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My Merton Fourth-and-Walnut Moment

Tonight I had my Thomas Merton Fourth & Walnut moment. I watched this crowd dancing in the plaza on Atwells in Providence while we ate dinner, and all I could feel was love for all of them, and joy. This is the best of who are. All together. No differences. Strangers dancing as partners in the middle of an open square. #hope

Honored, grateful to make top-25 list of bloggers

I opened my Twitter feed yesterday to find this message posted by The Clearing, a spiritual wellness website:

“Read why @MaryDTP is one of our top 25 blogs on #spiritual wellness.”

And I was like, wait, what? So I clicked on the link that took me to a list of the “top 25 spiritual wellness bloggers,” and there I was, slipped in among some of the most wonderful and inspiring contemporary spiritual wellness/wholeness writers and thinkers: Louise Hay, Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson, Danielle LaPorte, Krista Tippett. And me?!? How did that happen? I’m still not sure. I just know I am beyond overwhelmed and grateful that anyone, anywhere would include me and my blog — this blog! — on that list. I’m not worthy. And I’m especially honored to be the Catholic writer representing on that list. Preach.
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Humility, humiliation, and quiet surrender

Humility has never been my strong suit, which seems somewhat odd to me because I’m not a bragger or a diva. In fact, I trend toward the low end of the self-esteem spectrum. But humility is a tricky thing because it seems ever so close to humiliation, which never feels good. Before you know it, pride rears its ugly head and ego is right behind it. Once ego is involved, all bets are off. Read more

To Jesus through Mary, our star, our gate, our guide

My prayer reflection from the December issue of Give Us This Day:

Alma Redemptoris Mater – Sweet Mother of the Redeemer

Loving Mother of the Redeemer, gate of heaven, star of the sea, assist your people who have fallen yet strive to rise again. To the wonderment of nature you bore your Creator, yet remained a virgin after as before. You who received Gabriel’s joyful greeting, have pity on us poor sinners.

The vastness of God’s love can be hard to grasp on human terms. Yes, we know God’s love is boundless and eternal, but how can we possibly enter into that space and accept what is ours when it is so far beyond our comprehension? Where do we begin? To Jesus through Mary. We’ve heard those words again and again over the course of our spiritual lives. We’ve seen it marked in ink on letters and prayer cards, but have we made it our own? Do we look to our Blessed Mother as the point of entry into the endless and unconditional love that God pours out for us? Read more

3 steps to a more grateful life

German mystic Meister Eckhart once said, “If the only prayer you said your whole life was ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.”

Gratitude has that kind of power, not just in prayer, but in the most ordinary moments of our lives. When we are thankful, grateful and appreciative of what we have — even the things that don’t necessarily warrant a special thank-you prayer — we tend to be more generous, loving, patient and kind toward others.  Read more

Desert island books: What would you want with you?

Either they saved the best for last or buried me. You decide. Seriously, I’m honored to be among the 20 Catholic writers sharing Desert Island Books in this piece by Elizabeth Scalia on Aleteia:

There are times in life when the world presents so many hard headlines, and so many complex issues, that it feels good to ask an easy question, and get an easy answer. Sometimes, though, even the easy questions become a little knotty, because multi-faceted human beings like to play with simple things. We asked an age-old question of a number of Catholic writers (and one monastic “jack-of-all-trades” who sometimes writes): Read more here.

Way of Sorrow: Seeing an old path with new eyes

It’s amazing how different something can look when we are willing to see with new eyes, when we cast aside our preconceived ideas and our human need for “progress.”

When I was on retreat at St. Mary’s on the Lake earlier this month, my retreat leader, Paulist Father Tom Ryan, took a few of us on a hike across the beautiful property along stunning Lake George, including a long-abandoned outdoor Stations of the Cross path cut into the woods behind the chapel. I hadn’t even noticed it on my first two trips down to the lake, but there it was — overgrown, falling down, forgotten, sad. At least that’s how it seemed to me at first. And all I could see was potential. Read more

Summer vacation for the soul

“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest awhile.” Mark 6:31

Today’s Gospel reading reminded me of my fabulous five-day retreat and the Life Lines column I wrote about making sure you take time apart to recharge your spiritual life this summer. I’ll be back in the days ahead with some reflections — and photos — from my stay at St. Mary’s on the Lake in gorgeous Lake George, N.Y. So here’s my column, which is running in the current issue of Catholic New York. Let me know in the comment section what you’ll be doing this summer to recharge. (That photo to the left was taken from my favorite prayer/journaling spot on a cliff overlooking Lake George.) Read more

Preach it, Denzel Washington

This is so worth 11 minutes of your time. Denzel Washington gives a commencement address that doubles as spiritual direction. “Put God first,” he told the graduates, and then went on to remind them to “fail big,” serve others, and get down on their knees every morning to thank God in advance for what is already theirs. Powerful talk. Check it out.

The soul finds what the soul needs

I always say that every book I write, every retreat I lead, every workshop I present takes me to the next place I need to go on my spiritual journey. I never seem to realize that going in because I’m a little thick, and God needs to get my attention, and not always subtly. But I recognize it in hindsight, so I guess that’s something. Read more