Modern Mystics: The Latest from Bernard McGinn


I make the following statement in my forthcoming New Big Book of Christian Mysticism: Some writers and scholars, who might humbly deny identifying themselves as mystics, nevertheless have contributed much to our understanding of mystical theology, philosophy, and spirituality. In our time, scholars like Bernard McGinn, Louise Nelstrop, Barbara Holmes, Mark McIntosh, Grace Jantzen, Andrew Louth...

Want to Learn More About Julian of Norwich? Start Here


Next month — May 2023 — marks the 650th anniversary of the visionary “showings” of the great 14th century English mystic, Julian of Norwich! To make the occasion, for the patrons of this blog I’m currently leading a course on the contemplative study of Julian of Norwich. Twice a month I publish PDF documents in which I offer my commentary on her writings, curate my favorite...

Soul Food: Nourishing Essays on Contemplative Living and Leadership (Pre-Order Today)


Friends, I am so honored to announce that I have an essay appearing in an upcoming anthology called Soul Food: Nourishing Essays on Contemplative Living and Leadership which is being published to celebrate 50 years of the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Direction — the organization that first introduced me to silent prayer and spiritual direction when I was a grad student forty years ago. Soul...

Encountering Silence: A Conversation with Kaira Jewel Lingo, author of “We Were Made for These Times”


Friends, here is the latest episode of the Encountering Silence podcast. This episode features a conversation the Encountering Silence team had last year with Buddhist author Kaira Jewel Lingo, author of We Were Made for These Times: Ten Lessons in Moving through Change, Loss and Disruption. Kaira Jewel Lingo is a Dharma teacher who has a lifelong interest in blending spirituality and meditation...

Brother Elias Marechal, OCSO (1936-2023)


Friends, I am heartbroken to report that my dear friend and mentor, Trappist monk and author Elias (Paul) Marechal, passed away last night at the age of 86. He had been suffering from a variety of health conditions in recent years, and recently embraced hospice care in the infirmary of his monastery in Conyers, Georgia. Elias was the author of two books: Dancing Madly Backwards published under...

Beyond the Seven Storey Mountain: Noteworthy Biographies & Autobiographies of Mystics


A regular reader of this blog wrote to me and asked if I could recommend a good biography on Hildegard of Bingen. As I thought about what book to recommend, several noteworthy biographies — and autobiographies — of the renowned Christian mystics came to mind. So I figured to write an entire blog post about it, and here we are. Hildegard of Bingen Since the reader asked about Hildegard of Bingen...

Coming in August 2023: the NEW Big Book of Christian Mysticism (Pre-Order Your Copy Today)


Friends, I am thrilled to announce that on August 29, 2023, the new edition of my book on Christian mysticism will be published! The New Big Book of Christian Mysticism is a revised and expanded 2nd edition of the book first published in 2010. I know sometimes when publishers bring out “revised” editions of books, the changes are minimal. That’s not the case with this book — it...

Mystical Literature: Poetry and Fiction


A reader of this blog (and a Patreon member) wrote to me and asked: Hi Carl: Do you have a list of fiction and poetry you recommend for those on the Christian Mystic path? Thanks! A wonderful question, and while I didn’t have a handy list available to email back to him, it inspired me to write this post. It’s a bit of hodgepodge: fiction about the mystics, and poetry by mystics. But...

Books To Read and Savor During Advent and Christmas


A reader of this blog wrote to me last week and asked: I am writing to ask if you have any good recommendations for spiritual reading during Advent. There are some wonderful books to explore for Advent. Some are new, some are classics, some are specifically “Advent-y” and others are simply books I’d like to recommend. So, here goes! We’ll start with the Advent themed books...

Twelve Mystical Anthologies That Belong in Every Contemplative Library


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!


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...

25 Celtic Books (and a CD) for Your Late Summer Reading List


Hello friends! I currently have a course on Celtic spirituality running through Spirituality and Practice (it’s not too late to sign up for it, if you’re interested, click here). We had a zoom call the other day which gave me a chance to interact with participants in the course, and of course during our time together several books were mentioned; people asked to recommend a few books...

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