Reading In Lockdown

I want to propose a special kind of reading for lockdown, perhaps a perfect antidote for the anxieties of sequestration. It’s an ancient practice, much of it sparked by St. Benedict as he opened his great monastery at Monte Cassino in the sixth…


Be quiet. Listen. Look.

My son Michael had a dream the other night. He was driving his car, at quite a speed, only to discover he was driving backwards, in reverse. After slamming on the breaks a number of times, he realized he couldn’t stop the car. I get the feeling…


What’s Next?

I was out on Twitter Easter Sunday afternoon. Sharon and I had participated in the morning in a beautiful, though un-normal, worship service online. Our pastor, the Reverend O’Grady, preached a heart-felt sermon, our reduced choir sang with beauty…


Dinner’s Ready

In his Friday column last week, David Brooks points to “an invisible current of dread running through the world. It messes with your attention span.” And then he adds: “I don’t know about you, but I’m mentally exhausted by 5 p.m. every day, and I…


Sunrise Must Be On Its Way

I love this painting, Claude Monet’s Impression, Sunrise, painted in 1872, quite possibly the painting that launched the whole impressionist movement. It’s marvelous. Sharon and I first hung a print of this painting when we moved to our condo in…


What Can I Say?

I’m finding it hard to write these days. I suspect we are all having a hard time just thinking clearly. We still live, day after day, with sinister danger, a pandemic, a huge cloud spreading gloom on the horizon. Economic damage is not far behind.…


From The Balcony

It’s been raining in California, seems like for weeks. I know, I know, we need it. Thank God for the rain. But give me some sunshine now. I’m ready. Give me spring blossoms and birds. Let me imagine long summer evenings on the patio. Really what I…


As The Clouds Darken

I woke up this rainy morning under a cloud of fear, not so much for my own safety, though there is certainly that too, but fear for our world, for the thousands who may be struck down with illness, for the millions who may be nailed with crippling…


So, Reading The Psalms?

I’ve been thinking about how my daily practice of reading the Psalms can possibly address the urgent questions of our day. Name the issue: The looming, ever-dangerous coronavirus; the corrosive polarization of our politics; the hollowed out moral…


A Tear

During my early morning reading the other day, a line leaped off the page from one of R. S. Thomas’s poems: “In an age of science everything is analyzable but a tear.” This is what I’ve been trying to say for years, but here, in one stunning image,…


The Locked Door Within

I was reading this morning in Abigail Rine Favale’s stunningly beautiful book Into the Deep, the story of her “unlikely” conversion to Christianity, one that ends with a wholehearted plunge into the Catholic Church. This is my second reading, not…


It’s Time To Rise

We were with a group of people recently where someone remarked: “I can’t believe how much depression and anxiety and hopelessness seems loose among so many people, many of them our friends.” We are constantly reminded of the statistics, but we feel…


Stillness

I have always been attracted to poets who sense God’s presence in the surrounding beauty, in cool air as it touches our face, in water as it ripples across ageless stones, in a whiff of breeze across a lawn. The scene may bristle with arresting…


Coming In Out Of The Wind

I’m back. A number of friends have asked me if I would ever return to my blog. There are lots of reasons I stepped back for a while. I’ve been intensely engaged writing my new book, now tentatively called Conversion: Drawing Nearer To The Heart Of…


Singing Simply For The Beauty

Last Sunday our choir at church sang this beautiful anthem: For the beauty of the earth, For the beauty of the skies For the love which from our birth, Over and around us lies. Lord of all, to Thee we raise This our joyful hymn of grateful praise.…


Seeing What Simeon Saw

I’ve been trying to enter the amazing Christmas story from the inside out. I think the story is robbed of all its power when we try to move the other way, from outside in. Perhaps what I am trying to do is see the baby Jesus the way Simeon saw him:…