Quote for the Day

The cloud of unknowing is that dark and obscure knowledge and love that fills the mind of the contemplative when, void of images and discursive reasoning, it rests silently in God in mystical sleep. The knowledge now suffusing the mind is only that of a faith which, nakedly divorced from any human consideration whatsoever, finds God's truth in His revelation in Christ; and from this knowledge springs a love that touches the very essence of God, bringing yet a higher wisdom. This darkness of … [Read more...]

Is there such a thing as too many books?

I am trying to lose weight. Actually, I'm a good 15-18 pounds lighter than I was in November, when I first resolved to trim up. I'd still like to take another 20 pounds off, so I'm only about halfway to my goal. When people ask me how I've managed to lose the weight I've already taken off, I always shrug and say that I have no particular diet: my basic game plan is "eat less, move more." In other words, I try to be mindful of my portion sizes and I try to keep exercise and physical activity as a … [Read more...]

The meaning and purpose (and types) of prayer

A reader named Steven responded to my Wasting Time with God post by writing, in part: Carl, the terms "prayer," "contemplation," "meditation,"  "non-discursive contemplation," have been used in this conversation. I would very much like to understand how you would distinguish between them. Furthermore, I am trying to come to a deeper appreciation of the meaning and purpose of prayer. Forgive me for not getting too detailed in my response here, for two reasons: 1. it's late, and I want to get to … [Read more...]

Wasting Time with God

Yesterday one of the older monks had to pick up a printing job, and so he needed a ride into town to the print shop. He could have asked a novice or a monastic guest to drive him in, but he chose me. I was delighted at the thought of spending an hour with this monk, whose loving personality and palpable holiness I have admired for a long time. It turned out to be almost two hours — the print shop was further away that I realized. Little did I know how the conversation would go. I'm not sure if h … [Read more...]

A Contemplative Curriculum?

I've written in this blog several times recently about what a contemplative practice group might look like, and hopefully I'll be involved in setting up at least one such group in the near future. But in a conversation with a clergy friend last night, he asked me what it would look like to have a fully-formed curriculum of classes, workshops, retreats, etc., all designed to support individuals and communities in the quest to grow toward deeper intimacy and union with Christ?Wow. What a sweet … [Read more...]

Intercessory Contemplation

This thought came to me yesterday. We Christians understand spirituality and mysticism in communal ways: we are knit into the Body of Christ, our mandate is to love one another, we are to "be Christ" for each other, and so forth. For this reason, intercessory prayer — praying on behalf of others — is an important part of Christian spirituality. Indeed, in Catholicism it is customary to make offerings to the church to have masses said for the intentions of those we love.Meditation and con … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

The important thing in contemplation is not enjoyment, not pleasure, not happiness, not peace, but the transcendent experience of reality and truth in the act of a supreme and liberated spiritual love. The important thing in contemplation is not gratification and rest, but awareness, life, creativity, and freedom. — Thomas Merton, The Inner Experience … [Read more...]


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