Category

Contemplation

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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...

How to be a Contemplative in Today’s Political Climate

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I was speaking recently with one of my Patreon supporters (Patreon is a crowdfunding program to support writers, bloggers, musicians, etc. This blog is made possible by the generous people who support it through Patreon). She asked me a blunt question. How do you do it? How do you, as someone who writes about contemplation, respond to the political moment that we find ourselves in? Such an...

Online Event: Contemplative Day of Reflection: Kenneth Leech and Pauli Murray, Contemplative Activists for Our Time (June 25, 2022)

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Join me (Carl McColman) for a special online quiet day of reflection on June 25, 2022. We’ll spend time together in silence, and I’ll share with you some of the wisdom of two of my favorite 20th century theologians: Kenneth Leech and Pauli Murray. Ken Leech (1939-2015) was a priest of the Church of England, a tireless advocate for social justice, and renowned for his work combating homelessness...

Encountering Silence: A Conversation with Sister Joyce Rupp

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The Encountering Silence co-hosts (Cassidy Hall, Kevin Johnson and Carl McColman) recently spoke with Servite Sister Joyce Rupp, on the occasion of the publication of her most recent book, Return to the Root: Reflections on the Inner Life. Joyce Rupp is well known for her work as a writer, international retreat leader, and conference speaker. She is the author of numerous bestselling books...

The Wrath of God and Wishful Thinking (or, Julian of Norwich and Biblical Images of God)

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Recently a reader of this blog wrote the following to me: I am just starting out on this journey and feel drawn to the mystical/contemplative side of Christianity.   To this end, I am using your book “Answering the Contemplative Call” and also “Growing into God” by John Mabry as my guides.   I do not have a spiritual director as yet but am trying to find one near where I live in the UK.    In the...

Divine Union is Embodied: Notes on the Incarnational Nature of Christian Mysticism

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I’ve been working my way through Mystical Theology and Contemporary Spiritual Practice: Renewing the Contemplative Tradition, a book in Routledge’s “Contemporary Theological Explorations in Mysticism” series. There’s a delightful essay in it called “Unlikely Mystics” about the sense of wonder and numinous reality that people encounter when visiting...

Le Point Vierge

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Cynthia Bourgeault’s latest book, just published this year, is a brief statement of her faith; the book is called The Corner of Fourth and Nondual. If you have been exploring contemplative Christian spirituality for any time now, you probably saw the pun in this title with no problem. But if not, no worries! Perhaps this post will shed some light for you. “The Corner” that...

The Contemplative Life in Three Easy Steps

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Origen of Alexandria came up with the idea first. Unless you’re a Christian history geek, chances are you’ve never heard of Origen. He lived in Egypt from about 185 to 253—meaning he was a third-century Christian, who died sixty years before Constantine decriminalized the faith. In other words, he lived long before the desert fathers and mothers, before the rise of Christian...

Carl McColman

Soul Friend and Storyteller. Lay Cistercian, Centering Prayer Presenter, Author, Blogger, Podcaster, Speaker, Teacher, Retreat Leader.

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