September 9, 2020

St. Augustine said that the human heart is restless until it rests in God. I certainly have a restless heart, and I suspect most people do. But what if the restlessness in our hearts is actually a gift — that helps us to live life fully, grounded in love, compassion and purpose? This is the starting point for my next book, Eternal Heart: The Mystical Path to a Joyful Life, which will published next June by Broadleaf Books. Eternal Heart weaves… Read more

August 28, 2020

What does it mean to live a contemplative life? Especially for those of us who are not called to live in a monastery or some other form of intentional religious community, discerning how contemplative and mystical spirituality can shape, inform and bless our lives may be a challenge. It’s one thing to be interested in mysticism, or contemplation, or the teachings and wisdom of the great mystics. Reading about the mystics and learning all you can about them is all… Read more

August 17, 2020

Forgiveness is a central tenet of Christian faith and practice. But what exactly is it? Is it an emotional process by which people are supposed to overcome hurt feelings — or is it something much deeper, much more radical and revolutionary? At least one person online thinks it’s all about the emotions; I’d like to make the case for something much more powerful and spiritually healing. But first: today’s blog post has a back story. Since I write about Christian… Read more

August 7, 2020

An email came to me today, with this question: Dear Carl, I read your Big Book of Christian Mysticism a few years back, and it was very helpful for me in my understanding of the interrelation between the different “types and sorts” of mysticism. And you yourself have a pretty big inroad into different mystical communities, I know. How have you seen the gospel of redemption go forth into these communities? An interesting question, so let me try to take it apart…. Read more

July 28, 2020

Shortly after concluding my Praying with the Spanish Mystics Retreat, one of the persons who participated sent me this follow-up email: Hello. I have your book Answering the Contemplative Call, which I will be reading shortly. Which other books do you recommend for someone who attends silent retreats? I started reading Thomas Merton’s The Seven Story Mountain — what commentary book would you recommend on Merton? Likewise St Theresa or maybe I should pick a different mystic for starters after Merton? You have… Read more

July 25, 2020

This week I facilitated my second Zoom retreat hosted by the monks of Holy Cross Monastery. Our theme was “Praying with the Spanish Mystics” — this was a follow up to a retreat earlier this year called “Praying with the English Mystics.” This retreat consisted of three conferences, each one exploring the prayer teachings of one of the great mystics of Spain. On the first day, we focused on imaginative prayer and the daily examen as commended by St. Ignatius… Read more

July 23, 2020

If you are interested in Celtic mythology — and curious about how to integrate the ancient wisdom from the Celtic people into your spiritual life today — then The Spirit of the Celtic Gods and Goddesses might be for you. I co-authored this book with a good friend, Kathryn Hinds; the first edition was published in 2005. It’s been out of print for a while, and Kathryn passed away after a brief illness in 2018. I’m sorry she isn’t here to… Read more

July 9, 2020

In these extraordinary times that we find ourselves in, I have been profoundly moved at how meaningful online retreats and courses have become for so many. Everyone knows that Zoom is no substitute for a week at a monastery — but it’s much better than nothing! Here are some online events that will be happening over the next few months. Although they are sponsored by monasteries and retreat houses located in New York, South Carolina, Georgia, California, and other locations,… Read more

June 25, 2020

Ireland is a land shaped by myth, story, and poetry — and her sister countries in the Celtic world, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, and so forth, all share in their affinity to eloquence and incantatory language. Names like William Butler Yeats, Seamus Heaney, Robert Burns, Dylan Thomas, R.S. Thomas (no relation, I believe) and countless others testify to the enduring place of poetry in the hearts and minds of the Celtic peoples. In traditional Gaelic culture, the bard played a central… Read more

June 18, 2020

A reader named Beth writes: Hi Carl, I started reading “The Big Book of Christian Mysticism” and have a question for you… In chapter 1 you make the point of understanding the text from a Christian perspective which makes the distinction between being identical with God vs. communion with God. That subject has always perplexed me. If the spiritual realm is not material it therefore may not comply to matters of separation. How can we understand that statement given that… Read more

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