Welcome to my new blog! Whether you are part of my Franciscan community, a reader of my books or just stumbling across me for the first time, I’d like to offer you hospitality here. One of the hallmarks of Franciscan spirituality is its emphasis on both the active and contemplative sides of the spiritual life. Francis and Clare of Assisi were two people with lots of work to do but who carefully tended the quiet space within. They guarded that space because it was there that they encountered God, the source and power of their loving service to the world.
Eight hundred years later, the need to anchor our work in prayer hasn’t changed. But the world moves faster and faster, and those of us who live very much “in the world” (as opposed to a monastery) need all the help we can get to maintain our center. In this blog, I’d like to explore the intersection of contemplation and action in our lives. That means I’ll be writing about different practices and experiences of prayer, as well as forms of active service that fire my imagination (like the fight against modern slavery). Action of some kind always follows contemplation, because as Thomas Kelly (A Testament of Devotion) said, once you’ve gazed into a bright light, you keep seeing it everywhere you look. In the same way, the contemplative gaze at the divine Light causes us to see it in everyone we meet, and to see that Light is to love and serve it.
I’ve explored these ideas in my books, especially in The Sacred Gaze: Contemplation and the Healing of the Self, which is being released by Liturgical Press this month. But a book is a monologue, while a blog can be a dialogue. I’m eager to hear from you. Let’s travel this path together for a while, shall we, and see what we can learn from each other.