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Soul Seeing: Light, Love, Forgiveness

A few years ago, I was asked to write an essay for the Soul Seeing column that appears regularly in the National Catholic Reporter. That essay turned into a moment for me. What started as an assignment, became a journey, as is so often the case. The essay I turned in back in 2014 was the first in which I explored in writing my lifelong habit of collecting broken sea shells and looked at it from a spiritual perspective. That original essay grew into more writings on the topic and, eventually, into a retreat day I offer: “Broken, Beautiful, and Beloved: Learning to See Ourselves through God’s Eyes.”

Now my original essay is part of this wonderful collection from Orbis Books. I am so honored to have my writing included alongside that of spiritual writers such as James Martin, Richard Rohr, Joyce Rupp, Brian Doyle, and so many others. A special word of thanks to Mike Leach, publisher emeritus of Orbis Books and creator of Soul Seeing, for asking me to write that first essay and for inviting me to be part of this book. It’s a lovely collection, something that would make the perfect Christmas gift for anyone who’s traveling the spiritual path and looking for a little nourishment along the way.

You can order Soul Seeing directly from Orbis Books or Amazon. You’ll find me on page 179 under the title “Brokenness Lets Us See Where True Beauty Lies.”

With every step, say, “Jesus”

I was recently sitting in a log-cabin chapel on a beautiful lake in the lower Adirondack Mountains when the woman next to me offered a prayer intention during Mass: “For all those in the process of dying.” Although I had a dear friend who would die that very night and for whom we had been praying throughout the weekend retreat, I heard those words not only in relation to my dying friend but in relation to myself and to all those around me, because we are all in the process of dying. Read more

Spiritual medicine from a wise Trappist monk

The past few months have been quite a spiritual roller-coaster for me due to an experience in early summer that pushed me past the breaking point. I couldn’t even bring myself to attend Sunday Mass, something completely out of character for me. My family would head off to church, and I would stay behind, feeling cut off, unable to rouse the slightest spark of spiritual connection. Read more

Join me for a weekend retreat at Pyramid Life Center

If you’re within driving distance of New York’s Capital Region and/or the lower Adirondacks, you are within retreat range! There are still a few more spots open for my weekend retreat, Stillpoint: Creating Calm amid Life’s Chaos, which will be held at Pyramid Life Center in Paradox, N.Y., Sept. 8-10, 2017. This all-inclusive spiritual getaway is designed to help you nourish yourself — body, mind, and spirit. You can do as much or as little as you want. I’ll provide the program; Pyramid will provide the spectacular setting. (The photo on the left was taken during the same September weekend two years ago, so, if we’re in luck, you’ll see the same riot of colors along the shoreline.) Read more

Take a weekend to nourish body, mind, and spirit

I’m guessing you could use a few days of peace and quiet, maybe in a gorgeous spot, where you have nothing to do but stare out a lake and let someone else do the cooking. Sound about right? If so, mark your calendars. I’ll be leading a retreat — Stillpoint: Creating Calm amid Life’s Chaos — at Pyramid Life Center in Paradox, New York, over the weekend of Sept. 8-10, 2017. Your spiritual getaway will include collage-as-prayer, journaling, silent breakfasts, meditation in motion, and prayer practices to help you discover the divine in the everyday, the miracles in the mundane. Plus, you’ll get delicious meals and free time to rest or hike or paddle a kayak across a crystal clear lake. I’ll provide the program; Pyramid will provide the spectacular setting, and you can do as much or as little as you want. The goal is to nourish yourself — body, mind, and spirit. Read more

Spiritual lessons at 65 miles per hour

I was driving to Rochester last week to give a talk to the local chapter of Magnificat, and I decided to make the trip into a mini-retreat of sorts. I brought along a recording by renowned theologian and writer Henri Nouwen called “The Spirituality of Waiting.” It wasn’t a new talk for me, but I decided it was time for a refresher, since waiting is not one of my strong suits. Read more

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

On retreat: Finding beauty in our brokenness

I was so blessed to give a retreat day at Mariandale Retreat and Conference Center in Ossining, N.Y., this weekend. A beautiful location with wonderful people. And great food. With seashells scattered around the room and prayer intentions overflowing our sea-themed bowl, we dove into the topic of brokenness and discovered a wholeness there. At least that’s what we were aiming for. And we did “collage as prayer,” one of my favorite things to do these days. It seemed to be a hit among the retreat participants as well. There’s something about cutting and gluing in silence that is soothing and centering. And it always seems to lead to at least a smidgen of self-discovery. Read more