I’m excited to announce my first online course through Columbia Seminary’s Center for Lifelong Learning. Dr. Israel Galindo and I will be co-instructing “Life is a Sacred Story: Honoring the Past, Embracing the Future with Sacred Journaling” beginning on September 14. This four-week course will offer insight and encouragement for anyone wishing to begin or deepen a journaling practice with a specifically spiritual focus. Like all the programs I offer through CTS, this is open to the general public, but it also provides credit for those who are pursuing a Certificate in Spiritual Formation.

Date: September 14, 2015—October 9, 2015
Event: Life is a Sacred Story (Online Course)
Topic: Spiritual Journaling
Sponsor: Center for Lifelong Learning, Columbia Theological Seminary
Registration: Click here to register.
More Info: Click here for more information.

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In one of my visits to Rome, at a Mass, a fairly young man came up to me and said: ‘Father, it is nice to meet you, but I don’t believe in anything! I don’t have the gift of faith!’ He understood that faith is a gift. ‘I don’t have the gift of faith! What do you have to say to me?’ ‘Don’t be discouraged. God loves you. Let yourself be gazed upon by him! Nothing else.’ And this is the same thing I would say to you: let yourself be gazed at by the Lord!

Pope Francis
The Church of Mercy (Chicago: Loyola Press, 2014), p. 16

Father Richard Rohr speaking on Stillness (among other things) at Norwich Cathedral in the UK.


The Writings of Julian of Norwich (University Park, PA: Penn State Press, 2006)

Julian of Norwich was not only a great mystic, but also a great writer, dancing along the frontier between poetry and prose as she eloquently gave voice to her sixteen showings (visions) and her years of theological reflection in response to them. She wrote a brief treatise shortly after receiving her showings, and a longer, more mature text some twenty years after the fact, describing the same events in her life but with a more nuanced description of their meaning. Because she was a contemporary of Geoffrey Chaucer (writing in Middle English), Julian’s work is often translated for contemporary readers, but it is only in meeting her words in the language she herself would have used that we can appreciate the full beauty of her voice. Several editions of Julian’s work in the original Middle English are available, but this one from Penn State is far and away my favorite. Not only is it a beautifully designed book, with comprehensive notes to help unlock the mysteries of fourteenth-century vocabulary, but it also contains an in-depth foreword describing the various manuscripts that exist of Julian’s writings, and the challenges that face both scholars and students as we seek to encounter Julian’s words as she wrote them. Best of all, this edition includes both the short and long versions of her text, allowing readers insight into how Julian’s own thought evolved in her lifetime.

Join me at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, GA this August for a retreat on the spirituality of Pope Francis. Here’s a description of the retreat from the Monastery’s website:

From the day of his election, Pope Francis has electrified the world with his charisma, humility, and obvious love for Christ and the Church. An inspiration for millions, the Holy Father exhibits a rich inner life grounded in mercy and compassion for all people. This retreat will explore the Franciscan and Jesuit roots of Pope Francis’s spirituality, and consider how his wisdom, as exemplified in his writings, can be an inspiration for all Christians.
Suggested donation for the weekend retreat is $250, which includes room, board and programming.

Date: August 28, 2015—August 30, 2015
Event: Spirituality of Pope Francis (Retreat at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit)
Topic: Spirituality of Pope Francis
Venue: Monastery of the Holy Spirit Retreat House
(770) 760-0959
Location: 2625 Highway 212 SW
Conyers, GA 30094
More Info: Click here for more information.

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But just as we cannot drive a car by constantly looking in the rearview mirror, so memory can only be made holy when it directs us to what’s in front of us — a future filled with hope and new beginnings.

David Zaslow
Jesus, First Century Rabbi (Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2014), 43

Here’s a treat I found on Youtube: a video interview of Trappist monk and author Michael Casey, apparently recorded in 2007 for a Dutch-language program (I’m not sure where it was originally broadcast, presumably the Netherlands). The opening credits and voiceover of the video are in Dutch, and the interview features Dutch subtitles, but the interviewer and of course Casey himself speak English.


The Road to Eternal Life (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2011)

Brother Patrick Hart, OCSO, who was Thomas Merton’s last secretary, praised Michael Casey for writing “with clarity and grace.” Nowhere is this more evident than when he writes about The Rule of Saint Benedict, and in The Road to Eternal Life he offers an in-depth commentary of arguably the most important part of the Rule, the prologue. Moving through the prologue’s fifty verses one at a time, Casey provides a rich commentary, seasoned by his long life not only as a monk but a writer and novice master. The commentary on verse 40, where Casey reflects on how Cartesian dualism has crippled the way meditation is understood in the west, is alone worth the price of the book. If you want a beautifully-written explication of a how a sixth-century monastic document remains spiritually vital and relevant in our time, look no further than this book.

Study Guide on the Rule of St. Benedict for Christians Living in the World

Abbey of St. Walburga, Virginia Dale, CO

Here’s a PDF you might want to download.

I stumbled across this resource while doing some research to answer a friend’s question about the Rule of St. BenedictIt’s a fairly detailed study guide to the Rule, written by a Benedictine nun for oblates and other non-monastics.

I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but I’ve glanced over it and it looks pretty good. I think it could be a blessing to Lay Cistercians or anyone who is trying to form their faith in Christ in the light of Benedictine spirituality.

In Buddhist history the word silence corresponds to right view: seeing impermanence, the truth that everything is appearing, disappearing, and changing from moment to moment. Impermanence is not something you see objectively—it is something you taste directly. Then impermanence makes you silent, because impermanence is very quiet. That silence connects you with a deep sense of human value.
Silence is not just being silent. You are silent, but simultaneously there are many words, many explanations, and many representations there. Dynamic actions, both physical and mental, are there. In other words, silence is something deep and also very active. In Japanese the word for this silence is mokuraiMoku means “silence” and rai means “thunder.” So silence is quiet, but there is an enormous voice like thunder there.
Dainin Katagiri
Each Moment is the Universe (Boston: Shambhala, 2007), 63

Here’s the second of two videos featuring Trappist monk Fr. Matthew Kelty reminiscing about his friend and brother monk, Thomas Merton.

Befriending Silence

Here’s the cover of my forthcoming book on Lay Cistercian spirituality. I hope you like it as much as I do (I can brag on it since I’m not the designer). The photograph depicts a 12th century Cistercian Church at L’abbaye du Thoronet in the Provence region of France. Please let me know what you think of the cover, and share this image with all your friends.

If you’d like to pre-order the book, click on this link: Befriending Silence.