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 am currently taking on clients for Centering Prayer One on One Coaching sessions. I am happy to setup weekly, bi-weekly or monthly sessions with you over the phone or skype to help you go deeper into your centering prayer practice and integrate it into your daily life. Contact me for more information. The first session is 1/2 off.
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Our friends at Contemplative Light are offering Contemplative Practices. This course examines in-depth traditional practices of the Christian mystics, including: The Examen, Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina, The Jesus Prayer and Christian Meditation.
Contemplative Perspectives: Frameworks for the Divine: With the historic practice of The Jesus Prayer as a jumping off point, we explore the experiential aspects of the Purgation/Illumination/Union path of Christian Mysticism.
I am currently reading The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind – a New Perspective on Christ and His Message by Cynthia Bourgeault and Contemplative Living: An Invitation to a Deepening Journey by .
The Way of the Wisdom Jesus: Going Beyond the Mind to the Heart of His Teaching – If you put aside what you think you know about Jesus and approach the Gospels as though for the first time, something remarkable happens: Jesus emerges as a teacher of the transformation of consciousness. In this online course, Episcopal priest, teacher, and retreat and conference leader Cynthia Bourgeault serves as a masterful guide to Jesus’s vision and to the traditional contemplative practices you can use to experience the heart of his teaching for yourself. Based upon her book The Wisdom Jesus.
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. It is based on his book Simply Jesus. Enjoy an article I wrote about one of the lectures on the Beatitudes.
This course is a short course based on Prof. N.T. Wright’s latest book, Simply Good News. Tom Wright will guide you through the chapters of his book through videos that suggest what some of the main points are. 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. You will be brought into their world in order to make more sense of what ‘good news’ means in our world.
Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks – This is a great way to listen to books with your cell phone while you drive, walk or relax at home. I frequently listen in my car during my commute to and from work. I’m a proud affiliate.
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.
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.
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.)