Category: Spirituality

The Lord of the Rings and Lent

  It’s March 1st which means it’s time to begin reading The Fellowship of the Ring for Brona’s Hobbit/Lord of the Rings Readalong. In yet another interesting coincidence, today also happens to be the beginning of Lent. The synchronicity of those two events is too intriguing to ignore, and as I reflect on both The Fellowship of the Ring and Lent, I find several significant ways they are related. Both Are Journeys First, journey is at the heart of them both. Frodo and Sam set out on a long journey,...

St. Luke icon

Life without St. Luke?

As I was thinking about today’s Feast of St. Luke, I began noting all the events we wouldn’t know about if not for his writings. Imagine what would be missing from our understanding of the Faith if we didn’t have The Gospel of Luke and Acts of the Apostles: The Birth of John the Baptist The Annunciation and the Visitation The Magnifcat and the Canticle of Zechariah The Parable of the Good Samaritan The Parable of the Prodigal Son The Emmaus Encounter Pentecost The Martyrdom of St. Stephen...

Sunset

Stylish Prayer

Some people are naturally stylish. Their clothes, their hair–their entire manner–exude style, a magical word that blends elegance, originality, and visual appeal. While I am most certainly not stylish, I appreciate my stylish family and friends. Whenever I try to be stylish, either in my appearance or in my writing, I come off artificial, stilted, and phony. The same thing happens when I try to be stylish in prayer. Oh, I don’t intentionally try to be stylish, but that’s what it is when I’m not myself in prayer, when...

sunset

Why Silence?

Silence is God’s invitation to communion. We enter into silence to be transformed, to be raised up, to be loved. In silence, God whispers to the heart and the heart whispers back. Why a whisper? Why silence? If the great God of the universe were to speak in full voice we would be overpowered. But God meets us gently, softly. In silence we discover that God does not yell, but speaks instead with tenderness and care. Silence with God is an island of peace, a refuge from the...

Redwood Forest

Hiking Through Life

I have been trying to hike through life lately, instead of walking. And this despite the fact that I much prefer a walk to a hike. A hike is a task-oriented foray into the world that says “I am in control; I make my own destiny.” It requires preparation and foresight–a rigid jaw and a firm step. A walk on the other hand, is all leisure. Walking says, “Holy Spirit, come and take my hand and lead me where Thou will.” One never knows where a walk will...

Elisabeth Leseur

Not One of Our Prayers Is Lost – Elisabeth Leseur on All Saints Day

From Elisabeth Leseur, Selected Writings, as quoted in today’s Give Us This Day: This is a lovely feast, the feast of those who already live in God, those whom we have loved and who have obtained happiness and light; it is the feast of eternity. And what a fine idea to make the feast of the dead follow so soon! During these two days a vast stream of prayer and love flows through the three worlds: between the church in heaven, the church one earth, and the church...

The Gift of Being Yourself by David Benner

Discovering Yourself by Getting to Know Jesus Better

The Gift of Being Yourself by David Benner was one of my favorite books from last year. and I’ve been slowly rereading it, trying to taking in all he has to say and put it into practice. One of the best chapters explains how to get to know Jesus better. He strongly encourages daily meditation on the gospel and on life experiences in the Ignatian style: “First, take a moment to quiet yourself in God’s presence. Close your eyes and ask God to take the words of Scripture...

Thanksgiving - Brownscombe

How to Make Thanksgiving “A Good Day”

The five minutes it takes to watch this video meditation by Benedictine Brother David Steindl-Rast can make all the difference on the remaining 23 hours and 55 minutes. I hope it blesses your Thanksgiving Day.

Catholic School Classroom Desks

Genesis of the Catholic School Year

This year I was asked to lead our school’s retreat. This was the opening I wrote for it. Genesis of the Catholic School Year In the beginning God created the school year. The school year was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the classroom; and the Spirit of God was moving over the summer vacation. And God said, “Let there be fluorescent lights”; and there were fluorescent lights. And God saw that the light was good. And there was evening and there was...

climbing

The 3 Most Difficult Things a Human Being Can Do

Anthony de Mello, quoting Sidney Harris: The three most difficult things that a human being can do are not physical feats or intellectual achievements. They are first, returning love for hate; second, including the excluded; and third, admitting that you are wrong.

Company of Voices by George Guiver

“We Treat God Like a Cow” – On Maturity in Prayer

I was reading George Guiver’s Company of Voices: Daily Prayer and the People of God, when I came across this challenging paragraph: However much the modern Church says it believes in prayer, it so often behaves as if it has failed to surrender to God. The word “surrender” is shorthand for Jesus’ image of bride and bridegroom, and the total self-giving which is necessary in their coming together. Allowing God to be at the center is something we all fail to do. We fail to wait utterly on...

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

Facing Trials with Grace: A Meditation by St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

Today is the feast of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the woman who founded the first Catholic school in the United States, and also the first American-born saint. In today’s Office of Readings from the Liturgy of the Hours, St. Elizabeth explains how she is able to deal with the trials of life. My prayer today, dear reader, is that this beautiful meditation can be of help as you face the various trials of your own life: I will tell you what is my own great help. I once...

The Lord of the Gifts: A Brief Meditation on Tolkien and PEZ

My family held a white elephant gift exchange this past Christmas–you know, where people bring gifts anonymously, exchange them, and get a chance to steal them from others. We fought over battery operated massagers, remote control cars, coffee mugs, and Hot Wheels. I was fortunate enough to get a set of PEZ dispensers in the shape of The Lord of the Rings characters, but the process made me think about other gifts we’ve received: our talents, life experiences, and environment. I wonder how many times we look at other...