Befriending Silence: Discovering the Gifts of Cistercian Spirituality

Befriending Silence: Discovering the Gifts of Cistercian Spirituality

by Carl McColman

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Befriending Silence: Discovering the Gifts of Cistercian Spirituality by Carl McColman

Winner of the 2016 Georgia Author of the Year: Inspirational-religious books.

Respected speaker, author, and Patheos blogger Carl McColman introduces Cistercian spirituality as "the hidden jewel of the Church," presenting a surprisingly contemporary path grounded in monastic tradition. This accessible and comprehensive guide highlights a unique focus on simplicity, living close to the earth, and contemplative prayer, all of which make Cistercian spirituality relevant today.

Steeped in chant and silence, grounded in down-to-earth work and service, and immersed in the mystical wisdom of teachers ancient (Bernard of Clairvaux) and modern (Thomas Merton), Cistercian spirituality's beautifully humble path has for centuries made monasteries places of rest, retreat, and renewal. Now, Carl McColman offers the first practical introduction to this ancient, contemplative spirituality for all people.

Hailed by reviewers of his many books as playful, and profound, McColman draws on his experience as a lay Cistercian to provide insight into the relevance of the tradition to contemporary issues and spiritual practice. He explains how silence, simplicity, stability, stewardship of the earth, contemplation, ongoing conversion, and devotion to Mary combine to offer a rich and unique path to discipleship and intimacy with God.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781594716164
Publisher: Ave Maria Press
Publication date: 11/20/2015
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 192
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Carl McColman is the author of The Big Book of Christian Mysticism and Answering the Contemplative Call, and writes for Patheos, Huffington Post, and Contemplative Journal. He also has his own popular website and blog devoted to Christian and world mysticism. McColman is a member of the Lay Cistercians of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit, a contemplative community under the spiritual guidance of Trappist monks. A Catholic in full-time ministry as a retreat leader and speaker, McColman frequently leads workshops and retreats on contemplative spirituality at churches, seminaries, monasteries and retreat centers.

McColman earned a bachelor’s degree in English (magna cum laude) from James Madison University in 1982, and a master’s in English from George Mason University in 1984. He was trained in the practice of Christian contemplation through the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation in Washington, DC. He received training in spiritual direction from the Institute for Pastoral Studies in Atlanta. He lives in Stone Mountain, Georgia. 

Table of Contents

A Note about Language ix

Introduction From Bernard's Valley to Merton's Mountain 1

Chapter 1 Charism: A Gift from God (with a Greek Accent) 13

Chapter 2 Sacred Stories: Remembering Who We Truly Are 25

Chapter 3 Formation: You Are the Potter, I Am the Clay 39

Chapter 4 Humility: Down-to-Earth Spirituality 53

Chapter 5 Hospitality: Welcoming Christ, Welcoming Others 65

Chapter 6 Compassion and Community: Where Two or Three Are Gathered 77

Chapter 7 Prayer and Liturgy: The Rhythm of the Day 89

Chapter 8 Contemplation: The Star of the Sea 101

Chapter 9 Conversion of Life: A Promise for All Time 115

Chapter 10 Stability: Blooming Where We're Planted 127

Chapter 11 Perseverance: Living a (Lay) Cistercian Life 141

A Final Word 155

Acknowledgments 157

Appendix 1 Vocations to Cistercian Monastic Life 159

Appendix 2 Vocations to the Lay Cistercian Family 163

Appendix 3 Cistercian Abbeys in North America 167

Notes 174

Selected Bibliography 178

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