Giving Distractions to God

I'm reading a wonderful book by an Anglican deacon named Una Kroll; it's called Vocation to Resistance: Contemplation and Change. It's about how the contemplative life is, in essence, a life of resistance — choosing an alternative to the noisy, acquisitive, competitive, and violent nature of the world we live in. It's a charming and insightful read.I was thinking about quoting Kroll's insightful discussion of distractions during prayer, but to do her justice it would have to be a rather long q … [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...]

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...]

Quote for the Day

The prophetic voice and the spirit of inner prayer are not two alternative ways of Christian witness: they are inseparable in a healthy Christian life, and history shows that where they are not held together, both decay.— Kenneth Leech, Prayer and Prophecy: The Essential Kenneth Leech … [Read more...]

Water, Wind, Earth & Fire

Water, Wind, Earth & Fire: The Christian Practice of Praying with the Elements By Christine Valters Paintner Notre Dame, IN: Sorin Books, 2010 Review by Carl McColmanIt doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that St. Francis of Assisi's "Canticle of the Creatures" (also known as the "Canticle of the Sun") is a powerful and poetic evocation of God's presence in the elements of nature. But few Christians, in my experience, seem to draw the connection that if the elements are indeed … [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...]


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