When artists create an icon, they engage in a centuries-long sacramental and theological practice. Their work reveals the unseen face of God.
A year before I became a Catholic, I went on a retreat to an Orthodox monastery north of Columbus, Ohio. The monks occupied an old farm house and converted the basement into a chapel, complete with large, colorful icons. Every morning I attended Morning Prayer while icons of Our Lord, the Blessed Mother, and the saints looked on. The images stared at us, speaking in a mysterious language I didn’t quite understand, as we gazed back at them.
Learning about electromagnetic fields gave me new language to understand God.
I came to faith because of magnets.
Let your interior life be enriched by time spent outdoors.
On a recent trip through Yellowstone, I encountered a couple crouched next to a tall spruce tree, binoculars up and muttering to each other. Then they grew excited, both spotting something, the man going for his camera, the woman on her smart phone. “I’ve got it!” she finally exclaimed. “A mountain chickadee!” They high-fived, overflowing with giddiness.
The artwork of Mexican artist Martin Ramirez reminds us that the spirit is always free.
On March 26, 2015, the U.S. Postal Service issued a collection of stamps honoring the art of Martín Ramírez. At the time of his death, in February 1963 at California’s DeWitt State Hospital, such an accolade would have seemed like a dream.
St. Columba was a man of dueling natures—both peaceful pastor and warring politician. He needed both to do God’s will.
“Know who you really are and how God can use you,” one of my seminary teachers exhorted. Living this injunction, simple albeit powerful in message, has been an unfolding journey over my three decades of pastoral ministry and my current calling as a minister in the United Church of Christ.
The point of a pilgrimage is not simply moving from point A to point B in order to collect a coupon at the final destination.
Those who practice Zen refer to sitting in meditation as zazen. The Japanese word means “just sitting.”
They do nothing else except sit and wait. Shedding the unnecessary. Allowing the world to reorder itself into its simplest form.
Catholic teens are looking for quiet spaces to develop personal relationships with Jesus through prayer and contemplation.
When I think of my teen years, I mostly remember a dark road. When I turned 15 I got my license and, with a small sum of money my dad gave me after he sold my childhood home, I bought myself a real beater of a car that you could hear coming from blocks away. I didn’t want to go home; my mother had died the year before, and my Dad had remarried and had a whole new family and a new house where I felt like a stranger. So I was always driving.
Mary Undoer of Knots has come to serve as a touchstone in my daily life, assisting me whenever new knots arise.
It was time to call in the big guns—Mary, the mother of God, and some industrious cherubs. I’d been wrestling with several impossible problems. Talk therapy worked to a degree. But certain issues are beyond copays and conversation. As a manager, I distributed work to capable employees, and I now imagined turning my personal issues over to celestial coworkers.
Silence is not an battery-charging pit stop on the road of apostolic work. It is—or at least aspires to be—uniting one’s own heart with the heart of God.
According to Trappist Father Thomas Keating, a decades-long practitioner and teacher of centering prayer, contemplative prayer is about relationship, not method. It’s your intention and your relationship with God that counts.
The course of grieving is never smooth, but worship gives students a place to process their loss.
Not two minutes after transcribing my last interview for this story, my phone rang. An undergraduate student at St. John’s University, where I work, died suddenly just before Holy Week. I had just spent weeks listening to stories of loss from students and ministry professionals across the country. Now here was death, seeping hurt into my own home. My heavy heart grew heavier. I felt helpless.