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

Live the Questions this Advent with Sally Read’s Annunciation: A Call to Faith in a Broken World

I don't want sentimental piety at Advent; I crave a seeker's authenticity and a contemplative's conviction. I welcome Sally Read's voice at any time of year, and Advent isn't the occasion that produced Annunciation: A Call to Faith in A Broken World. It's just that Annunciation is the best book of its kind I encountered … Continue reading Live the Questions this Advent with Sally Read’s Annunciation: A Call to Faith in a Broken World

Add a Splash of Sobriety to Your Christmas Playlist with These Six Songs

One of the songs that rocked my world, changed my thinking and opened my heart is Jackson Browne's "The Rebel Jesus." But the first thing it did was upset me. Decades ago, driving in the dark with the radio on, I was drawn in by the tune's driving rhythm and lilting violin. I delighted in … Continue reading Add a Splash of Sobriety to Your Christmas Playlist with These Six Songs

Meditating on Handel’s Messiah and More: Advent’s Perpetual Preparation for Peace

It is Advent once again.  And "what we must do in all earnestness," writes Hans urs von Balthasar in his Advent sermon "The Future has Already Come," "is to examine things with regard to their eternal content and eternal promise or, even better, allow ourselves to be addressed by the eternal promise that is embodied in … Continue reading Meditating on Handel’s Messiah and More: Advent’s Perpetual Preparation for Peace

Advent’s First Week: It Is Better to Light One Candle

December days are short, hemmed in darkness. Grateful for a new liturgical year with its wisdom of waiting and preparation, we place new candles in the old Advent wreath. We light the first candle. Just the first. In silence, preparing to read the first scripture of the season, an old proverb rises in the heart: … Continue reading Advent’s First Week: It Is Better to Light One Candle

Advent’s First Week: It Is Better to Light One Candle

December days are short, hemmed in darkness. Grateful for a new liturgical year with its wisdom of waiting and preparation, we place new candles in the old Advent wreath. We light the first candle. Just the first. In silence, preparing to read the first scripture of the season, an old proverb rises in the heart: … Continue reading Advent’s First Week: It Is Better to Light One Candle