Day by Day These Things We Pray (Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 2010)

It’s not often that a Mennonite pastor proclaims such a powerful and persuasive case for the Daily Office, but Arthur Boers has done just that in this enjoyable, accessible reflection on the spirituality of fixed-liturgical prayer and its value for Christians. This book is written by a Mennonite for Mennonites, so some of the language and assumptions driving the book may not be shared by all Christians. But as a Catholic, I find the book both inspiring and informative, and would recommend it to Christians of all denominations as a tool to help explain both the logic and the beauty of daily recited prayer.

On Thursday, January 21, 2016, I’ll return to The Soul-Directed Life with Janet Conner. We’ll be discussing my latest book, Befriending Silence, along with thoughts in response to this question: “How can I open to possibility?”

Mark your calendar to listen in!

If you miss it, the show will be archived in The Soul-Directed Life‘s webpage, so you can catch it later.

Date: January 21, 2016
Time: 02:00-03:00 pm
Appearance: The Soul-Directed Life
Outlet: Unity Online Radio
Location: Online
Format: Radio

This year I return to the “Winter Feast for the Soul” for my third set of contemplative meditations. We’re working on a different format: in the past we would create 40 different podcasts, so participants in the Winter Feast would be able to listen to a different meditation each day. The organizers got feedback from some participants who felt like it was a lot of material to digest; so this year we’re doing a leaner, cleaner Winter Feast: we’re creating ten podcasts (rather than 40), with a new one being released every four days over the course of the forty days. Participants are still asked to have thirty minutes of silence each day, but the suggestion is to listen to each meditation four times. Another change: during the meditation, we’ll set up a chime to ring at ten minute intervals. That way of someone only wants to meditate for 20 minutes (or even just 10 minutes), you’ll have the chimes to let you know when your time is up.

The idea behind the Winter Feast of the Soul is to encourage participants to begin or strengthen a daily practice of meditation (or mindfulness, or silent prayer) with a series of podcast meditations to listen to over the forty days, which begin today (January 15) and run through February 23.

The overall theme for Winter Feast 2016 is “Going Deeper,” so that’s the theme for my set of meditations: “Going Deeper in the Contemplative Life.” I’ll be looking at the gifts and fruit of the Spirit to guide us. As with all Winter Feast meditations, mine will be grounded in my faith (which is Christianity) but presented in a way that will hopefully speak to all people.

I hope you’ll join us. Visit the website to learn more: Winter Feast for the Soul.

Date: January 15, 2016—February 23, 2016
Appearance: Winter Feast for the Soul 2016: “Going Deeper in the Contemplative Life”
Outlet: Winter Feast for the Soul
Location: Online
Format: Podcast

To be here with the silence of Sonship in my heart is to be a center in which all things converge upon you. That is surely enough for the time being.
Therefore, Father, I beg you to keep me in this silence so that I may learn from it the word of your peace and the word of your mercy and the word of your gentleness to the world: and that through me perhaps your word of peace may make itself heard where it has not been possible for anyone to hear it for a long time.

Thomas Merton
Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander (New York: Image Books, 1966), p. 176.

Philippians 2 and the Heart Sūtra

Form and Emptiness as Keys to Contemplative Practice


One of my favorite passages in the New Testament is the hymn found in Philippians 2:5-11: Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God,     did not regard equality with God     as something to be exploited, but emptied himself,     taking the form of a […]

In April 2016 I’ll be returning to one of my favorite conference centers, Montreat (near Asheville, NC), to lead a workshop/ retreat on the Wisdom of the Christian Mystics. The event will combine prayer and story, conversation and silence, as we explore the wisdom of the great mystics and contemplatives and how their teachings can help us today in our response to Divine Love.

This program is co-sponsored by the Montreat Conference Center and Columbia Seminary’s Center for Lifelong Learning. This counts as an elective toward Columbia’s Certificate in Spiritual Formation.


Date: April 21, 2016—April 24, 2016
Event: Wisdom of the Christian Mystics
Sponsor: Columbia Seminary Center for Lifelong Learning
Venue: Montreat Conference Center
Location: 401 Assembly Drive
Montreat, NC 28757
Public: Public
Registration: Click here to register.
More Info: Click here for more information.

To invite me to speak to your community, click here.

