Into the mist…..List: welcoming God into our daily lives
A Parish Catechist Blog
by Kim Burkhardt
6d ago
“The Greek Fathers liken man’s encounter with God to the experience of someone walking over the mountains in the mist: he takes a step forward and suddenly finds that he is on the edge of a precipice, with no sold ground beneath his foot but only a bottomless abyss.” The Orthodox Way (Revised Edition, page 13), Bishop Kallistos Ware The passage above is my favorite quote from the Orthodox tradition. Beginning in October, 2016, I was gifted with an extended period of contemplative prayer (more of that story is told here). I didn’t have words at the time to describe what I was experiencing. Not ..read more
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We need each other: small group faith sharing
A Parish Catechist Blog
by Kim Burkhardt
1w ago
As we seek to grow in faith, we need each other. This idea that we need each other in faith is observed and communicated time and again: “No man is an island.” “We are all radically incomplete. And we need each other.” Timothy Radcliffe at the October, 2023 Synod in Rome. A person of faith who I admire wrote: “we all need to have encouragement and some checks & balances from other seekers in regard to our experiences, otherwise we can fall into despair, or begin to believe that our own experience is the fullest measure of truth, which is dangerous.” Etc. We learn in faith from faith lea ..read more
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Prayer: two-way communication (interesting in an MRI)
A Parish Catechist Blog
by Kim Burkhardt
3w ago
Daily prayer is a critical component of a faith-filled life. There’s a saying: “There can be no faith without prayer” (source uncertain). Within a theistic vision of faith, a life of faith must involve a relationship with the divine. Our relationships with the people in our lives are defined by relationship: social interactions. This also applies in our faith life – there can be no spiritual life without a relationship with God. Thus, a relationship with God through prayer. Relationships are two-way. I like the analogy of comparing prayer to a phone call (it might be Fr. Mike Schmitz, “Bible ..read more
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Book Review: Timothy Radcliffe, Listening Together
A Parish Catechist Blog
by Kim Burkhardt
1M ago
Pope Francis convened a College of Bishops “Synod on Synodality” in Rome last October in which a worldwide group of bishops and lay people gathered for discussion following worldwide parish-level synodal listening sessions. The synod began with a series of talks by the engaging Dominican Timothy Radcliffe [Timothy Radcliffe served for several years as Master General of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans)]. Radcliffe’s presentations can be watched online here: Synod Retreat Meditation: ‘Hoping Against Hope’ – Vatican News Synod Retreat Meditation: ‘At home in God and God at home in us’ – Va ..read more
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Update: Faith reading challenge – Brothers Karamazov
A Parish Catechist Blog
by Kim Burkhardt
1M ago
Faith Reading challenge: The Brothers Karamazov In March, I challenged readers to consider reading Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov and to read it from a faith perspective. In March, I stated: “I attended a state university and we read The Brothers Karamazov as secular literature. While we read the book as secular literature, I do remember our instructor posing a question about a particular point for one of the books’ characters. I found myself responding as seeing the character as analagous to a friend of mine who was serving as a spiritual guide for me at the time. My ins ..read more
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Book Review: Gerald May’s The Dark Night of the Soul
A Parish Catechist Blog
by Kim Burkhardt
1M ago
Teresa of Avila and her protege John of the Cross – two 16th-century Spaniards – are my favorite mystics and two of my favorite faith writers. When I began reading their books in 2017 or 2018, they articulated my own (more modest!) experience with contemplative prayer. Since then, I have tried to explain to people that John of the Cross’s book Dark Night of the Soul is not about tribulations or depression. It’s not. More recently, I came upon Gerald May’s book of the same title. Gerald May is a physician, psychiatrist, and writer of faith books). Gerald May, in his book, accessibly explains J ..read more
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Book Review: Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs
A Parish Catechist Blog
by Kim Burkhardt
2M ago
There was a time when I would have read this reference book from cover to cover (I am among the readers who believe that when I read a book, I should read the entire book…..). This is a useful, scholarly book to have on one’s bookshelf as a reference to inform one’s study of any number of topics. I am reading some of it now and plan to refer to it on occasion as the reference book it is intended to be. Christianity is 2,000 years old. In 2024, the majority of us – with the possible exception of those Biblical scholars who specialize in Early Christian Literature – are not going to be familiar ..read more
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Rumi: Live where you fear to live
A Parish Catechist Blog
by Kim Burkhardt
2M ago
“Run from what’s comfortable. Forget safety. Live where you fear to live.” Rumi Too often, we make decisions based on fear. “I couldn’t possibly travel alone. How would I navigate the travel experience on my own?” “I couldn’t live alone as a single person. (Because…..).” “I couldn’t (fill in the blank).” Okay, I cheated. The fears I listed above are fears that I don’t experience. I have my own list of fears – sometimes making decisions in reaction to those fears. In some ways, people view me as living a fearless life – I simply never learned how to have some of the fears that many people have ..read more
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Faith Reading challenge: The Brothers Karamazov
A Parish Catechist Blog
by Kim Burkhardt
2M ago
I took a literature class in college in which we read Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. I attended a state university and we read The Brothers Karamazov as secular literature. While we read the book as secular literature, I do remember our instructor posing a question about a particular point for one of the books’ characters. I found myself responding as seeing the character as analagous to a friend of mine who was serving as a spiritual guide for me at the time. My instructor and classmates found this odd and laughed as such. It was an awkward moment. Since then, I have periodically heard ..read more
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Surrender – a perennial need
A Parish Catechist Blog
by Kim Burkhardt
2M ago
I wrote a post in July titled Surrender in Prayer. In that post, I wrote “Despite our western ideas about individual autonomy and self-agency, us permitting God’s agency to mold and shape us is liberating. God loves us, wants good for us and our world, and and has capacity for transformational good beyond our comprehension. There is no room for a negative outcome when we allow God to work within and through us.” Surrendering to God’s will needs to be ongoing. The people who can stay in a perpetual state of surrender to God’ work in their lives – well, some of them are saints! They get the ong ..read more
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