More endorsements!

Several other folks have praised The Big Book of Christian Mysticism since I published the first round of endorsements on this blog a few days back. Here are the latest kind words: Carl McColman has both studied and practised the Christian mystical tradition, stressing its earthiness and 'ordinariness'. Like Thomas Merton, Michael Ramsey and others, he holds that mysticism is not an esoteric realm, reserved for the very holy, but is what all Christian life is about. I strongly commend this … [Read more...]

Is there such a thing as too many books?

I am trying to lose weight. Actually, I'm a good 15-18 pounds lighter than I was in November, when I first resolved to trim up. I'd still like to take another 20 pounds off, so I'm only about halfway to my goal. When people ask me how I've managed to lose the weight I've already taken off, I always shrug and say that I have no particular diet: my basic game plan is "eat less, move more." In other words, I try to be mindful of my portion sizes and I try to keep exercise and physical activity as a … [Read more...]

A Photo Essay of the Monastery of the Holy Spirit

If you would like to see some photographs from the monastery where I work, including some rare shots from inside the cloister, follow this link:Georgia Monastery Strives to Be Self-SufficientThe occasion for this little photo essay was the groundbreaking at the Monastery on Tuesday, for a new "monastic heritage center" (which will include a new bookstore!). … [Read more...]

The meaning and purpose (and types) of prayer

A reader named Steven responded to my Wasting Time with God post by writing, in part: Carl, the terms "prayer," "contemplation," "meditation,"  "non-discursive contemplation," have been used in this conversation. I would very much like to understand how you would distinguish between them. Furthermore, I am trying to come to a deeper appreciation of the meaning and purpose of prayer. Forgive me for not getting too detailed in my response here, for two reasons: 1. it's late, and I want to get to … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

Those who are perfectly humble lack nothing, physically or spiritually, because God is all abundance. — The Cloud of Unknowing, Carmen Butcher translation … [Read more...]

Wasting Time with God

Yesterday one of the older monks had to pick up a printing job, and so he needed a ride into town to the print shop. He could have asked a novice or a monastic guest to drive him in, but he chose me. I was delighted at the thought of spending an hour with this monk, whose loving personality and palpable holiness I have admired for a long time. It turned out to be almost two hours — the print shop was further away that I realized. Little did I know how the conversation would go. I'm not sure if h … [Read more...]

Visiting my Father on Mother’s Day

Both of Fran's parents, and my mother, have all passed away. So we visited my father on Mother's Day. That in itself is not too remarkable, as we visit dad almost every Sunday. I told Fran more than once that I appreciated her spending Mother's Day — "her" day — going to a nursing home to visit my father. "I love him," was her simple, and completely typical, response.Dad has had Parkinson's disease for well over a decade now, with a variety of other ailments, from some heart issues to a scare w … [Read more...]