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 […]

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

Choose a Phrase That Best Captures the Spirit of This Blog

Vote for Your Favorite Tagline(s), or Suggest Your Own Idea

I am in the process of giving this blog a minor update — it will have a new look and some fresh new content beginning in early 2018. For now, I’d like to get your opinion on what the “tag line” for the blog should be. Currently it’s “Silent Today, Love Forever.” I’d like to […]

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.

I’ll be returning to the Charlotte Spirituality Center for another day devoted to prayer and reflection. See you there!

Date: June 10, 2017
Time: 09:00 AM-03:00 PM
Event: Celtic Day of Reflection
Topic: Celtic Spirituality
Sponsor: Charlotte Spirituality Center
Venue: Charlotte Spirituality Center
Location: Charlotte, NC
Public: Public

I’ll be leading a “Contemplative Spirituality Weekend” at 2nd Presbyterian Church, Roanoke, VA. Hope to see you there!

Date: April 28, 2017—April 29, 2017
Event: Contemplative Spirituality Weekend
Topic: Contemplative Prayer
Sponsor: 2nd Presbyterian Church, Roanoke, VA
Venue: 2nd Presbyterian Church
Location: Roanoke, VA
Public: Public

New for 2017: I will be blogging exclusively at Patheos!

Please be sure to visit me there

Dear friends, Happy new year (and here it is February already)! I’m sorry that I have been so inattentive to this blog. I’ve been finishing up the manuscript for my next book, which hopefully will be called The Little Book of Christian Mysticism (after all, since I wrote a Big Book of Christian Mysticism, it only […]

This eight-week class will feature exploration into the lives and teachings of great mystics out of the Jesuit tradition, including St. Ignatius of Loyola, Jean-Pierre de Caussade, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and more! We’ll look at a different Jesuit mystic each week, and focus on how their teachings can be integrated into our lives today.

Date: January 12, 2017—March 2, 2017
Time: 10:00-11:30 a.m.
Event: Finding God in All Things: Spiritual Wisdom from the Jesuit Mystics
Topic: The Jesuit Mystics
Sponsor: Ignatius House
Venue: Ignatius House
404.255.0503
Location: 6700 Riverside Drive NW
Atlanta, GA 30328
Registration: Click here to register.

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

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

I am leading a retreat at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit on the weekend of November 11-13 — my last retreat there for 2016! Our theme will be “Praying in a Busy Life.” Here’s the description of the retreat from the monastery’s website:

Life in the 21st century seems busier than ever! We work longer hours, juggle various personal, family, and professional commitments, and it often seems like there just isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done. This retreat is an invitation to take a deep breath, relax, and be still before the presence of God, acknowledging that God is present even when life seems to get in the way. The conferences will include practical tips on how to deepen your prayer life, even in the midst of all the demands and obligations that life throws your way.

Hope to see you there!

Date: November 11, 2016—November 13, 2016
Event: Retreat at Holy Spirit Monastery: "Praying in a Busy Life"
Topic: Praying in a Busy Life
Sponsor: Monastery of the Holy Spirit
770-760-0959
Venue: Monastery of the Holy Spirit Guesthouse
770-760-0959
Location: Conyers, GA 30094
More Info: Click here for more information.

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

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 […]

The Flicker of the Screen

Is the Biggest Threat to Contemplation Hiding in Our Pockets?

For if there is no dark night of the soul anymore that isn’t lit with the flicker of the screen, then there is no morning of hopefulness either. The above quotation comes from a fascinating, and I believe vitally important, article by Andrew Sullivan, called I Used to Be A Human Being. Originally published in New […]