Begin your week with a poem, piece of music, inspirational video, or thoughtful reading to enrich your life!

Each week we will send you an email containing a short meditation that gives you some breathing space. Each week something new. Each week something beautiful. 

TODAY'S BREATHING SPACE

Return to Your Spiritual Roots

The Christian faith blossoms from roots of Judaism. We can better understand and know Jesus in the context of his Hebrew identity. Jesus was called Rabbi. 

Celtic Christian roots developed in present-day Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, with a focus on the goodness of God's creation and the presence of God in creation. The Celtic emphasizes man's natural connection with the divine: a message of love, compassion, and intimacy.  

Mysticism in the Christian experience is rooted in the transcendent reality of God beyond rational thought, reaching back to the desert fathers and mothers, blossoming in St. John of the Cross, Meister Eckhart, the Quakers, the contemplative practice, and centering prayer. 

Take time to return to these roots and read again — or anew! — from one of these Christian traditions. 

Jesus: First-Century Rabbi by David Zaslow with Contributions by Joseph A. Lieberman is a bold, fresh look at the historical Jesus and the Jewish roots of Christianity. This scholarly work challenges both Jews and Christians to re-examine their understanding of Jesus’ commitment to his Jewish faith. Rabbi Zaslow dispels the myths of disparity between Christianity and Judaism without diluting the unique features of each faith. Jesus: First-Century Rabbi

is a breath of fresh air for Christians and Jews who want to strengthen and deepen their own faith traditions. 

Celtic Crossing by Len Mattano is a deeply compelling and poignant tale of life redeemed through death. Aideen Callaghan’s ancestors were miraculously cured of cancer through the power of a holy relic—the very relic that inspired the Celtic cross—until it vanished from history in 1866 and became Irish lore. Raised on faith but with an inheritance of death, Aideen has been at odds with religion since losing her daughter to a brain tumor. Now it is her orphaned grandson who lies dying. Clues leading a historical trail from Armagh to Skellig Michael, to Rome, Golgotha, and Gaul slowly reveal to Fr. Kevin —an American priest who takes on the Callaghan’s plight — and his longtime Vatican friend Marco, truths that ultimately reshape all their lives.
Wonderful and Dark Is This Road: Discovering the Mystic Path by Emilie Griffin  invites us to discover the fascinating, yet often misunderstood, spiritual path of mysticism. Griffin  explores the origins of mysticism, the different expressions and gifts of mysticism, and the recognized stages on the mystical journey. In beautifully transparent prose, she illuminates the insights of famous mystics throughout the centuries, from the Apostle Paul, to the Desert Fathers and Mothers, to Thomas Merton and Evelyn Underhill. Ultimately, and perhaps most importantly,  Griffin reveals mysticism as a spiritual path that is open to us all, offering the gift of an intimate knowledge of divine love to those who choose it. This is a book that has the potential to transform not only our inner lives, but our world. 
Mudhouse Sabbath: An Invitation to a Life of Spiritual Discipline. Lauren Winner story: after her conversion from Orthodox Judaism to Christianity, she found that her life was indelibly marked by the rich traditions and spiritual practices of Judaism.  Winner, with appealing honesty and rare insight, presents eleven Jewish spiritual practices: attentive eating, marking the days while grieving, the community who supports a marriage, candle-lighting, and the difference between the Jewish Sabbath and a Sunday spent at the Mudhouse, her favorite coffee shop. These practices can transform the way Christians view the world and God.
The Sin-eater: A Breviary by Thomas Lynch is a collection of two dozen, twenty-four-line poems—a book of hours in the odd life and times of Argyle, the sin-eater: the Celtic scapegoat, a fixture in the funerary Celtic landscape of former centuries. Argyle’s witness seems entirely relevant to our difficult times. His “loaf and bowl,” consumed over corpses, becomes by turns worshipful and irreverent, good-humored, and grim. These poems examine the deeper meanings of Eucharist and grace, forgiveness and faith, atonement, and reconciliation. 
Engaging the World with Merton: On Retreat in Tom's Hermitage engages the reader with a modern-day mystic. M. Basil Pennington t akes us on a retreat with Thomas Merton in Merton's own Kentucky hermitage, reading his writings on the spiritual life, praying the hours, caring for the birds on the front porch. This is the place where Merton found greater silence and solitude than was possible for him within the walls of the monastery.  Pennington fills this eloquent introduction to Merton with photographs taken in and around the hermitage. Engaging the World with Merton enables each of us to seek the kingdom of God within. 
Open The Burning Word: A Christian Encounter with Jewish Midrash by Judith Kunst and discover an ancient and vibrant approach to reading scripture—the rich tradition of Jewish Midrash. Midrash invites us to search the Bible for what is unfamiliar and unclear, and to wrestle with the text, those “burning words,” trusting the God of the Bible will meet us there. Midrash approaches the text, passionately, playfully, and reverently. The Bible is one side of a conversation, started by God, containing an implicit invitation to keep the conversation going. Kunst invites the reader to explore Midrash for the first time through a conversation, at times humorous, reflective, and poetic, offering practical suggestions for personal Midrash-making along the way. 

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