Advance praise for “Answering the Contemplative Call”

What do Brian D. McLaren, Carmen Acevedo Butcher, Ian Morgan Cron, Kyriacos Markides, Mirabai Starr, Phyllis Tickle, Richard Rohr, and Tilden Edwards (plus some others) have in common?They have all offered praise for my forthcoming book, Answering the Contemplative Call!I'm honored and humbled that these folks, all of whom are among my favorite writers, would be so kind as to read and respond to my book, the follow-up to my 2010 book The Big Book of Christian Mysticism.I've set up a … [Read more...]

Maggie Ross on Scholarship and the Contemplative Life

I am honored, although also humbled, to have been mentioned in the blog of Anglican solitary Maggie Ross, author of a truly wonderful book on the spirituality of priesthood, Pillars of Flame. Ross is taking me to task for recommending Carmen Butcher's translation of The Cloud of Unknowing. Although she is gracious in the tone of her criticism, her overall message is that anyone who seeks to learn from the great contemplatives of the past must be careful in his or her scholarship, or else the … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

What I am and how I am, in temperament and grace, I have received from you, Lord, and it's all you. I offer my self to you, first to praise you and then to help my brothers and sisters and my own self. —Anonymous, The Book of Privy Counsel, Carmen A. Butcher translation … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

When contemplation makes you one with God in spirit, love, and will, you're "above" yourself because you've only reached that state by grace and not by your own efforts. You're also "under" God then, even though contemplative prayer makes you one with God in spirit, no longer two. In this unity, which is the height of contemplation, you can be thought of as godlike, as Scripture says. Still, you're below God because he's naturally eternal and you're not. — The Cloud of Unknowing, Carmen Butcher t … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

If you want to find your soul, look at what you love. That's where your soul lives, just as it lives in your body, giving it life. And that's why if we want to go to heaven spiritually, we don't need to strain our spirits in any direction, up or down or from one side to another. Whenever we love, we're already there. — The Cloud of Unknowing, Carmen Butcher translation … [Read more...]

Lectio Divina and the English Mystics

I've been reading Carmen Butcher's delightful new translation of The Cloud of Unknowing, and today I read chapter 35, which discusses the importance of lectio divina in the contemplative life: The contemplative beginner must, however, engage in certain exercises. These are the lesson, the meditation, and the orison, better known as reading, reflecting, and praying. You can learn about these three activities in another book, where the author explains them better than I can, so I won't go into … [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...]