Accessible Sainthood

What comes to mind when you think of the word saint? For me, this word brings to mind people who lived a long time ago, wore long robes, and walked around with their eyes raised toward the heavens and their hands clasped in prayer. They never sinned or lost their tempers. Oh, and there’s a good chance they left this life without their heads. I also think of more modern saints like Teresa of Calcutta […]

Holiness, the Beatitudes, and Discernment

Pope Francis has released his latest apostolic exhortation, Gaudete et Exsultate (Rejoice and Be Glad). The title comes from the Beatitudes in Matthew’s Gospel, specifically, Jesus’ exhortation to rejoice when people “insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.” (5:11) Gaudete et Exsultate is a meditation on the call to holiness in everyday life. (The word holiness appears 87 times.) Francis points to the “saints next door,” […]

Praying on Holy Saturday

After the powerful days of Holy Thursday and Good Friday, knowing how to pray on Holy Saturday can feel a bit uncertain. Easter has not yet arrived, and yet the intensity of praying with the Passion has passed. Although surely there are practical things to do in order to get ready for Easter—clothes to press, a meal to prepare—skipping over Holy Saturday never feels quite right to me. At the same time, how to proceed […]

Mindfulness and the Holy Spirit

If you have paid much attention at all to articles, podcasts, and books on spirituality, then you have come across the word mindfulness. This is a general term for paying attention, being truly present to the moment at hand. And this word is used in various religious traditions. How can we consider mindfulness in our Christian faith? Paying attention and being present are perfectly in line with Christian belief and practice. I think, though, that […]

“Making” Sacred

Home is sacred space. It is also sacred time. Whether home is a physical location or a state of mind while we wander the globe, we have the power to make it sacred, to hold it in loving attention and simultaneously offer it to God and the world as our gift to give. Here are a few ideas for “making sacred.” I make home sacred by: Receiving it with gratitude, noticing its details from day […]

Open-Eyed Wonder

Seeing God in all things is about challenging the concepts we have formed about God over the course of our lives, recognizing that they are always limited. Part of the way we as human beings think is to break down our world into manageable chunks; we develop a sense of how things work based on what we are able to understand. If God is God, though, our understanding of God will always be very limited. […]

Go for Wonder

Sometime this weekend, do something that fills you with wonder. Allow yourself to experience awe. This can be one of the best medicines for whatever ails us. I present workshops and retreats to writers and other artistic types, and I tell them that the best way to fill up a creative well that’s gone dry is to do something that fills you with wonder. Witness something that fills you with wonder. Let your heart be […]

Simply Advent: Simple Celebrations

We’re approaching the end of Advent, and even though you probably have your Christmas plans set, here are a few ideas for simple celebrations. First, consider making some adjustments to grand-scale plans, and then, savor the here and now. Make a Few Adjustments Is there a simple way to celebrate Advent and Christmas? Every time I consider inviting people over, this machine turns on in my head, and it churns out these huge events with […]

Simply Advent: Simple Practices

We continue trying to keep things simple this Advent with suggestions for simple practices this season. Linger with the Nativity Story This seems simple enough, but why not be quite intentional about taking in, once more, the story of Jesus’ birth? Read it in Scripture. Read a children’s book version of the story. Watch a film about it, such as The Nativity Story or Jesus of Nazareth (first part). Read about it in poetry form. […]

Simply Advent: Simple Encouragements

This week, plan to make a single phone call. Just one call, to one person you care about. The purpose? To express your appreciation and concern. The person you call could be a family member, someone from church, a person in your neighborhood, a coworker, a friend you don’t see often enough, or someone else you know through a shared interest or organization. You will call to say, essentially two things: I appreciate you and […]

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