Go Deeper On Your Spiritual Journey

Books on Christian Mysticism, Celtic Wisdom, and More

NEW FOR 2019: Now available! An Invitation to Celtic Wisdom draws on myth, folklore, poetry, and the tales of Celtic saints and heroes, to explore the spiritual tradition of the Celtic peoples — a tradition rooted in hospitality, love of nature, and a mystical sense of the presence of God. The Celtic way is more important […]

Andō: Silence in the Forest, Part 1 (Episode 47)

“All words begin as silence,” proclaims Andō on her Patreon page.  Indeed, those five words provide an auspicious introduction to this enigmatic yet joyful contemplative Zen poet. As a lay monastic, Andō has spent many years living a monastic life in the forest. In her own words, “Spending five years living quietly in the forest, … Continue reading Andō: Silence in the Forest, Part 1 (Episode 47) → … Read more at Encountering Silence

Twelve Contemplative Books for Spiritual Transformation

A reader named Andrew wrote to me and asked this question: What do you think the key books are in the Christian tradition on spiritual transformation? How about a top ten? Another reason for asking is that church leaders might find the story interesting as the main goal, or one…… Read more at Patheos

“I feel called to a life of solitude. What should I do?”

A reader named Thomas wrote to me: Dear Sir; Blessings.  Where can a person go to be a hermit.  I am called to a life of solitude.  But I don’t know where to go.  Do you have any ideas? Dear Thomas, Thanks for writing. Feeling called to a life of…… Read more at Patheos

The Contemplative Life in Three Easy Steps

Origen of Alexandria came up with the idea first. Unless you’re a Christian history geek, chances are you’ve never heard of Origen. He lived in Egypt from about 185 to 253—meaning he was a third-century Christian, who died sixty years before Constantine decriminalized the faith. In other words, he lived…… Read more at Patheos

Richard Rohr in Conversation with Cassidy Hall (Episode 46)

Richard Rohr sat down with Cassidy Hall in Chicago last month, at the conference “‘Disappear from View’? Thomas Merton, Fifty Years Later and Beyond” which commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of Merton’s death. If I had to choose between music and silence, I’d always choose silence. — Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM In this informal chat, Fr. Richard … Continue reading Richard Rohr in Conversation with Cassidy Hall (Episode 46) → … Read more at Encountering Silence

After the Silence, or, the Long Process of Forming a Contemplative Life

So you’ve been to a centering prayer workshop or two, and now you participate in a weekly centering prayer group. You are committed to praying silently twice a day — at least most days. You go on retreat at a monastery or retreat center once or twice a year, and…… Read more at Patheos

Silence is Not a Vow (Not Even for Monks)

“There are times when good words are to be left unsaid out of esteem for silence.” — Saint Benedict A common misunderstanding of Trappist monks and nuns is the erroneous belief that they make a “vow of silence.” In fact, no such vow has ever been part of Christian monastic life,…… Read more at Patheos

Auld Lang Silence (Episode 45)

For our final episode of 2018 — the first full year of our podcast, which debuted on December 6, 2017 — the three co-hosts of Encountering Silence sat down for a brief chat in which we reflected on the year just past, and shared some hopes for the podcast in the year to come. This … Continue reading Auld Lang Silence (Episode 45) → … Read more at Encountering Silence

The Privilege of Silence

Back in 2003, I spent a day at a relatively new monastery near Sligo, Ireland. Like many small religious foundations just getting off the ground, it was struggling, although the members of the community were filled with optimism and a sense of purpose about their shared mission. I plied one…… Read more at Patheos

Silence and Words are Like Yin and Yang: a Contemplative Spirituality Needs Both

How does language help us — or hinder us — as we try to express our understanding of God — probably the most inexpressible subject imaginable? We adults can really get lost in our God-talk (the word “theology”? All it means is “God-talk”). I love to talk to children about…… Read more at Patheos

Planting the Seed and Watching it Grow

I grew up in the suburbs, and gardening was not something my family devoted much time to. So when I got into elementary school and we had a class project of planting something — I think it was a bean or some other vegetable — I became fascinated with the…… Read more at Patheos

Br. Paul Quenon, OCSO: Silence in Chicago (Episode 44)

We are so pleased to welcome Trappist monk and poet Br. Paul Quenon, OCSO, back to Encountering Silence. A while back, Cassidy Hall interviewed brother Paul at his home, Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky (you can listen to that episode by clicking here). She ran into Br. Paul again recently while visiting Catholic Theological Union in … Continue reading Br. Paul Quenon, OCSO: Silence in Chicago (Episode 44) → … Read more at Encountering Silence

Is Contemplation Boring?

“This article is boring.” I don’t know of any writer who wants to get this type of feedback from a reader. It certainly isn’t the kind of comment that makes my day. But when someone made such a declaration on an article I wrote, it caught my attention — precisely…… Read more at Patheos

Mysticism, Contemplation, and Celtic Spirituality: A Guide to Books by Yours Truly

Every now and then I get an email or an in-person comment from someone who will tell me that I love my blog but they had no idea that I have also written some books. I suppose that is an indictment on my lack of talent when it comes to…… Read more at Patheos

Jacqueline Bussie: Silence and Love without Limits (Episode 43)

Sometimes we do not encounter silence so much as silence encounters us — whether we want it to or not. Today we have a conversation with Dr. Jacqueline Bussie, author of Love Without Limits: Jesus’ Radical Vision for Love with No Exceptions. Dr. Bussie teaches religion, theology, and interfaith studies classes at Concordia College in … Continue reading Jacqueline Bussie: Silence and Love without Limits (Episode 43) → … Read more at Encountering Silence