One day, Abba Isaac the Theban went to a monastic community and he saw a brother doing wrong, and he condemned him. As he returned to the desert, an angel of the Lord came and stood in front of the door of his cell and said: “I will not let you in.” He asked: “What’s the matter?” And the angel replied: “God has sent me to … Continue reading Judging and Sentencing
A noisy crowd surrounds each one of us. Wherever we go this crowd goes with us. We are never alone. The voices of the crowd never go silent. No matter how loud we speak their voices are louder. Who is this noisy crowd? The angels of God. “Rabbi Joshua ben Levi said: ‘A procession of angels passes before each person, and the heralds go before … Continue reading Make Way for the Image of God!
“You see that Mary did not doubt but believed and therefore obtained the fruit of faith. ‘Blessed … are you who have believed.’ But you also are blessed who have heard and believed. For a soul that has believed has both conceived and bears the Word of God and declares his works. Let the soul of Mary be in each of you, so that it … Continue reading Christ is the Fruit of the Faithful
If you want to have a spiritual life you must unify your life. A life is either all spiritual or not spiritual at all. No man can serve two masters. Your life is shaped by the end you live for. You are made in the image of what you desire. To unify your life unify your desires. To spiritualize your life, spiritualize your desires. To … Continue reading If You Want a Spiritual Life
If you seek after God with all your heart and all your strength, then the virtues of your soul and body will turn you into a mirror of the image of God within. You will be so merged in God, and God so merged in you, that each will endlessly repose in the other. Such are the riches of the gifts of the Spirit that … Continue reading Becoming an Icon of Divine Blessedness
A young man once came to a great rabbi and asked him to make him a rabbi. It was winter time then. The rabbi stood at the window looking out upon the yard while the rabbinical candidate was droning into his ears a glowing account of his piety and learning. The young man said, “You see, Rabbi, I always go dressed in spotless white like … Continue reading Of Saints and Horses
James and John are looking for the best seat in the house. They want to sit next to Jesus, in his glory, one on his right and one on his left. That seat, however, is only for those for whom it has been prepared.
James and John sound a bit arrogant and self-seeking; interested in privilege, honor, and status. That’s often how this text is interpreted. There is certainly no lack of that kind of behavior in our world. We’ve all seen it in others and, if we are honest, in ourselves as well. Maybe the usual interpretation and judgment are more a statement about our own motives than that of James and John. Maybe that’s why the other ten are so upset. Maybe, however, there is more to this story than the usual interpretation. Maybe there is another way to understand what is going on not only in the text but with us.
When I was a kid my sister and I often argued about who got to sit next to our grandmother. In elementary school I wanted to sit next to my best friend. In high school algebra I wanted to sit next to Jennifer, a really cute blonde. I remember the joy and gratitude of sitting next to my first spiritual mentor. After I met Cyndy, my wife, I wanted to sit as close to her as possible. I still do.
We all have those people in our lives that attract and draw us to them. Their lives speak to us of love and friendship. They show us something about ourselves. Their presence changes who we are. They call from us the best part of who we are. In them we catch a glimpse of something holy, Continue reading “The Seat of Arrogance or the Heart’s Desire?”
“Habitual self-complacency is almost always a sign of spiritual stagnation. The complacent no longer feel in themselves any real indigence, an urgent need for God. Their meditations are comfortable, reassuring and inconclusive. Their mental prayer quickly degenerates into day-dreaming, distractions or plain undisguised sleep. For this reason trials and temptations can prove to be a real blessing in the life of prayer. It is when … Continue reading Urgent Need Makes A Real Meditation
The collect and readings for the Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 20B, may be found here. The following sermon is based on Mark 9:30-37.
“They had argued with one another who was the greatest.” We shouldn’t be too surprised. We’ve probably been a part of such arguments. From sibling rivalry to be mom and dad’s favorite, to the Syrian civil war, and everything in between greatness is a question with which we all live. It is one of the primary questions at the heart of our conflicts, injustices, anxieties, and insecurities. Whether we ask it aloud or silently to ourselves, we want to know, “Who is the greatest?”
Behind this question is a deeper issue. It is a question of space and place. Is there a place for me in this family? In this church? In this business? Is there a place for my religion, my politics, my race, my lifestyle in this society and culture? Is there a place for my people, tradition, and history in this land? Is their room for me? Continue reading “Room Enough, A Place for Everyone”
Originally posted on Interrupting the Silence:
Sometime around 1931 Evelyn Underhill wrote a letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Cosmo Gordon Lang (1928-1942), about the inner life of the clergy. Her concern was that the multiplicity of the clergy’s duties had diminished some priests’ grounding in a life of prayer. Underhill’s concerns are as relevant today, perhaps more so, as they were when she wrote… Continue reading Call to the Inner Life – Remembering Evelyn Underhill