As someone whose ministry is focused on Christian contemplation, I do not like to write about politics. There are several reasons for this. One is simple humility: my skill as a writer and speaker is inspirational rather than confrontational, so my gut sense is to leave political writing to those who do it better than I could. But just as important is my deeply-held conviction that Christian contemplation is for everyone, across the political spectrum, and that I would be… Read more

How Should A Christian Respond When a Friend Becomes Interested in Witchcraft and Magic?

As long-standing readers of this blog know, I have not always been a Catholic; I embraced Catholicism in 2004 after a Protestant upbringing and then about a seven-year stint in which I followed a neopagan spiritual path. Indeed, I wrote a number of books about paganism, a fact I discussed in an earlier blog post, You Wrote Books About Paganism? These days, my work as a writer is primarily geared toward Christians, but I do not consider myself hostile to paganism… Read more

How do Contemplatives Share the Gospel with Others?

In my recent book, Christian Mystics: 108 Seers, Saints and Sages, I made a comment that inspired a reader to reach out to me. It involves the question of evangelization, or proclaiming the Gospel. In reading this person’s email, I realized that it points to a larger question: how do contemplatives share the Gospel of Christ with others? Is there a “contemplative” style of evangelization? I believe there is. But first, here’s the letter from my reader. Hi Carl, I’m enjoying… Read more

Can We Measure the Scientific Benefits of Christian Contemplation?

A recent article on the UK-based website Christian Today (not to be confused with Christianity Today) poses the question “Can Science Prove Christian Meditation Works?” (click on the link to read the article). The author notes that spirituality is a “hot topic” these days, and so speculates how Christian forms of meditation stack up against meditation practices from other religious traditions and/or secular forms of meditation. “Buddhist meditation has long had a big advantage over Christian contemplation, because the latter hasn’t been scientifically researched,”… Read more

The Politics of Silence

The other day, I posted this tweet: The Desert Father Abbot Pastor said, "Any trial whatever that comes to you can be conquered by silence."— Carl McColman (@CarlMcColman) July 25, 2017 And a friend of mine posted this reply: Religion aside, I think it's irresponsible to advocate silence in a country where politicians are actively trying to silence & ignore us.— Alison Leigh Lilly (@alileighlilly) July 25, 2017 To which I made this immediate response: We need more than one… Read more

At the Edge of Waiting — A Celtic Approach to Contemplation

The Irish word for contemplation — or contemplative prayer — is rinnfheitheamh. Yes, that’s a mouthful! I only have enough Irish to be dangerous, and the pronunciation of Irish depends on which of several dialects you’re speaking, but to the best of my knowledge the pronunciation is something like RINN-eh-hev. So why such a big word, for such a simple concept? To answer that question, let’s take rinnfheitheamh apart. Rinn means a point or a tip, as in the sharp… Read more

It’s Summertime (On the Road Again!)

Hello friends and readers of A Contemplative Faith. Just a quick note here to let you know that over the next five weeks this blog will be updated less frequently than normal. I’ll be traveling some, leading a few retreats here and there, as well as taking time to finish the book I’m currently working on (on Celtic spirituality) and begin gearing up for the next project (which I will say more about, when I return to regular posting). So between now… Read more

The Heart of Celtic Spirituality is Hospitality

The heart of Celtic spirituality is hospitality. Indeed, from even before the coming of Christianity, the Celts recognized hospitality as a core value of their civilization. The reigns of mythic kings were judged on their hospitality (or lack thereof). Once, when Bres, a warrior of the Fomorian people — the “bad guys” of Celtic myth — became king of the Tuatha Dé Danann, he quickly became renowned for his parsimony. Bards complained that visitors to his house could count on… Read more

Saint Brigid (Part Two)

This is the second of a two-part series on Saint Brigid. Click here to read part one. As the abbess of Kildare, Brigid soon became renowned for her holiness and spiritual leadership. The stories told about her are both charming and illuminating. Perhaps my favorite story about Brigid involves the season of Lent, the 40-day period before Easter when Christians fast in preparation for their high holy days. The story goes that Brigid, and two other nuns from Kildare were… Read more

Sacred Rhythms: How Monastic Spirituality Can Nurture Your Walk with God

Would you like to learn more about the beautiful spirituality of Christian monks and nuns? Read more

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