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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I just finished Sacred Compass by J. Brent Bill and Christian Meditation: Experiencing the Presence of God by James Finley. I am currently reading The Soul of a Pilgrim: Eight Practices for the Journey Within by Christine Valters Paintner.
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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.
I use a Prayer Rope after each Centering Prayer Sit.
Centering Prayer is a silent prayer practice that can move you toward a profound relationship with the Spirit of God within. It is a way of praying that opens the door to the Divine Indwelling—the ground of our being. With Centering Prayer, Father Thomas Keating and his colleagues Gail Fitzpatrick-Hopler and Father Carl Arico present the first online course in this method for deepening your intimacy with God and ultimately consenting to the presence and action of the Divine in all aspects of your life.
The early Christians, teaches the Reverend Cynthia Bourgeault, were afire with the spirit of Jesus, inspired fully by his teaching of a total transformation of consciousness. How do we reclaim that fire today? On Encountering the Wisdom Jesus, this brilliant author and dynamic Episcopalian priest presents her first full-length audio course about rediscovering the Master of Wisdom. Twelve immersive sessions cover: the parables as wisdom tools; Jesus’s teachings about kenosis (or self-emptying: a path as radical today as it was 2,000 years ago); Jesus as tantric master; Centering Prayer, an approach to meditation as Jesus lived it, and much more. (Based upon her book, The Wisdom Jesus.)
Since the time of the Desert Fathers in the third century, Finley begins, Christian mystics have practiced meditation as a way of opening to the direct presence of God in daily life. Legendary seekers such as Saint John of the Cross, Saint Teresa of Avila, and Meister Eckhart explored how meditation can lead us beyond the closed horizon of the ego, to an interior and holy refuge that is always available to us. On Christian Meditation, James Finley offers a gentle introduction to this all-transforming way of life, and the ever-deepening realization of oneness with Christ it leads us to. (Based upon his book, Christian Meditation.)
Check out my review of Christian Prayer Methods by Dr. Philip St. Romain.
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. Enjoy an article I wrote about one of the lectures on the Beatitudes.
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 Spiritual Map Session.