Begin Your Reading Year with this Book (and Live Your Own Story Well)

One afternoon during the COVID-19 lockdown of 2020, I listened to a lecture on the joys of reading. I love reading and I needed joy. Steven Jonathan Rummelsburg, a veteran teacher, offered the following reasons for becoming a more intentional reader, particularly of the classics: to grow in wonder, to join more fully in the … Continue reading Begin Your Reading Year with this Book (and Live Your Own Story Well)

Nazi Prison New Year: The Integrity of Alfred Delp

"It is difficult to sum up the year now ending in a few words. So much has happened during this year and yet I cannot see what its real message is for me, or its real achievement....Hardship and hunger and violence have intensified and are now more shattering than anyone could have imagined." With left … Continue reading Nazi Prison New Year: The Integrity of Alfred Delp

Contemplating Christmas Cards with Thomas Merton

Two days before Christmas in 1949, Thomas Merton returned to his room in Kentucky's Abbey of Gethsemani and opened his mail. He had received a postcard bearing Fra Angelico's golden rendering of the Annunciation, the moment when the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary with the invitation to bring God into the world through her own … Continue reading Contemplating Christmas Cards with Thomas Merton

End 2020 on the Path to the Ever-Ancient, Ever-New Normal

Remember when email was fun? How simple it was to "shoot" a greeting to a friend, receive a pithy reply and close your inbox feeling content and connected? I now have three inboxes and I approach each of them with trepidation. Even my personal inbox is more like Pandora's box than a friendly greeting gatherer. … Continue reading End 2020 on the Path to the Ever-Ancient, Ever-New Normal

A Thanksgiving Children’s Book for Weary, Grieving Hearts

COVID-weariness is a thing this Thanksgiving. In my little corner of the world it shows itself on the faces of parents, children and teachers navigating the yo-yo of school closures and re-openings as we monitor the number of active COVID-19 cases in our county, our valley and our state. It surfaces in my father's voice … Continue reading A Thanksgiving Children’s Book for Weary, Grieving Hearts

Two Songs for the Election-Anxious Soul

"These are the times that try men's souls." -- Thomas Paine Phrases like "these unprecedented times" and "these challenging times" have become cliché as, amid pandemic and pandemonium, the next president will be decided. My father, whose parents survived the Great Depression, whose boyhood memories include World War II and who can tell you all … Continue reading Two Songs for the Election-Anxious Soul

Let there Be Light: Thoughts on the Life-Giving, Death-Dealing Power of the Tongue

I'd just been paired with a stranger for one of those awful icebreakers at a conference in a Denver hotel. We stood among the other pairs, politely smiling, straining to hear each other in the din of the introductions going on all around us. He was a tall man, late sixties maybe, with thinning hair … Continue reading Let there Be Light: Thoughts on the Life-Giving, Death-Dealing Power of the Tongue

A Prayer Practice for the Anxious Heart

There are plenty of "hard sayings" in the Bible, but one I often puzzle over doesn't tend to make the lists offered for our reflection. It's Christ's directive to have no anxiety. What? I protest. Anxiously. A spiritual director once asked me point blank, "Why are you so anxious?" Momentarily stunned, I responded with a … Continue reading A Prayer Practice for the Anxious Heart