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…

adesse.

Practicing Present-ness. “The heroic minute.  It’s time to get up, on the dot!  Without hesitation, a supernatural thought and . . . up!  The heroic minute; here you have a mortification that strengthens your will and does not weaken your body.” ~Josemaria Escriva, The Way, #206.

Keep Out!

If we spend all our energies defining what we AREN’T and vehemently defending our side of the line, we will not only alienate ourselves but also find it difficult to define who we ARE. And if we’ve been so militant in our description of who we AREN’T, given our behavior, will there even be anyone within…

Summer Camp was SOOOO Long Ago!

Why is it so difficult to rouse children from their beds during the year for school, yet they spring out of bed and dash outside quicker than you can say “Jack Sprat” during the summer months?  There is an enthusiasm for summer:  freedom!  New adventures to be had, vacations to take, visits with grandparents, playing…

Leading from the Front

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…

Jesus is Not my Homeboy!

What’s that you say?? You DON’T consider Jesus as your friend?!?! No, not at that point….yet!

Without Ceasing…

The Angelus tolls in the crisp air, and I am reminded of the gift of God bestowed to the Virgin Mary.   As the bell continues its patterned ring, I speak my prayers and offer my heart to the Lord.  May this pause offer an opportunity to be mindful of Christ in my life and…

St. Teresa of Avila

Before the days of cell phones and texting, many children knew when it was time to go indoors in the evening by the sunset.  When that last sliver of the sun sank into the horizon, we knew we had to stop playing hide and seek or riding our bikes or fishing for crawdads at the…

I’m suffering… Where’s the protection??

1 Peter 13-9 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,  who are…

“Hello! My name is Chad!” squawked God.

Last week, when I was doing a residency week at Nashotah for my next course, some friends of mine and I were invited to share supper with a resident and her husband.  When I walked in, I immediately heard the phone ring several times and wondered why no one attempted to answer it. As I…