Are you interested in learning the basics of Centering Prayer? If so, come to this  introductory workshop that I will be co-facilitating with Maggie Winfrey, the director of Contemplative Outreach Atlanta.

Centering Prayer is a type of Christian prayer based on the teachings of great mystics like the Desert Mothers and Fathers and the author of The Cloud of Unknowing. It is a wonderful means for entering into silence as a way of prayerfully making yourself available to the presence of God. Grounded in scripture and the teachings of the great saints and mystics, it is a beautiful and meaningful spiritual practice that can be learned in a day — and that yields spiritual fruit over a lifetime.

This introductory workshop is sponsored by Contemplative Outreach Atlanta and takes place at the beautiful Ignatius House Jesuit Retreat Center. Hope to see you there!

Date: May 22, 2019
Time: 09:00 a.m.-03:00 p.m.
Event: Introduction to Centering Prayer Workshop
Sponsor: Contemplative Outreach Atlanta
Venue: Ignatius House Jesuit Retreat Center
Location: 6700 Riverside Drive, NW
Atlanta GA 30328
Public: Public
Registration: Click here to register.
More Info: Click here for more information.

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

This November 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.


Date: November 8, 2018—November 11, 2018
Event: Contemplative Retreat at Holy Cross Monastery in West Park, NY
Topic: Embracing Deep Rest in Turbulent Times
Sponsor: Holy Cross Monastery
Venue: Holy Cross Monastery
Location: 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.

We do not have to create silence; it is there within us. What we have to do is let it emerge and enter into it, to become silence. Silence is the language of the spirit.

Thomas Ryan
Prayer of Heart & Body (Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1995), Kindle location 1248.

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.

One of the oldest meanings in Hebrew for salvation is being freed from a trap. God releases us from the traps we make for our selves when our self-consciousness shuts itself off from the deep mind, and gives us hope.

Maggie Ross
Silence: A User’s Guide, Volume Two: Application (Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2018), Kindle Location 1380.

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.

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 […]

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 […]

Before I can say “God Himself is mine,” I have to let go of everything but God himself. The familiar picture I may have of God is not God himself, and I will have to leave that image behind in the desert. God as he is in himself is wholly Other than I can imagine him, is transcendent Mystery. Likewise, my experience of God, whether in prayer or in my brothers and sisters, is not God himself. And so I will have to let go of my familiar forms of praying and experiencing God as I journey through the desert. I can learn to trust him whom I do not name or experience, trust him because I love him.

Charles Cummings OCSO
Spirituality and the Desert Experience (Denville, NJ: DImension Books, 1978), p. 118.

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.

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.


Seeking Surrender (Notre Dame, IN: Sorin Books, 2015)

Colette Lafia tells the story of a special, seven-year-long letter writing friendship she forged with a Trappist monk of Gethsemani Abbey — and how the monk’s gentle wisdom, deep faith, and encouraging words helped her to trust and embrace life, especially as she moved through the grief of acknowledging that it was not her path to have children. It’s a gentle and warm book that gives insight into the nature of spiritual friendship and how monastic spirituality can be a blessing even to those of us who aren’t monks.