Tessa Bielecki’s Recommended Reading for Growing in Intimacy with Christ

In her CD teaching series Wild at Heart: Radical Teachings of the Christian Mystics, former-Carmelite-turned-desert hermit Tessa Bielecki offers a wealth of suggestions of books one can read to deepen a sense of who Christ is. This veritable library for Christian formation includes poetry, art books, lives of saints and mystics, and children's stories. In other words, it's not just a dry selection of commentaries on the Gospels, thank heaven. Indeed, it is such a wonderful list that I took the … [Read more...]

In a monastery bookshop

Today someone  came into the Abbey Store and walked up to me and said, "I need a book with a title like 'The Third Alphabet' or something like that.""Oh, I imagine you mean The Third Spiritual Alphabet by Francisco de Osuna," I said. I explained to the customer that it's not a title we keep in stock, being rather obscure even for our clientele, but I offered to special order it for her.She said she'd have to think about it."If you're interested in Teresa of Avila, it's probably one worth … [Read more...]

Teresa of Avila

Today is the feast day of Teresa of Avila.To honor her, I thought I'd mention a few books that newcomers to her work might find helpful.Teresa's writings fill three large volumes, not to mention her letters which fill up another two books. But for students of the contemplative life, three works are truly essential: her autobiography, and two manuals of instruction in prayer and mystical theology: The Way of Perfection and The Interior Castle. Here are my recommendations for exploring each of … [Read more...]

The Big Book of Christian Mysticism — available for pre-order!

I'm thrilled to announce that my forthcoming book, The Big Book of Christian Mysticism: The Essential Guide to Contemplative Spirituality, is now available for pre-order from Amazon.com.The book won't be published until August 2010 — but why wait? Place your pre-order now by clicking here.And while I cannot say for sure that this is the final cover design — publishers will often change a book's cover, sometimes at the last minute — I can say that I hope this is what the cover will look like … [Read more...]

New Books on Christian-Buddhist Dialogue

Three new books have recently come to my attention, all of which look quite tasty; all of which are concerned with the great conversation between Buddhism and Christianity. I've begun reading the one by Alan Wallace, and so far it's wonderful. I plan on blogging more about these titles as or after I read them, but I thought I'd post them now to recommend them to all of you who share my interest in interreligious dialogue and in the spiritual practice of learning about other faiths as a way of … [Read more...]

Finding the Monk Within

Finding the Monk Within: Great Monastic Values for Today By Edward C. Sellner Mahwah, NJ: HiddenSpring, 2008 Review by Carl McColmanEd Sellner is known primarily for his writing on various aspects of the Celtic Christian spiritual tradition (such as Wisdom of the Celtic Saints). And indeed, one of the most beautifully written chapters in Finding the Monk Within concerns Brigid of Kildare, well known as an Irish saint but also remarkable for being the Abbess of a mixed gender monastery. But in … [Read more...]

Cloister Talks

Cloister Talks: Learning from My Friends the Monks By Jon M. Sweeney Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2009 Review by Carl McColmanMonasteries are archetypal. Even for Protestants who live in a religious milieu that does not include monastic communities, monks and nuns (and their communal way of life) symbolize either strong positive or negative concepts: at worst, they represent religious decadence or hypocrisy, no doubt a lingering after-effect of the hostilities of the reformation era or the … [Read more...]