How I pray is breathe.” -Thomas Merton I grew up with the slogan, “Prayer changes things,” which I believed. I was just wrong about what got changed. I thought it could change my lot, save my soul, rescue people I cared about. I hoped I could change God’s mind. Not surprisingly, that kind of prayer […]
Now/ the Present
What Are You Running Away From?
On July 13, 1798, William Wordsworth returned to a specific place along the banks of the Wye River that flows through England and Wales. He sits above the murmuring waters, leaning against a dark sycamore tree. Years have passed and now he sees again the orchard trees, the steep and lofty cliffs, the wreaths of […]
How Can I Find God?
There was once a young boy who would wander in the woods. His father became concerned as he went deeper and deeper into the forest each time, so one day he said to the boy, “I notice that every day you walk into the woods. Why do you go there?” The boy replied, “I go […]
In a Stressed-Out World, How Do I Deal With My Anger?
A man is having an enjoyable boat ride down the river. It is dusk. The man looks up to see another boat coming toward him. His first thought is how nice that someone else is out enjoying the river. Then he realizes the boat speeding, in fact it’s coming straight at him. Faster and faster […]
What Does It Mean To Repent?
The original word for repent is not so much lost, as destroyed in translation. Wherever in the New Testament we see the word “repent,” it’s a gross mistranslation of metanoia. The problem seems to have begun with Jerome, who in 382 translated the Greek New Testament into the Latin Vulgate. When Jerome got to Matthew […]
The Yellow Falling Leaf
Question One: What more did I think I wanted? We don’t think of Ash Wednesday as a time to reflect on happiness. Isn’t it about sackcloth and guilt? But Ash Wednesday is set apart simply as a day to ponder this one fact: We came from dust, and we return to dust. When we accept […]
The Heaven of Bread
“Can you get that bread out of the oven?” Pam calls to me. “I think it’s done.” I open the oven door and a soft cloud of heat drifts over me. Then the smell wafts out, wave after wave—the yeasty aroma, the malted perfume, the toasted whiff of . . . I don’t know—heaven. Or […]
Just Drop It
Everybody talks about “letting go.” Then why don’t we? In October a delivery truck hit the stone wall at the entrance to our driveway, doing modest damage. For months I’ve been calling the company owner to respond to the repair estimate he requested. Every time I call, the receptionist says Ricky is out, but will […]