Dying Alone (with the Angels)


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...

Join Carmen Acevedo Butcher for an Online Program Celebrating the Wisdom of Brother Lawrence


On June 16, 2022 my friend and colleague Carmen Acevedo Butcher PhD is offering a free online program to explore the wisdom of Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, author of The Practice of the Presence of God. Click here to register for this free event. You probably know Carmen Butcher from her luminous translation of The Cloud of Unknowing. Later this year she is releasing her latest book, in...

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


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...

Concerning Contemplative Charismatics and Ecumenical Priests (Answers to Reader Questions)


The same reader asked me both of the following questions, in two separate social media posts. but since they’re from the same person, I’m putting them together in this one post. Questions Concerning Ordained Ministry First, a question in response to Do I Have to be a Member of a Christian Church to be a Mystic? … It’s interesting what you say about seminaries. I’m...

After the Fire: Finding God in Silence and Stillness


Like so many English-speaking Christians, I grew up immersed in the words and rhythms of the King James Version of the Holy Bible. So much of the language and lyricism of that 17th century translation of scripture has become integral parts of our cultural lexicon. Like the smart-aleck who said he refuses to read Shakespeare’s plays because they were filled with clichés, we can sometimes be...

A Meditation on the Fruit of the Spirit (A Patreon Sneak Peek)


A note from Carl: Friends, I am currently writing a manuscript that I am calling Meditations on the Christian Mysteries. I’ve identified fifty-two key themes, wisdom teachings, and mystical principles of the Christian tradition — and each month, I take one of those themes and I wrote a meditation based on it. I’m well over halfway done — in fact, the meditation I’m sharing with you here is #37. I...

Two Essential Questions for the Mystical Journey


I was speaking with a few friends of mine who are spiritual directors recently, and we were talking about the work they do accompanying people who seek to draw closer to God. If you are not familiar with spiritual direction, it is a ministry of interactive care, in which a person supports another in the journey into deeper intimacy with God. A spiritual director does not “direct” in...

Do the Ten Commandments Still Matter?


N.B. Today’s post is a meditation on the Ten Commandments that I wrote for the people who support this blog through Patreon. I’m sharing this particular post with the public because I hope it will spark reflection and dialogue. Eventually every post I share with patrons will eventually be published, but if you’d like to be the first to see much of my new writing, then I hope...

The Cathedral Beyond the Forest (A Dream)


Last night I had this dream: Fran and I were visiting friends who had a beautiful house out in the woods. The house was covered with natural wood paneling that hadn’t been painted, maybe only varnished, so the beauty of the wood was apparent. The house was surrounded on all sides by woods, like my old house north of Monteagle where I lived from 1990 to 1993. I don’t know who lived there, but they...

The Problem with Christianity in a Nutshell


We all know that so many people today prefer to remain spiritually independent, intentional about cultivating their interior life but unencumbered by affiliation to a faith community. In other words: “spiritual but not religious.” We know that this annoys some religious people, while others seem to roll with it. Even though I remain engaged with Christianity-as-religion, I also try to...

Even Your Breath Can Be Your “Sacred Word”


A reader of this blog submitted this question: How explicitly Christian does the prayer word need to be in contemplative prayer (e.g., Centering Prayer)? My quiet-time practice is a hybrid of Lectio Divina with the Liturgy of the Hours. “No problem” with the three discursive steps of Lectio, but when I get to the non-discursive contemplatio, I struggle with monkey brain…...

Carl McColman

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

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