About

Carl McColman (photo by Z. Jones)
Carl McColman (photo by Z. Jones)

Hi, I’m Carl McColman.

I am a contemplative writer, speaker, retreat leader and spiritual companion. I help individuals — and faith communities — deepen their relationship with God through prayer and silence. I draw on the teachings of the Christian saints and mystics, applying their wisdom in practical ways to the needs and opportunities of our time.

I believe God is Love — and that through Divine Love, each of us is called to embody a joyful life of service and creative expression. I am honored to support people in their adventure of falling ever more deeply with God who calls us to be one with Love.


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Spirituality is about more than just warm feelings or lofty ideas. God’s grace and power can heal and change even the most wounded of lives. I believe this because of the witness of the mystics and the saints — visionary men and women from all generations whose writings, teachings, and practices embody the abundant life in the Spirit — a life marked by love, joy, peace, and other eternal values.

The Big Book of Christian Mysticism
The Big Book of Christian Mysticism

I believe God calls each of us to that abundant life. It’s a life already hidden deep within us — and a key to finding it is the ancient practice of silent, contemplative prayer, based on this core Biblical principle: “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

I draw most of my inspiration out of the Christian tradition, but I try to frame my message in as universal a way as I can. In my work, I strive to be respectful of all Christian denominations and world religious traditions. That’s because I believe God loves everybody and wants the entire world to find the happiness and meaning that comes from a life lived in response to divine love — a contemplative life.

I invite you to subscribe to the “Contemplative Faith Newsletter” (input your email address in the field above) to receive messages when I post new articles — usually two or three times each week. Each post has one over-arching purpose: to support you in your daily adventure of growing closer to God through prayer, contemplation, and silence.

Here are a few of my more popular posts:

If you don’t know about Carl McColman and his work, you should.

— Brian D. McLaren
Author of A Generous Orthodoxy

Here’s a little bit more about me. I am a life-professed Lay Cistercian — a layperson under formal spiritual guidance at a Trappist monastery. Like I said, I am not a monk, but monks are my spiritual teachers and guides. As a Lay Cistercian, I bring the wisdom of the monastery that has been passed down through the centuries, and make it available to the public at large.

Before I entered formation as a Lay Cistercian, I first learned the practice of contemplation with the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation, and received training as a spiritual director from the Institute for Pastoral Studies.

Befriending Silence
Befriending Silence

I’ve written several books. My newest one, Christian Mystics: 108 Seers, Saints and Sages, was published in October 2016. Previous works include Befriending SilenceAnswering the Contemplative Call and The Big Book of Christian Mysticism. In addition to this blog, my writing appears in The Huffington Post, Patheos, and Contemplative Journal.

I work part-time for my parish, where my wife and I co-direct the RCIA program: a faith-formation journey for adults wishing to enter the Catholic Church.

I frequently speak about the spiritual life at retreat centers, churches, and academic institutions. An important part of my ministry is helping individuals and communities reclaim the heritage of Christian contemplative spirituality — by celebrating the lives and teachings of the Christian mystics, the practice of silent prayer, and the revival of ancient practices like lectio divina, the liturgy of the hours, and spiritual accompaniment.

I love to interact with wisdom seekers of all faiths. I find that my faith in Christ is nurtured by a positive engagement with the contemplative teachings of the world’s great wisdom traditions. My interfaith work has included the study of Buddhist meditation, co-leading an interfaith contemplative group in Atlanta for several years, and authoring several books about Celtic and nature-based spirituality.

Carl, Fran, and Rhiannon, March 28, 2011.
Carl, Fran & Rhiannon, March 2011.

I’m married to Fran, an amazing woman who is a photographer and artist. Our wonderful daughter, Rhiannon, passed away in 2014 after a lifelong battle with kidney and liver disease. So now our earthly “family” consists of several very well-pampered cats!


Disclaimer: this is a personal blog and represents my writing, opinions, and ideas. I am not speaking for any organization or party other than myself. The opinions and views expressed here represent my own and not those of any organization with which I am affiliated, including the parish where I am employed and the monastery where I am a Lay Cistercian. In short: whatever happens on this blog is my responsibility and my responsibility alone. Direct all kudos or complaints to me.


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