Spirituality

How do I choose a contemplative lay order? And do I have to be Catholic to do so?

A reader recently wrote to me: Dear Carl, I grew up as a Protestant, but as I’ve journeyed into Contemplative Christianity over the last while I’ve become more amenable to Roman Catholicism. I have been wondering about lay orders and how to connect with the contemplative tradition through a lay order. I was wondering if you …

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The Prayer of Recollection: A Classic Mystical Practice as Taught by Evelyn Underhill

Contemplative spirituality has its own jargon, and this “language of prayer” evolves over time. Nowadays you’ll find students of the mystical path speaking about meditation, nonduality, mindfulness and heightened consciousness, whereas a century ago you’d be more likely to encounter terminology like mental prayer, unitive life, recollection and rapture. Sometimes words themselves evolve in how …

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Balancing Faith in the Word with a Scholarly Understanding of the Bible

Sometimes, people grow up in conservative churches where the Bible is often read in a very literal or fundamentalist way. Such persons might go on to study at a college or university where they are exposed to a more scholarly, historical-critical way of reading the Bible. This usually feels more informed and honest than the …

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Two New Podcasts, One Existing Podcast, and a Youtube Channel for You to Explore

Dear friends, I’m excited to announce that I have launched two new podcasts. Each one will be oriented toward exploring mystical spirituality — one in a more “learning about” sense, and the other in a more direct, “practice/exercise” sense. Both of these new podcasts are now available on Apple Podcasts, and will be available on …

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Need Help? Ask the Angels

Today, September 29, is the Feast Day for the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. It’s traditionally known as “Michaelmas” and in the Episcopal Church it’s called the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels. So for today I thought I’d write a bit about the angels, and how they can impact our lives, both spiritually …

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In Defense of Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a central tenet of Christian faith and practice. But what exactly is it? Is it an emotional process by which people are supposed to overcome hurt feelings — or is it something much deeper, much more radical and revolutionary? At least one person online thinks it’s all about the emotions; I’d like to …

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Questions After a Retreat: What Books to Read, What Steps to Take Next

Shortly after concluding my Praying with the Spanish Mystics Retreat, one of the persons who participated sent me this follow-up email: Hello. I have your book Answering the Contemplative Call, which I will be reading shortly. Which other books do you recommend for someone who attends silent retreats? I started reading Thomas Merton’s The Seven Story Mountain — …

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