Prayer / Spiritual Life

It’s Just the Trade Getting Into Him

There is an old story out of France, from around the early 1900s. It seems a young man had begun his new job in a factory where the work was known to be quite physically demanding. The young man, believing himself to be the equal of any man in the factory, did his best to maintain the same level of […]

Pray Always?

Photography by John Neff | Shutterstock

“Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) “Seriously? Pray always?” That is not an uncommon reaction to St. Paul’s admonition to pray always without ceasing. Does he know what we’re up against, the demands on our time and energy, the pace of our modern world, not to mention the fragility and inconsistency of our human nature? He can’t possibly mean always, as […]

The Weight of Glory

Photograph Copyright © 2020 by Michael Bickerstaff, All Rights Reserved

We can believe we are mere mortals dreaming the dream of immortality, while in fact, we are immortals dreaming the terrible dream of mere mortality. We all know what the weight of glory is, whether or not we have read Lewis’ golden sermon. We know it from the magic words of the poets; or we know it from the wordless […]

Now is The Acceptable Time

Photography by Thoom | Shutterstock

Disclaimer: This reflection is offered by a person who is, at times, downright lazy and very often a skilled procrastinator. So, any similarities the reader might find to be true of themselves is purely coincidental. Act, before it is too late… Jesus tells the parable in Scripture of the individuals who receive an invitation to a Wedding Feast, but many of […]

The Mind of Christ

"The Baptism of Christ" (detail) by Pietro Perugino [Public domain]

“Have this mind among yourselves, which was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death […]

Crossing the Threshold of Holy Week

"The First Eucharist" by Juan de Juanes

It caught me by surprise that the Carmelite Sisters keep a complete and prayerful silence during the Holy Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday, not speaking until the conclusion of the evening Easter Vigil Mass on Holy Saturday. I remember when I was the “new kid on the block,” a recently-arrived postulant who was learning more and […]

The Time is Short

"St. Jerome Writing" (detail) by Caravaggio

I know it is customary during the Lenten Season for us to start reflecting on the great victories we will experience on Easter Sunday: the victory over sin and death; the victory over the enemy of this world; the victory over pain and sickness, heartache and fear, everything that would rob us of the joy of life. After all, Christ […]

Hope for a Little Fear

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Romans 15:13) What has happened to the hope of our generation? Can we honestly say this current generation lives with a collective sense of hope about the future?  It might be important for […]

Earthen Vessels

Photo by ritesh singh on Unsplash

The Light is Hidden, But Never Extinguished Many of us might remember the great battle in the Book of Judges between the Midianites and Gideon’s Israelite forces. Gideon had instructed his soldiers to each carry a trumpet and a clay jar with a torch in it. “And he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and put trumpets into the hands of […]

Feasting on a Fast

"Christ in the Desert (detail)" by Ivan Kramskoy

In this season of preparation for the arrival of Easter, there is one particular practice that seems to get a lot of attention, most of it negative. This should not be surprising since the practice is all about denying ourselves something we have all become quite accustomed to – food. The practice of course is fasting. “But he said to […]