Four Dimensions of Christian Spirituality for Our Time

About a month ago I wrote this: I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about how my spiritual identity is shaped by the contemplative tradition (as exemplified by the Lay-Cistercian community where I am in formation), my Celtic heritage (of which I have written several books and which continues to inform much of my self-understanding as a Christian), my love for mysticism (primarily Christian mysticism, but extending into all the wisdom streams of the world) and the emergent conversation ( … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

Broadly speaking, then, we can say that there are three kinds of contemplation: one is philosophical and its peak-point is a metaphysical experience of being; the second has for its object Christian dogmas the inner meaning of which it savors with the light of faith; the third is a high form of union with God, conferred gratuitously upon His intimate friends. A consideration of these three kinds of contemplation helps us to understand the traditional relationship between reason, dogma, and … [Read more...]

The Naked Now

The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See By Richard Rohr New York: Crossroad, 2009 Review by Carl McColmanMany of the finest studies of Christian mysticism are just that: studies. While authors as renowned as William Ralph Inge, Cuthbert Butler, Evelyn Underhill, Louis Bouyer, John Macquarrie, Bernard McGinn and Robert Davis Hughes have made splendid contributions to our knowledge and understanding of contemplative and mystical spirituality, their erudite and scholarly works are, … [Read more...]

Advice for a Beginner

A reader posted these questions to my blog this morning: As a novice to Contemplative Prayer I guess I should take the introduction pace . Any suggestions ? Also, Carl, do you consider Henri Nouwen a mystic? I'll answer your second question first. I certainly have the sense of Henri Nouwen as a contemplative, based on what I know of him and his work. As you may have surmised if you've poked around this blog very much, though, I tend to be reticent about applying the word "mystic" to people … [Read more...]

More Thoughts for a Small Contemplative Community

First of all, I'm really pleased at all the wonderful ideas and expressions of support for the idea I blogged about yesterday. I don't think I have it in me to start a network of contemplative groups throughout metro Atlanta, though! Besides, Contemplative Outreach has already done that. I'd rather start small and see where the Spirit takes us from there.Here's just another thought or two that came to me yesterday, after I made the initial post.While I'm really interested in having a group … [Read more...]

Thirty-Three Years

Thirty-three years ago yesterday I had a profound experience of God's presence in the midst of a Eucharist. I won't go into all the details of that life-changing evening here; if you have The Aspiring Mystic, you can read all about it in chapter one; otherwise, you can find it elsewhere on my website by following this link: A Contemporary Mystical Experience?As I strive to finish editing my book, I've thought a lot about that evening over the past few days. I was only 16 then; I'm 49 now, so … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

Contemplation is life itself, fully awake, fully active, fully aware that it is alive. It is spiritual wonder. It is spontaneous awe at the sacredness of life, of being. It is gratitude for life, for awareness, and for being. … Contemplation is also the response to a call: a call from Him Who has no voice, and yet Who speaks in everything that is, and Who, most of all, speaks in the depths of our own being; for we ourselves are words of His. But we are words that are meant to respond to Him, to a … [Read more...]


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