One reason I've been wanting to learn more about Catholicism is that the contemplatives have made me feel so welcome, even in times when I've felt most alienated from The Church. In their midst I am met face-to-face with an authentic spirituality, the kind of real deal that I used to dream about. Instead of going on and on, I've decided to post a few quotes that will perhaps hint at the radical shift they make available from Christianity as club membership to a life-long journey into the heart of divine mystery.
"Without listening, there is no spiritual life." Abbot Joseph Boyle, Snowmass Monastery
From The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris:
For a long time I had no idea why I was so attracted to the Benedictines, why I keep returning to their choirs. Now I believe it's because of the hospitality I've encountered in their communal lectio, a hospitality so vast that it invites all present into communion with the text being read. I encounter there not a God who rejects me because I can't pass some dogmatic litmus test but one who invites me to become part of a process, the continuing revelation of holy word. Heard aloud, the metaphors of scripture are roomy indeed; they allow me to relax, and listen, and roam. I take them in, to my "specific strength," as Emily Dickinson put in in her poem "A Word Made Flesh is Seldom". And I hope to give something back.
And I couldn't complete this post without Father Richard Rohr, from Everything Belongs:
Religion has lost sight of Jesus' message here. It has not tended to create seekers or searchers, has not tended to create honest humble people who trust that God is always beyond them. We aren't focused on the great mystery. Rather, religion has tended to create people who think they have God in their pockets, people with quick, easy, glib answers. That's why so much of the West is understandably abandoning religion. People know the mystery cannot be that simple and facile. If the great mystery is indeed the Great Mystery, it will lead us into paradox, into darkness, and into journeys that never cease. That is what prayer is about.