One of my editors recently introduced me to Deacon Chris Anderson, a Catholic author from the other side of the country. Deacon Chris is an English professor, a poet, and a spiritual guide. He has a book coming out later this fall on the spirituality of the Examen, called Light When It Comes: Trusting Joy, Facing Darkness, and Seeing God in Everything. Plus he has this delightful video called “Why We Talk About the Weather.” Watch it; you’ll be glad you did.
Fr. Daniel Horan, OFM, offers an introduction to the life and writings of the Trappist author/contemplative/spiritual guide, Thomas Merton.
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
Here’s the latest trailer for the upcoming movie “In Pursuit of Silence” which will have its North American premiere at the South by Southwest festival in Austin.
One of my fellow Lay Cistercians recently alerted me to the fact that there are a number of videos online produced by the Trappistine nuns of Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey in Iowa. So I’ll be sharing many of them with you in the months to come. Here’s one now: several of the sisters discuss the topic of “monastic practices.” It’s not very long, but filled with wisdom: so enjoy.
Islands like Iona or Lindisfarne are renowned the world over as holy places of Great Britain. But there are other, lesser known, “holy isles” there, and one of them is Caldey Island in Wales, which is home to a Cistercian monastery and has had a monastic presence for over 1000 years.
This lovely 35-minute video provides deeply contemplative footage filmed on Caldey, with narration derived from prayers and meditations from The Book of Silent Prayer. It is both a prayerful and deeply meditative journey into the beauty of nature in this holy place.
The second of a two part series on Byzantine theology by English Orthodox professor Andrew Louth. Here Louth discusses apophatic spirituality, ascetical and mystical theology, and the liturgy.
Part one of a two part series on Byzantine theology by English Orthodox professor Andrew Louth. He’s a delight, and his subject is of interest to anyone concerned with Christian mysticism and contemplation.
The final video of a series filmed at a talk I gave in August 2015. After discussing several topics (mysticism, contemplation, silence, monasticism), I sat down and engaged in a conversation with the audience. We reflected on topics ranging from interfaith dialogue to discerning the presence of God. The thoughtful comments from the folks in this video illustrate the depth and insight that characterize so many contemplative Christians.
The fifth of six videos filmed at a talk I gave last August. Monastic spirituality (specifically Cistercian/Trappist spirituality) has, since Vatican II, become increasingly accessible to those of us who are not monks or nuns. In this video I share some insights into the beauty of monastic spirituality and how anyone can find inspiration from the monastic world to grow in a truly contemplative way.
The fourth of six videos filmed at a talk I gave last August. Thomas Keating says silence is “God’s first language.” It is the heart not only of Christian spirituality, but of mysticism, of contemplative prayer and living, and of any authentic spiritual practice meant to foster a sustained and ever-growing relationship with the Divine Mystery. In this short video I reflect on how silence is always available within us, and brings us to that place of sacred presence.
Deborah Arca, the content editor of Patheos, sat down with me for a Skype interview earlier today. We talked about my new book, Befriending Silence, and how Cistercian spirituality can be a blessings for all people (not just monks or nuns).
The third of six videos filmed at a talk I gave last August. Here I look at contemplation, reflecting on the traditional understanding of this prayer (“a form of wordless prayer… with faith and love”) and how the elements of love, silence, and gazing into the mystery of Christ can be such a nurturing form of prayer for spiritual seekers today.
The second of six videos filmed at a talk I gave last August. Here I look at Karl Rahner’s oft-quoted statement (“the Christian of the future will be a mystic or will not exist”) and reflect on what it means for the Christian community to be called into mystical spirituality in our time.
Here is the first of six videos filmed last August — I’ll be posting the others in the near future. This video is a brief introduction to one of my favorite Christian mystics, Julian of Norwich.