ~Fr. John-Julian, “The Dance of the 13 Veils”

Millstones and Innocents

Agnes, Martyr of Rome, 304 Think back to that year before you were officially a “teenager.”  What were you doing when you were 12 years old?  I think to when I was 12 and remember I was completing my last year of braces, worried about pre-pubescent acne, and getting irritated on a daily basis at…

adesse.

This realization of your own unworthiness will drive out of your heart people’s affairs and criticism of their actions, and will compel you to look at yourself alone, as though there were no one in existence but God and yourself. ~Walter Hilton, The Ladder of Perfection.

my fault, my fault, my most Grievous fault

Nestled amongst the major prophets of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel lies the small but powerful book of Lamentations.  While the prophets offer the dooming judgment of Almighty God upon Israel and Judah, trapped within the chaos and devastation of their own making, Lamentations allows a glimpse of the raw, exposed emotions of Jerusalem and…

adesse.

Practicing Present-ness. “Growth in prayer is growth in simplicity, and as the powers of the soul become united with the will in the act of love, which is prayer, [the] method of operation alters and becomes less deliberate, until [those in prayer] appear to be doing nothing, a fact which often causes much heart-searching to the inexperienced.”…

Eww! Stinky! My soul needs a BATH!!

What is the point of baptism?  Why should we view that event with such reverence, and in some traditions, why is it a holy sacrament? Historically, God stated in Ezekial 36:25, “I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse…

adesse.

Practicing Present-ness. “That our thoughts spoil everything, all the trouble begins with them.  We must be careful to reject them immediately [when] we see that they are neither necessary to our occupation at the moment nor conducive to our salvation, and return to our communion with God, wherein is our only good.” ~Br. Lawrence, The…