I am excited to share my review of Befriending Silence by Carl McColman. Carl is a contemplative writer, speaker, retreat leader and spiritual companion. Carl helps individuals — and faith communities — deepen their relationship with God through prayer and silence.
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Carl draws on the teachings of the Christian saints and mystics, applying their wisdom in practical ways to the needs and opportunities of our time. Learn more about Carl at CarlMcColman.
Carl asks a very important question in “Befriending Silence“, “Can the wisdom, the gifts, and the practices of Cistercian spirituality bless and challenge Christians who live outside monastery walls?” The answer to this important question is Yes!
“But to truly know God in stillness, we need to follow Saint Benedict’s advice and listen—not only with our physical ears but with the spiritual ears of our heart.” How do we do this? “Give yourself permission to find some time each day, even if only ten or fifteen minutes, for silence.” When we sit in silence and open to God something magical happens. We begin to hear God.
Formation is an interior process. We are made into something new. “The “something new” is what Saint Paul called the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Carl also mentions, “If we approach the Bible, the Rule, or other great writings with an open heart and an inquiring mind, the Holy Spirit often will use the words on the page to speak directly to our hearts.” Formation is a daily process. It is vital to our growth. We simply need to keep at it. It will take a life time.
“A humble person is down-to-earth, does not put on airs, wastes no time trying to impress anyone but rather goes about his or her business.” As Carl mentions, this business will be serving, pitching in where needed and just carrying on with the daily tasks. A humble person is not interested in having the spotlight focused on him or her.
“……..I would like to suggest that the monastic “diet”—formal prayer, scripture reading, spontaneous/ personal vocal prayer, work-as-prayer, and contemplative (silent prayer)—needs all these elements to be balanced.” This is a very important point. Our prayer life needs balance. Each form of prayer complements the other form. They make us whole.
“Likewise, stability means finding joy in who we are as God’s creations here and now (not just in who we hope to be, someday).” We spend way too much time looking ahead and planning. Enjoy this moment. God is in the now! This is our home.
“Most of the elements of monastic spirituality are adaptable to the lives of people who live “in the world.” Read this book! You will be blessed! And then go back and re read it.
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David Frenette’s book The Path of Centering Prayer reenergized the Centering Prayer tradition with its fresh insights and teachings. Centering Prayer Meditations: Effortless Contemplation to Deepen Your Experience of God is a wonderful companion audio program created to be equally rewarding as a stand-alone guide – gives listeners an immersive resource to learn contemplative prayer, step by step and in the moment. With clarity and compassionate presence, Frenette explains the essential principles of this contemplative practice for both new and seasoned practitioners.
Check out my review of Christian Prayer Methods by Dr. Philip St. Romain. It also works well in group studies too.
Listen to Simply Good News by New Testament scholar and author N. T. Wright. It is based upon his book Simply Good News. You will instantly get into the heart of the idea of ‘good news’ as it was understood by the 1st Century writers of the New Testament. Also works well in group studies.
Prepare to be immersed in the 1st Century A.D. context of the life, work, teachings, and actions of Jesus. Check out Simply Jesus by N. T. Wright.
Discover the Context, Content & Production of the New Testament in The Bible- An Introduction to the New Testament by Scott Metz.
Contemplative Light is a group of Spiritual Directors and writers. They offer a unique style of contemplative coaching based on the teachings and traditions of Christian Mysticism. Sign up for a Free Spiritual Map Session.