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The Kind of Beauty and Wisdom We Need in Our Feeds

Meet this Catholic priest on Instagram, AKA the Nomadic Monk.

There’s this priest on Instagram who calls himself the “Nomadic Monk,” and we’ve fallen in love with his posts, which combine stunning mountain viewpoints with poetic inspiration and insights for seekers. Seriously — we all need this kind of beauty and wisdom in our feeds right now. 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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“When is everything finally going to come together? Will I ever find peace? Will I always feel this lost?” . The more your life is a total work of love, the more extended will be the stages of wandering, of confusion, of bafflement; the more it will seem that things will never come together. . Love is a binding and unifying movement that draws the many parts into one organic, intricate, and breathtaking whole across the fabric of time. The greater, the more disparate, and the rarer the parts that are to be drawn together, the more time it takes for love to gently draw them, weave them, and sync them into harmony. . The work of love is as potent as it is imperceptible. Just as you cannot readily see the power that crafts the mountains, or harmonizes the solar system, or orchestrates the growth of a flower, so you cannot see the tectonic movements of love in your life until its work is finished. . There are no straight lines with love. Although it draws everything to the same place, it draws each one gently along its own, unique path. And the path of love is big enough to hold many, many mistakes, missteps, cracks, crooked lines, and detours. . It is not the place of one being created in the image of love to ask anxiously when or how the thing will finally be over and done with. A beautiful life has no timelines. So rest easy and trust in love’s slow, but certain and surgical work. The name we call love, when its work is as imperceptible as it is certain is, “patience”. . . . . . #badlandsnationalpark #badlands #patience #love #faith #hikersofinstagram #hikerlife #thepoweroflove #faithblogger #catholicblogger #fieldofflowers #catholics #christianblogger #spiritualgrowth #spirituality #discernment

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Father Nathan Sparks, SJ, describes himself as an adventurer and spiritual writer. He teaches Latin and Greek at a Catholic high school in Boston, but actually visits the places where those languages once lived. He studied at the Vatican for four years and has traveled across Europe, the U.S., the Holy Land, South America, and Asia. “I have also traveled extensively inside of libraries,” he writes, “where it is far easier to get lost than in any other place in the world.”

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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So many great troubles now have come upon the world. You may be the one who sees the patients flooding the ER’s, waiting with wheezing lungs and circled eyes. You may be the one teetering on the edge of homelessness. You may be the one going to work, wondering when the cough will come to you or when you will bring it home to your mother. You may be the one stuck at home, burning with the restlessness of a life on hold. That’s a glance, anyway, into my DM’s. . So often it is only when darkness settles upon our lives, when the gloomy twilight of restless troubles dilates our pupils, that the stars of faith and wonder become visible, and that we notice the creaking ship of our heart’s adventure thumping against the docks, as if to beckon us to embark upon the vast and stormy sea. . The bravest sojourners, the mystics, have told us that it is only in the darkest and stormiest passages of life that the depths of the heart shimmer in the shape of a compass, that the guiding constellations of our mysterious God become visible. “In the dark night of the soul,” says John of the Cross, “bright flows the river of God.” . What a mystery it is, that we sometimes have to sail through such ruthless waters to reach our destination, to find ourselves, to find one another, to find God. I do not know why, or how, or even the way, but I can point across the sea and say, “There, at the other end of your heart, you will find him. But first, you must come to know the magnificence of the great oceans of life, and the wildness of your own heart. But do not trouble yourself. God is bringing you home. You will not for a moment be lost.” and then try to give a reassuring look from one boat to another across the waters in the starry night. . . . . . #christianblogger #catholicblogger #faith #adventure #covid_19 #covid #healthcareworkers #wayfarer #pilgrim #nomadlife #catholics #catholicism #wisdom #mysticism #soultalk #spirituality #pathfinder #oceanview #stayathome #jesuit #philosophy

