I’m pleased to announce that September 15-17, 2017 I will be returning to Holy Cross Monastery in West Park NY, where I’ll be leading a retreat called “Embracing Deep Rest in Turbulent Times.” Here’s the description from the Holy Cross Monastery website:

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” (John 14:27). These words from Jesus represent a profound promise — and speak to a need in the human heart which has never been greater. Everyone knows that these are challenging times; how do we live in the peace and courage that Jesus promises us? This retreat, which blends restful silence with nurturing reflections on themes such as rest, serenity, and courage, is designed to celebrate the peace that comes from God: a peace that provides lasting rest, but which also impels us to make our world a better place.

To register for this retreat, or for more information, please call Holy Cross Monastery at 845-384-6660.

The fee for this weekend retreat (includes programming, lodging for two nights, and six meals) is $375 per person. An $80 deposit reserves your space.

Date: September 15, 2017—September 17, 2017
Event: Contemplative Retreat at Holy Cross Monastery in West Park, NY
Topic: Embracing Deep Rest in Turbulent Times
Sponsor: Holy Cross Monastery
845-384-6660
Venue: Holy Cross Monastery
845-384-6660
Location: West Park, NY
USA
Public: Public
More Info: Click here for more information.

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

I’m returning to one of my favorite Retreat Centers — The Rock Hill Oratory in South Carolina, near Charlotte NC — to lead a retreat from Sunday, June 11 through Wednesday, June 14. Our theme will be “Praying with the Saints and Mystics.” It will be a time for silence and reflection at one of the loveliest/most peaceful sites in the southeast.

One of life’s most important questions is simply this: “How can I draw closer to God?” Traditionally this means learning how to pray. Christian tradition is blessed by a history filled with advice and instruction on how to draw closer to God. We will explore different approaches to Christian prayer, grounded in the wisdom of the saints and mystics, and presented in a practical, down to earth way. We will pray together, learn together, spend time in silence, and hopefully have some fun as well.

To learn more about this retreat or to register, click here.

Date: June 11, 2017—June 14, 2017
Event: "Visions of Faith" Retreat in Rock Hill, SC: Praying with the Saints and Mystics
Topic: Praying with the Saints and Mystics
Sponsor: The Rock Hill Oratory
803-327-2097
Venue: The Rock Hill Oratory
803-327-2097
Location: 434 Charlotte Avenue
Rock Hill, SC 29730
Public: Public
Registration: Click here to register.
More Info: Click here for more information.

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

Why I Wrote a Book About Christian Mystics

Or, What Trent Reznor and John O'Donohue Have in Common

When Peter Gabriel came to Atlanta in 2003, my wife Fran and I were able to get tickets to the concert through a friend who works in the music business. Not only did we have the best seats in the house (right behind and above the soundboard), but we were seated next to a row […]

Take the biblical phrase: “God is love” (1 John 4:18). Repeat it again and again in your heart. As you do so, savor it, relish it and you will find that it is sweet as honey in your mouth. “God is love … God is love … God is love.” Repeat it at your own pace and rhythm. After some time you may wish to stop repeating it and be silent, without words and without thought. This is a rich silence, a sacred silence, a precious silence, a mystical silence. This is indeed the threshold of mystical prayer. So treasure that silence lovingly until after some time (perhaps after one minute or perhaps after ten minutes) you get all distracted, and then you return to your biblical words: “God is love … God is love … God is love.”

William Johnston
Being in Love (London: HarperCollins, 1988), p. 15.

Reviving an old page from my first blog

Warning: If you love spiritual books, this could be hazardous to your wallet...

Reading books about the spiritual life can be a substitute for actually devoting time each day to prayer. So if you have to choose between prayer and reading, make prayer your priority. Nevertheless, one of the best ways to nurture an ongoing prayer practice is to devote some time each day to reading nurturing and […]

Contemplation and Peace

A Few Thoughts for Our Troubled Times

A Facebook friend shared with me that she has been “thinking about contemplative prayer as a resource for peacemaking or for community building.” Especially given the horrors in Orlando this past weekend, perhaps this is something we all need to be thinking about. Is contemplative prayer a meaningful tool for fostering reconciliation? Can it foster peace […]

What is Contemplation?

