Author

Carl McColman

Soul Friend and Storyteller. Lay Cistercian, Centering Prayer Presenter, Author, Blogger, Podcaster, Speaker, Teacher, Retreat Leader.
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The Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom — But Love Casts Out Fear

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N.B. This homily was written for the Community of Hope International at their annual retreat, during the Saturday evening Taizé service, October 8, 2022 at Camp Allen, Navasota, Texas. The readings included Psalm 66:1-12, Psalm 111 and Luke 5:12-16. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” This is a powerful statement, capstoning the beautiful song of praise that we find in Psalm 111...

Prayer and the Contemplative Imagination • In Person Retreat in Atlanta, January 28

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PRAYER & THE CONTEMPLATIVE IMAGINATION A MINI-RETREAT WITH CARL MCCOLMAN Click here for more information or to register “Be still and know that I am God” is a promise from the Psalms: a promise that God may be known through stillness, silence, and contemplation. But how do we truly know God — and how does stillness truly invite us into this deeper way of knowing? Explore these questions...

Gnosis and Mysticism

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A reader of this blog named Brian writes: Carl, How would you compare and contrast mysticism with gnosticism? Thanks! I suppose there are three ways to answer this question. First we’ll look at the historical sense of mysticism and gnosticism in the history of Christianity. Then, to bring it closer to the present day, we’ll consider how these words were used by a twentieth century...

Online Course: Thomas Merton, Spiritual Guide (February 24-March 27, 2023)

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Through Columbia Theological Seminary’s Center for Lifelong Learning, I’m teaching a course on the wisdom of Thomas Merton as a spiritual guide. We will explore selected readings from Merton, and reflect together on how to integrate Merton’s wisdom on prayer, contemplation, interfaith dialogue, and social justice into our own spiritual practice. This is an online course and it...

Online Course: Seeking God (January 9-February 5, 2023)

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Please note: I am co-teaching this course with members of the CTS Faculty. I lead one of five sessions. Columbia Theological Seminary, based in Decatur GA and affiliated with the Presbyterian Church USA, has a wonderful Certificate Program in Spiritual Formation — and this course is the introductory course for that program, although it works great as a stand-alone experience. If you are looking...

Online Event: Wisdom for Spiritual Living (October 21-22, 2022)

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Note: This is an online event. Join me online for a Friday evening and Saturday min-retreat sponsored by the Rock Hill Oratory! Our theme is “The Universal Call to Holiness: the Spirituality of Vatican II“ — and while this is very much based on commemorating the historic gathering of Catholic Bishops at the Vatican that ran from 1962-1965, this is not just a “Catholic”...

How to Deal with Catholics Who Disapprove of Centering Prayer

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A reader of this blog named Pawel writes: Hi Carl, What would be your advice for someone returning to Catholic faith through a practice like Centering Prayer (having been immersed in Eastern traditions for many years), but coming up against objections when trying to start with the “basics”? For example, I was looking for a good Bible study and came across The New Adventure Bible and...

Twelve Mystical Anthologies That Belong in Every Contemplative Library

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There are literally hundreds of mystics in the Christian tradition alone — or, should I say, hundreds of mystics who were writers (no one knows how many great mystics were too humble to write about their union with God, and so their wisdom is lost to history). And while some mystics like Julian of Norwich only wrote a small amount, others like Thomas Merton or Teresa of Ávila left us enough...

Happy Birthday, Dawn Treader!

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The year 1952 in England has gotten a lot of attention lately, with the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. Her seventy-year reign, the longest ever for a British monarch, began with the death of her father, King George VI, on February 6, 1952. But on September 15 of that year, C. S. Lewis published the third of his seven Narnia books: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. So happy birthday, Dawn Treader...

Online Event: Centering Prayer and the Mystical Imagination (October 29, 2022)

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To register for this online event, click here. Friends, I’m excited to join my friends of Contemplative Outreach Chicago, who are sponsoring an online program I’m leading in person on October 29. Hope to see you there! The program will take place from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM ( US/Canada Eastern). For more information or to register, please follow the link above, or read more information below. Here’s...

Dying Alone (with the Angels)

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I recently received the following heartbreaking message through my website. Normally this is the kind of message that I would answer with a private email, but the person who sent it did not give me her email address. So, I’ve remove some details to protect her privacy, but here’s the message: Thank you for the recent article “Memento Mori: The Contemplation of Death and the Wonder of...

Encountering Silence interviews Carmen Acevedo Butcher

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Hi friends! Just a quick note to let you know that the latest episode of Encountering Silence is out. We’re interviewing our friend Carmen Acevedo Butcher, noted for her translation of The Cloud of Unknowing. She’s now releasing another translation of a mystical classic: Brother Lawrence’s The Practice of the Presence. Listen to the episode here, and/or download it from your...

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