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The wisdom he shares in his posts are just as rich and compelling as the visuals he captures in his travel. Because he’s studied the ancients (with degrees in philosophy, theology, and ancient Greek), he has the long-view in mind. He’s swimming in the deep currents of life, and his writing about love and longing and searching for meaning transcend the typical self-help and you-can-do-it advice that’s so common on social media. 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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We have a tendency to shrink our world and our lives to ever smaller, ever more predictable, ever more controllable horizons. The fragility of these horizons is often only unmasked by crisis, that prophet of transcendence, who unveils the depths of our vulnerability as human beings, a vulnerability that travels all the way down to the molecular processes that compose our bodies; processes that can be so coolly and cruelly disrupted by illness. . I have often heard that it is God, it is faith, it is religion that shrinks the horizons of humanity and infantilizes it. While God can and has been sometimes shrunk into a merely human concept by believers, it is also true that any denial of God or the validity of faith does the same. God can only be denied by shrinking him to a concept, to something that can in fact be negated by a limited human mind. Once negated or neutralized by atheism or agnosticism, humans then measure the world and give it meaning by themselves with their tiny rulers. . An authentic acknowledgement of God is an acknowledgement of the existence of uncontrollable and infinite horizons beyond our own. Just as a crisis reveals our limits, faith reveals that there is an unlimited depth to our human experience. It transforms fear of our fragility and our radical dependence on processes beyond our control into gratitude that we have been created so intricately in the first place, so wonderfully permeable and vulnerable to life, to suffering, and to love. . Such gratitude leads one to value life and health and protect it by all means at our disposal. Yet, when life is pure gift, there is something worse than illness: to forget the goodness of the Giver. And when the Giver is an infinite horizon of love, there is something worse than death: to not let oneself feel the joy and freedom of exploring such a horizon now, and the thrilling prospect of exploring it for all Eternity. . . . . . #leavesometoiletpaperforme #coronavirus #COVID19 #christianblogger #catholicblogger #catholics #faith #gratitude #attitudeofgratitude #love #exploreeverything #mountainview #hikers #philosophers #theology #philosophy

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His posts have a way of putting into perspective not only the circumstances of life we may be facing at the moment, but where we are ultimately going. He has a way of drawing everything back to things of lasting meaning: love, hope, and faith. “I am on a journey into realms of deeper engagement with life, spiritual transformation, and pursuit of wisdom, knowledge, and faith,” he writes. “I look for and find God everywhere, and my Catholic faith is an intrepid little ship for this journey.”

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The more we welcome the reality of mystery into our lives, and learn to encounter it and appreciate its beauty, the more we will be at peace and find joy. A mystery is not simply a blank space in our knowledge, a sticker over “the unknown”, an excuse to look no further. It is rather a light that shines in our lives from a depth we feel compelled to explore forever, though we can never fully grasp it. . The only power available to us, by which we may truly encounter mystery, is faith. Faith does not contradict science and reason, for it is itself also a mode of understanding, but it is a mode of understanding that certain things are not to be understood, for in thinking ourselves to understand them, we substitute their unfathomable depths with the shallowness of our own concepts and thereby destroy any real encounter with them. Love is one of these things, so is suffering, so too is God. “If I have understood it, it is not God.” . If you practice seeing the great Mystery in everything and in every person and surrender to it and reverence it, you will understand many things by not understanding them, you will see beautiful things where you did not look for them, and you will be embraced by a Love that you yourself were too small and messed up to embrace. You will then discover the joy of humility, the particular joy that belongs only to creatures, and not to gods. . P.S. Every book is a little mystery sandwiched between two covers, a little gateway to explore the world of another mind. . 📷 cred: @jessworonick . . . . . #bookstagram #booklover #bookshelf #bookshelves #mystery #spiritualgrowth #spiritualjourney #christianblogger #christiancreative #christianwriter #catholicworld #faithblogger #library #librarylove #librarylife #library📚 #catholics #jesuit #christianbooks #christianauthor #readingnook

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