Nine Ways to Foster a Contemplative Church

Christianity Needs to Affirm Silent Prayer at the Congregational Level

Contemplation belongs in the neighborhood church

If you are the pastor of a church or parish, this post is for you. If you are not the pastor but are a member of a congregation, consider sharing this post with your pastor, especially if he or she is interested in silent prayer. Karl Rahner, the renowned 20th century Jesuit theologian, once wrote […]

Religion, or conscious, intimate contact with God, must not only dominate, but must penetrate and permeate all your living. That means you are not only to worship while at work, but your work itself must be worship; you are not to go from play to prayer or from prayer to play, but your play itself must be a form of prayer; you are to sleep, and sleep soundly, but all the while your heart is to be watching; and when you are awake, you are to be wide awake to the God you are adoring with your entire being.

Fr. M. Raymond OCSO
Spiritual Secrets of a Trappist Monk (Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press, 2000), Kindle locations 589-593.

Mystagogy: the Heart of Spiritual Formation

Catechesis as a Template for the Contemplative Life

Mystagogy: The contemplative equivalent of the caterpillar-to-butterfly process

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults — the Catholic process by which adults enter the Church — suggests that there are four stages or steps in the process of Christian initiation. These steps — evangelization, catechesis, initiation, and mystagogy — not only define the journey of general formation in the life of Christ (in other words, “becoming […]

I’m excited to be returning to the Charlotte Spirituality Center for a day of reflection on the encounter with God in light of the Christian mystical tradition. While this event is part of the CSC’s curriculum for their students, it is open to the public (but pre-registration is required). If you’d like to attend, please click here to download the flyer, fill it out and return it with your registration fee to the Center. See you there!

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Date: June 18, 2016
Time: 09:00 a.m.-03:00 p.m.
Event: A Day of Reflection at the Charlotte Spirituality Center
Topic: "The Experience of God in the Christian Mystical Tradition"
Sponsor: Charlotte Spirituality Center
Venue: Charlotte Spirituality Center
Location: Charlotte, NC
Public: Public
More Info: Click here for more information.

To invite me to speak to your community, click here.

Your spiritual life need not be limited to times of prayer, meditation, or worship. It is portable and exists with you every moment of the day. You cannot leave it behind any more than you can leave God behind; you can only choose to remain unconscious of the presence of what is holy.

Coming in the Fall of 2016

A Book to Celebrate the Greatest Christian Mystics

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Friends, I’m so excited to announce my forthcoming book, due in October 2016 from Hampton Roads Publishing Company: Christian Mystics: 108 Seers, Saints and Sages. This book is designed to be a companion volume to The Big Book of Christian Mysticism. While that book explained the “what” and “why” of Christian contemplative spirituality, this book covers the “who” — […]

“We have been given the Holy Spirit”

A Sermon Preached for the Worker Sisters and Brothers of the Holy Spirit Annual Retreat, May 13, 2016

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Jesus returned to Nazareth, the town where he had been brought up. And on the Sabbath day, he went to the synagogue, as was his custom. On this particular day, he was appointed to read, and the passage for the day came from Isaiah — the same passage we heard, just a few minutes ago. […]

It’s official: I’m returning to the Wild Goose Festival this year! I’ll be giving one talk, “A Trappist Monastery in Your Heart: Wisdom of the Cistercians for Daily Life.”

The exact date and time of my presentation is still TBD, but of course it’s just one small part of the wonderful assembly of musicians and storytellers that is the Wild Goose Festival! So happy to be returning — and I hope to see you there!

Date: July 7, 2016—July 10, 2016
Event: "A Trappist Monastery in Your Heart"
Sponsor: The Wild Goose Festival
Location: Hot Springs, NC
Public: Public

A documentary about Carthusian monks in Portugal. The narration is in English and the interviews with the monks are all subtitled. A lovely glimpse into a deeply silent world.

As for you, however, if you do not trust the prophets, and if you suppose both the fire and the men who saw it to be a legend, the Lord Himself shall speak to you, He “who being in the form of God did not count equality with God as an opportunity for gain, but emptied Himself,” the God of compassion who is eager to save man. And the Word Himself now speaks to you plainly, putting to shame your unbelief, yes, I say, the Word of God speaks, having become man, in order such as you may learn from man how it is even possible for man to become a god.

Clement of Alexandria
Exhortation to the Greeks (and other works) (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1919), p. 21-23.

This Silent Blog is Going Silent

(But Only Until Pentecost)

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I hope you have had a wonderful and prayerful Lent, and that your Holy Week is likewise a time for reflection and contemplative waiting. Here’s looking forward to Easter — and the Easter season. May it be filled with joy, warmth, and plenty of “alleluias”! One thing that won’t be part of this Easter season: new […]

What better place to celebrate the spirituality of Julian of Norwich than at a St. Julian’s Church? On May 21 (the week after Julian’s feast day) I’ll lead a day retreat on the theme “God is Our Mother and Other Wisdom Teachings from Julian of Norwich.” Call the Church for more information and/or to register. Cost is $30. Bring your own lunch or order a boxed lunch for an additional $10.

Date: May 21, 2016
Time: 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Event: Julian of Norwich Day Retreat
Topic: Julian of Norwich
Sponsor: St. Julian's Episcopal Church
770-949-9949
Venue: St. Julian's Episcopal Church
770-949-9949
Location: 5400 Stewart Mill Rd
Douglasville, GA 30135
Public: Public

To invite me to speak to your community, click here.

I’m a featured presenter at the 2016 “Super Seminar” sponsored by the International Association of Conference Center Administrators. My topic: Benedictine Spirituality and the Mission of Church Camps and Conference Centers. If you’re a member of IACCA, I hope to see you there.

Date: April 27, 2016
Event: IACCA "Super Seminar"
Sponsor: IACCA
Location: Fruitland Park, FL
Public: Private

To invite me to speak to your community, click here.

In the Christian tradition, everyone is called to be a mystic — that is, to enjoy that direct relationship with God for which every human soul is created. Cor ad cor loquitur: heart must speak to heart in the final most intimate encounter that is nearer to the self than breathing, for the perception, however feeble, by the soul of its Creator must eventually be direct.

Anne Fremantle
The Protestant Mystics (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1964), p. vii.

Do Contemplatives Need the Church?

And while we're at it: does the Church need contemplatives?

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A post on this blog received the following comment yesterday: Having been with the Catholic Church and seminary trained for all my 71 years of life . I am naturally contemplative . But I do now believe practising formal meditation/contemplation is false . Aren’t we missing the point if we try and set time aside […]

I’m so pleased to be heading to Florida April 1-3 to lead a retreat on behalf of the Bishops Institute for Ministry and Leadership, specifically for college students. The retreat has been organized on behalf of the Episcopal campus ministries at the University of Florida, University of North Florida, and Florida State — but students from other campuses are welcome.

Date: April 1, 2016—April 3, 2016
Event: Florida College Student Retreat
Sponsor: The Bishop's Institute for Ministry and Leadership
Venue: Camp Weed
Location: Live Oak, FL 32060
Public: Private
More Info: Click here for more information.

To invite me to speak to your community, click here.