Madonna House, Part III of III: Poustinia

5 years ago with 5 comments
A friend tells me that she once sat and meditated for an hour and half, only to discover at the end that what she had been meditating on, scene by scene, was Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. There is a moment in prayer when you really do achieve emptiness: you actually manage to rid yourself of all the things that typically consume and distract you, every last worry and earworm and ...

Madonna House, Part II of III: Jailbird

5 years ago with 13 comments
This slow burn has, if I’m honest, a lot in common with the feeling I have first thing in the morning, most mornings. A weighty expectation of tasks: Here come All The Things, one after another. But then I think of the taste of my first cup of coffee, or I open the door and feel the warmth of the breeze, or I just get distracted because there are so many things to attend to that I ...

Madonna House, Part I of III: Slow Burn

5 years ago with 7 comments
I was…one whose negative demands were more violent than his positive, far more eager to escape pain than to achieve happiness, and feeling it something of an outrage that I had been created without my permission. — C. S. Lewis, Surprised By Joy Two days into my week at Madonna House in Combermere, Ontario, two things are continually on my mind. The first is the presence of Jesus, just ...