Contemplating the Trinity

Silence. Embodiment. Breath.

The heart of Christian spirituality is the Mystery of the Holy Trinity. This is the ancient wisdom teaching that God is one God, in three persons: Father/Creator, Son/Redeemer, and Spirit/Sanctifier. We call ourselves “Christians” because we follow the 2nd Person of the Trinity: Jesus, the Christ. But it would be just as accurate — some […]

In the Beginning Was the Tao…

The Mystery of God Frees Us From Our Cultural Blind Spots

Ken Leong, the author of The Zen Teachings of Jesus, posted this on Facebook the other day: I was having a conversation with a group of American Christians. I told them that in the Chinese version of John’s Gospel, the WORD was translated into “Tao.” They asked me for the definition of the Tao. I replied […]

Mepkin Abbey

I’m so excited to be leading a retreat at Mepkin Abbey, the Trappist Monastery in South Carolina. This will be the first retreat I’ve led at Mepkin, and our topic will be one of my favorites: the Spirituality of Celtic Christianity. If you’re not familiar with Mepkin, it is a small but vibrant community of monks, with beautiful liturgy and a gorgeous setting, north of Charleston (you can see the city skyline from the riverbank). Mepkin has a small guesthouse and this retreat will likely fill up quickly, so if you’re interested, register now.

Date: March 16, 2018—March 18, 2018
Event: Celtic Spirituality Retreat at Mepkin Abbey
Topic: Celtic Spirituality
Sponsor: Mepkin Abbey
Venue: Mepkin Abbey
(843) 761-8509
Location: 1098 Mepkin Abbey Rd.
Monck's Corner, SC 29461
Public: Public
Registration: Click here to register.
More Info: Click here for more information.

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

Holy Cross Monastery Church

Holy Cross Monastery in West Park, NY is rapidly becoming one of my favorite places to lead (or make) a retreat. I’m so happy to be returning to Holy Cross this April to direct a retreat built around the theme of pilgrimage, drawing on the wisdom of the ancient Celts, Teresa of Ávila, and C. S. Lewis. Come explore your journey of faith with me — and the Benedictine monks of Holy Cross Monastery!

Date: April 17, 2018—April 20, 2018
Event: Mapping Your Journey of Faith: Guidance from C. S. Lewis, Teresa of Avila, and the ancient Celts
Topic: Mapping Your Journey of Faith
Venue: Holy Cross Monastery
Location: 1615 Route 9W (or Broadway)
West Park, NY 12493
Public: Public
Registration: Click here to register.
More Info: Click here for more information.

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

Poetry arises from contemplation and silence. T. S. Eliot says that poets are alone and often prone to suffering brought about by their super sensitivity. Poets see beyond themselves, but are aware of their own inner life and experience, and so empathize and generalize from it.

Peter Slattery
The Springs of Carmel (New York: Alba House, 1991), p. 72.

Seven Tips for Getting Started With the Divine Office

Incorporating Fixed-Hour Prayer into Your Daily Life

What does it take to get started with a daily practice of praying the Liturgy of the Hours? A reader of this blog asks the following question: I have an established practice of Lectio Divina and Centering Prayer in the early morning and Examen and Centering Prayer in the late afternoon. I’m captivated with praying […]

Contemplation is essentially an act of faith, hope, and love. It is not, therefore, the end result of a discursive activity of the intelligence, it is not the reward of learning acquired through study, and it does not result in an increase of speculative knowledge. It tends to foster love under the forms love takes on while awaiting celestial beatitude… To desire Heaven is to want God and to love Him with a love the monks sometimes call impatient. The greater desire becomes, the more the soul rests in God. Possession increases in the same proportion as desire.

Dom Jean Leclercq OSB
The Love of Learning and the Desire for God (New York: Fordham University Press, 1961), p. 85.

Join me at White’s Chapel United Methodist Church in Southlake, TX on January 19 and 20 where I will be giving a talk on Friday night and leading a day retreat on Saturday. Our theme is “Embracing Deep Rest in Turbulent Times.” We’ll be reflecting on how contemplative spirituality is a way to receive the peace and deep rest which Jesus himself promises to us.

Date: January 19, 2018—January 20, 2018
Event: "Embracing Deep Rest in Turbulent Times" — SPELL Symposium in Southlake, TX
Topic: Embracing Deep Rest in Turbulent Times
Sponsor: White's Chapel United Methodist Church
Venue: White's Chapel United Methodist Church
Location: 185 S White Chapel Boulevard
Southlake, TX 76092
Registration: Click here to register.
More Info: Click here for more information.

To invite Carl McColman to speak to your community, click here.

When we trust God more, we can afford to relax our self-centered worried efforts to take care of ourselves. In the same movement, we trust our own preconscious feelings and intuitions more. It becomes easier to see the good side of things. They are more available to us, anyway, once we have learned (by meditation or in some other way) to empty the mind and senses of surface strivings and noisy trivia. We have “sold” what usually fragments our attention and divides our energy, so that we can “buy” the beckoning field where our real treasure is to be found.

Carolyn Gratton
The Art of Spiritual Guidance (New York: Crossroad, 1992), p. 105

The Future of This Blog

Where I hope to take it in 2018

Hello friends! I hope 2017 has been good to you. This year I’ve survived two tropical storms (an unnamed one when we were vacationing in Florida in June, and then the remnants of Hurricane Irma when it blew through Atlanta a few weeks ago), did some nifty traveling (check out the pictures from our trip […]

God does not offer himself to our finite beings as a thing all complete and ready to be embraced. For us he is eternal discovery and eternal growth. The more we think we understand him, the more he reveals himself as otherwise. The more we think we hold him, the further he withdraws, drawing us into the depths of himself.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
The Divine Milieu (New York: HarperCollins, 2001), p. 114.

Has it ever occurred to you that Jesus, the master in the art of prayer, would take the trouble to walk up a hill in order to pray? Like all great contemplatives he was aware that the place in which we pray has an influence on the quality of our prayer.

Anthony de Mello S.J.
Sadhana (New York: Image Books, 1978), p. 68

Notice how sharp is the hearing and the sense of touch of a blind man. He has lost his faculty of seeing and this has forced him to develop his other faculties of perception. Something similar happens in the mystical world. If we could go mentally blind, so to speak, if we could put a bandage over our mind while we are communicating with God, we would be forced to develop some other faculty for communicating with him—that faculty which, according to a number of mystics, is already straining to move out to him anyway if it were given a chance to develop: the Heart.

Anthony de Mello S.J.
Sadhana: A Way to God (New York: Image Books, 1978), pp. 30-31.

Instructions on Prayer from a Trappist Monk

Brother Elias Offers Wisdom on Silence, Compassion, and Inner Transformation

“I’m speechless,” remarked Brother Elias Marechal, OCSO, after a congregation of several hundred young evangelicals vigorously applauded his visit to their worship service last month. But then he quipped, “We don’t talk in the monastery much.” Grace Fellowship in Athens, GA (home of the University of Georgia) recently invited this deeply contemplative Trappist monk to come and speak […]