Answering the Contemplative Call

Answering the Contemplative Call

I am pleased to announce that my forthcoming book, Answering the Contemplative Call: First Steps on the Mystical Path, has been entered into the Amazon.com database. The book will not be released until January 2013, but you can pre-order your copy by clicking here. Eventually the book will also be available on Kindle and Nook, but if you like a good old fashioned paper-and-ink book, you can pre-order this title now.

Here’s a bit of information about the book:

The mystical path is not some sort of static experience for the select few, says Carl McColman, rather, it is a living tradition, a rich and many-layered dimension of spirituality that is in large measure a quest to find the mysteries at the heart of the universe, paradoxically nestled within the heart of your own soul.

McColman first introduced readers to Christianity’s lost mystical roots in his popular book, The Big Book of Christian Mysticism. Now McColman is back with Answering the Contemplative Call, to show readers how to apply the riches of the mystical tradition to daily living.

This book is organized in three sections:

  • “Recognizing the Call,” Explores how each one of us is called to the mystical life, and what that might look like.
  • “Preparing for the Journey,” shows what we need to do in response to the contemplative call.
  • “Embarking on the Adventure” considers what those first steps on the path might look like.

Along the way McColman quotes from the great mystics of the Christian tradition who have also traveled this path, including Teresa of Avila, Thomas Merton, Evelyn Underhill and more.

In Answering the Contemplative Call, McColman offers a practice that will help readers come to a place meaning and purpose in their lives.


There’s been an interesting conversation on my Facebook page about the cover. Most folks seem to love it, but a few feel a bit uncomfortable with the fact that the image is looking down the stairwell, rather than up. I can understand such a sense of cognitive dissonance — after all, isn’t mysticism all about “ascent”? But even more than ascent, mysticism is about paradox, and I see paradox all over this picture: moving down, but toward the light.

What do you think?

  • Scott Knitter

    It may be looking down the staircase, but from the point of view of someone who has ascended part of it. Interesting image with lots of ways of looking at it.

  • http://N/A Burl Hall

    Regarding your staircase. Spirituality is about the unity of opposites. A stair going upwards is but a matter of perspective. the same with going down. Does a stair go up or down? Yes and no. Can you have a “yes” without a “no?” yet, in transcendence, one sees the ultimate unity of opposites. Fly above the Earth and see the patterns of hills, mountains and seas. Is there a high wave without depth? Is there a male w/o female? Or a within without a without? It’s all a mosiac.

  • http://www.crookedmystic.con TB Pasquale @ crookedmystic.com

    It reminds me of the paradox of the contemplative journey: the necessary falling we have to do, the struggles that lead to transformation of the soul. Similar to that described in Richard Rohr’s book Falling Upward.

    I am looking forward to reading it. My own life in many ways has illuminated God and mystic beauty in the necessary up/down dyad…where my falling (going down) was what facilitated the upward movement to God (trauma and illness have been both my worst enemies and my greatest teachers).

    This paradox is a lifelong struggle, not to just be aware of the winding cyclical nature of up/down, in/out, good/bad–but to accept these paradoxical experiences as teAchers as much as they are wounds. That in bleeding we can be purged and renewed.

    I look forward to reading your new book& hopefully passing it along as a resource to members of my contemplative prayer group and workshop I do in the fall.

    • Carl McColman

      Unfortunately, the book won’t be out in the fall — it’s not due to be published until January. But at least you can tell folks about it! :-)

  • http://alisonleighlilly.com Alison Leigh Lilly

    I just love the cover – in particular the composition! It’s one of the first things I noticed. :) To me, it speaks of deepening illumination – an inspiration that doesn’t lead to high-minded escapism but to a more grounded and intimate connection with the world. Very cool – and evokes nicely the cover of your Big Book of Christian Mysticism, too.

  • https://www.facebook.com/PrayerOfTheHeart Michelle Moore

    As I understand it, mysticism isn’t about rising above the earth, but descending into its bowels, finding light where it is hidden. It’s a lovely picture.

  • Louise

    One of my mentors in the spiritual life describes the call to contemplation as a descent ever deeper into the heart of God, so this image is exactly the way I pictured it.

  • Pingback: Book Review: Answering the Contemplative Call | iCrucified


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