Category

Contemplation

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Contemplative Study of Mystical Writings (On-Going Study and Practice Circle)

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Hi friend! You are invited to join with me (Carl McColman) in an on-going project of reading, studying, and praying with some of the great mystical writings in the Christian tradition! I began the Contemplative Study of Mystical Writings program in 2022. The idea is simple: many great mystical writings are challenging and difficult to read. But these books are not meant to be...

The Science of Meditation (and the Relationship between Meditation and Trauma)

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A few years back the Buddhist magazine Lion’s Roar published an interesting article surveying what insights we can glean from the scientific study of meditation. These insights concern questions such as the health and psychological benefits of meditation, the relationship between meditation and compassion, and how meditation might impact our relationships and even our biases. It’s an...

Discover the Three Forms of Contemplation, according to Evelyn Underhill! (Free Online Event: Sign Up Now)

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Hi friends! Join me on Thursday, January 19 for a special Zoom call in which I’ll be sharing Evelyn Underhill’s Three Forms of Contemplation. Click here to register for this free program. If you’re not familiar with Evelyn Underhill, a treat awaits you. She a leading Christian mystic of the early 20th century, and her writings influenced other significant contemplatives and...

Check Out the New Podcast from Contemplative Outreach!

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I am happy (and honored/humbled) to announce that I’ve recently appeared as a guest on the new podcast from Contemplative Outreach! Opening Minds, Opening Hearts is a new initiative from Contemplative Outreach International, hosted by Colleen Thomas and Mark Dannenfelser. Other episodes of the podcast feature wonderful folks like Lerita Coleman Brown and Adam Bucko. Definitely check it out...

Encountering Silence: A Conversation with Dr. Joy Schroeder, co-author of “Voices Long Silenced”

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It’s time for another episode from the Encountering Silence podcast! In this episode, Dr. Joy A. Schroeder, a Lutheran pastor, joins Cassidy, Kevin and me to explore the shadow side of silence — in this case, the silencing of many significants voices in the Christian tradition, of women Bible interpreters. Dr. Schroeder is a specialist in the history of biblical interpretation. She is...

The Mystical Imagination: Quotations for Reflection and Meditation

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One of my favorite topics to explore when leading a retreat is “The Mystical Imagination.” I often pair it with Centering Prayer, exploring how the silence of Centering Prayer naturally complements the inner imagery of prayer anchored in the imagination. When I lead such retreats, I often will share a variety of quotations with the retreatants to make the case for why the imagination...

Centering Prayer and the Mystical Imagination: Complementary Approaches to Intimacy with God

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On Saturday, October 29, 2022, I will be leading an online day of reflection on Centering Prayer and the Mystical Imagination. If you’d like to explore how to integrate silent prayer with imaginative prayer, this program may be for you. To learn more and to register, please click here: Centering Prayer and the Mystical Imagination. A few years ago, a popular contemporary Christian rock band...

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...

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...

Memento Mori: The Contemplation of Death and the Wonder of Life

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Twice this week I have learned of the death of an acquaintance. I hesitate to say “friend” because neither of these people were friends in a close sense: one of them I hadn’t seen or been in contact with in almost four years, the other not since the mid-1990s. But they were both men I liked, and both I knew through church. One was a Jesuit priest at my parish from 2017-2018, the...

Some Christians Attack Centering Prayer and Contemplation. They are Motivated by Bad Theology.

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A reader of this blog sent me the following question today. Hi Carl, I see from conservative Christian circles that WCCM and Centering prayer is labelled new age and dangerous. Are these practices Christian really?  Or are we trying to incorporate eastern meditation into Christianity ? First, the short answer. Contemplative practices like Centering Prayer and Christian meditation are rooted in...

Seven Ways to Read a Mystical Book

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Reading the writings of the great mystics — of figures like St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa of Ávila, Meister Eckhart, Julian of Norwich, or even modern writers like Pierre Teilhard de Chardin or Bernadette Roberts — is not always easy. Many mystics use dense or figurative or poetic language in their attempts to express the inexpressible. Others rely on highly technical philosophical or...

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