I’ll be leading a Lenten Day of Reflection at the Ignatius House Jesuit Retreat Center on Wednesday, February 17, 2016.  Our theme with be “Hospitality as a Lenten practice.” Hope to see you there.

Date: February 17, 2016
Time: 09:00 a.m.-03:00 p.m.
Event: Lenten Day of Reflection
Topic: Lenten Day of Reflection
Sponsor: Ignatius House
Venue: Ignatius House
Location: 6700 Riverside Drive NW
Atlanta, GA 30328
Public: Public
Registration: Click here to register.

To invite me to speak to your community, click here.

I’m honored to be presenting a Saturday morning program on Lay Cistercian Spirituality at the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio Texas.

Date: February 6, 2016
Time: 09:00 a.m-12:00 p.m. CST
Event: Restless Hearts: Befriending Silence
Topic: Befriending Silence: Discovering the Gifts of Cistercian Spirituality
Sponsor: Oblate School of Theology
210-341-1366 x 212
Venue: Oblate School of Theology
Location: 285 Oblate Drive
San Antonio, TX 78216
Public: Public
Registration: Click here to register.

To invite me to speak to your community, click here.

Every year for the past several, I’ve been invited to teach one Sunday morning class to Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church’s RCIA candidates. This year I’ll be there on January 31, speaking about the spirituality of the sacraments of Holy Orders and Holy Matrimony — which will expand to include some thoughts on Catholic spirituality in general.

Date: January 31, 2016
Time: 10:15-11:30 a.m.
Event: RCIA at OLA
Sponsor: Our Lady of the Assumption RCIA
Venue: Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church
Location: 1350 Hearst Drive NE
Atlanta, GA 30319
Public: Private

To invite me to speak to your community, click here.

We are in time. We practice the active life in time, knowing that our goal is in eternity. The role of the contemplative is to remind us that there is in the world something other than the world, that the goal of human life is beyond the human. Contemplation is the goal and meaning of work just as sabbath is the goal and meaning of the weekdays.

Jean-Yves Leloup
Being Still: Reflections on an Ancient Mystical Tradition (New York: Paulist Press, 2003), p. 51.

Seven Reasons to Pray the Divine Office

Prayer Does Not Change God — It Changes Us

The Divine Office is a Path of Prayer (Photo: Georgia Botanical Gardens; courtesy of Shutterstock)

Everyone knows that monks devote their lives to silence, but also to daily prayer and chanting. Monastic prayer occurs at fixed-hours throughout the day. The rota of Psalms, canticles, scripture readings, antiphons and other prayers that incorporate this daily liturgy is known as the Divine Office (or the Daily Office, or the Liturgy of the Hours). […]

The second of a two part series on Byzantine theology by English Orthodox professor Andrew Louth. Here Louth discusses apophatic spirituality, ascetical and mystical theology, and the liturgy.


The Rule of Benedict: A Spirituality for the 21st Century (New York: Crossroad, 2010)

Plenty of books exist to help you understand the Rule of Saint Benedict, or to encourage a daily study/devotional reading of this foundational monastic text. But there are good reasons to start with this one. Chittister, who is herself a Benedictine Sister, offers an honest and thoughtful consideration of how a text that is some 1500 years old continues to be relevant today — not only to monastics, but for anyone who is seeking an authentic spirituality in our chaotic age. Like Benedict himself, Chittister is down-to-earth (humble) and practical in her insightful reflections. Like many Rule devotionals, this is arranged to be read daily over a four month cycle, thereby making it an ideal text for your regular morning or evening practice.

Vatican Consultant: “All Are Called to Mysticism”

September 1, 2010

Here’s a little interview from a few years back with Carmelite Father Luigi Borriello, who is described as a Vatican consultant and theology professor. His language (which may suffer from translation) is a bit too “experiential” for my taste, and consequently some of this theology I might quibble with. But his overall message is really important: All are called to be mystics!

We may love the wisdom of Brother Lawrence or Thomas Merton, Julian of Norwich or Hildegard of Bingen, Teresa of Avila or John of the Cross; what we must understand is that each one of these spiritual geniuses and giants was deeply influenced by their regular, daily observance of morning and evening prayer as part of a faith community.

Arthur Paul Boers
Day by Day These Things We Pray (Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 2010), Kindle Locations 273-275.