It's Hard to Put a Wordless Spiritual Practice Into Words

What is contemplation? Unfortunately, answering this question is tricky — for contemplation is like some other words in the English language, such as love or success or happiness.  In other words, different people use it to mean different things. Recently a reader named Daniel sent me this message: I’ve been gradually learning about contemplative spirituality for a couple of years now.  Throughout this […]

Charismatic Mysticism

What is the Relationship Between Gifts of the Holy Spirit and Contemplative Prayer?

“Do Gifts of the Spirit, especially those like tongues, have any connection with mysticism? Historically, theologically, experientially, in connection with the Divine… If so, in what way, and if not, why not?” A few months back, I asked folks on Facebook if they had any questions they would like me to address on my blog. Here is […]

Coming in the Fall of 2016

A Book to Celebrate the Greatest Christian Mystics

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” — […]

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.

Is There a “Contemplative” Personality Type?

Introverts, Extroverts, and the Prayer of Silence

I once heard Richard Rohr tell a charming story of giving a retreat at the Abbey of Gethsemani, where Thomas Merton lived. Rohr was surprised to find that not all the monks particularly cared for Merton. When he asked about this, one of the brothers said, “Merton told us we weren’t contemplatives, we were just introverts!” It’s […]

In October 2012 Rowan Williamson, then the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, addressed the Catholic Synod of Bishops in Rome at the invitation of Pope Benedict XVI. It was an historic occasion, as this was the first time an Anglican Archbishop had addressed the Catholic Synod. If it were up to me, this talk would be circulated far and wide, read by all Christians and studied in all seminaries. I think this talk is so important because it addresses the centrality of contemplation in the life of Christian discipleship today. Here’s an example of the wisdom found here:

Contemplation is very far from being just one kind of thing that Christians do: it is the key to prayer, liturgy, art and ethics, the key to the essence of a renewed humanity that is capable of seeing the world and other subjects in the world with freedom – freedom from self-oriented, acquisitive habits and the distorted understanding that comes from them. To put it boldly, contemplation is the only ultimate answer to the unreal and insane world that our financial systems and our advertising culture and our chaotic and unexamined emotions encourage us to inhabit. To learn contemplative practice is to learn what we need so as to live truthfully and honestly and lovingly. It is a deeply revolutionary matter.

To read about the address, including a complete transcript of the entire address, follow this link: www.rowanwilliams.archbishopofcanterbury.org/articles.php/2645/archbishops-address-to-the-synod-of-bishops-in-rome

Seven Blessings of Silent Prayer

Why Contemplation Matters — For All People of Faith

Silent prayer — contemplative prayer, what the Catholic Catechism calls “wordless prayer in which mind and heart focus on God’s greatness and goodness in affective, loving adoration” — is an important element of a mature Christian spirituality. The Bible instructs us to “be still and know… God” (Psalm 46:10), and even promises us that “silence […]

“The Process of Being in Relationship with God”

Some Notes from an Old Class on Prayer

Okay: to summarize… Spirituality: the process of being in relationship with God. Belief and Wonder: the mental and emotional qualities of being open to the possibility of Divine presence in our lives. Culture, Ikons, Teachings/Tradition/Scripture: the stuff in our lives that carry the news of God to us; the evidence we have of God’s presence […]

Is Contemplation Dangerous?

If a tool is powerful, handle it with respect

Is contemplation dangerous? Some people think so. This past weekend I read a book that has given me some food for thought on this subject. The Buddha Pill: Can Meditation Change You? is by Miguel Farias and Catherine Wikholm, two psychologists in England who study the idea that practices like yoga or mindfulness meditation have observable health benefits. They […]