The Fear of the Lord and the Love of God

God is a mystery, and our image of that mystery shapes our faith

Do you believe in Love? Or do you believe in fear?

As a young man growing up in the American south, I heard the phrase “God fearing” a lot. As in, “He’s a God fearing man.” I think it comes from Psalm 111:10: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” or its near corollary, Proverbs 1:7: “Fear of the Lord is the beginning […]

What to Say to the Nay-Sayers: Talking About Contemplation With Its Critics

Often, remaining silent is better than getting into a pointless debate.

If you are active in a church or other faith community, and you are drawn to (or practicing) silent prayer, if you talk about it with others you will likely, sooner or later, hear somebody say something along these lines: “Isn’t meditation Buddhist? Or Hindu? Christians don’t need to do that sort of thing.” “Sitting […]

Psalm 131: Humility, Silence and Hope

A Silent, Restful Place: Monastery of the Holy Spirit, photo by Haven Sweet.

Sometimes I get asked “Where is contemplation in the Bible?” One obvious answer to this question is Psalm 131. It’s a short Psalm, only three verses. Here it is in its entirety from the Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (but every translation works): O Lord, my heart is not lifted up, my eyes are not raised […]

The Hidden Tradition of Christian Mysticism


Karl Rahner, one of the most renowned Christian theologians of the twentieth century, once famously remarked that “the Christian of the future will be a mystic or will not exist at all.” For people whose experience of Christianity is, often, little more than a religion invested in obedience and in patriarchal morality, this seems to […]

Lectio Divina Every Day


“Love for Jesus is fed by constant meditation on the Gospels.” — Michael Casey, OCSO A prominent pastor who hosts an Internet podcast once interviewed me for his show, and at the close of our conversation asked me, “What is the one book you would recommend to readers as the most essential title to read, for […]