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Answering the Contemplative Call
First Steps on the Mystical Path
Carl McColman
ISBN: 9781571746771
Book (Paperback)
Hampton Roads Publishing Company
5 1/2 x 8 1/2
192 pages
February 1, 2013


"Mysticism is a process and one in which everyone is called to participate. That is McColman’s starting point. From there he discusses mysticism, meditation, and comtemplation. He uses the Judeo-Christian tradition as his framework. He weaves writings by and about Christian mystics through the text to help communicate his ideas, but while the quotes date back to the time of Jesus, McColman’s writing brings it all forward into the 21th Century. There are sections of the text that echo Zen, Taoist, and Buddhist practice, making it an excellent natural bridge to interfaith study for Christian customers who are ready for that. Those who aren’t will learn how to make traditional Christian beliefs more personally fulfilling. The mix of history and practice, communicated in real world language, makes this a very valuable resource." -Anna Jedrziewski, Retailing Insight, February 2013
The mystical path is not some sort of static experience for the select few, says Carl McColman, rather, it is a living tradition, a rich and many-layered dimension of spirituality that is in large measure a quest to find the mysteries at the heart of the universe, paradoxically nestled within the heart of your own soul.

McColman first introduced readers to Christianity's lost mystical roots in his popular book, The Big Book of Christian Mysticism. Now McColman is back with Answering the Contemplative Call, to show readers how to apply the riches of the mystical tradition to daily living.

This book is organized in three sections:
  • "Recognizing the Call," explores how each one of us is called to the mystical life, and what that might look like.
  • "Preparing for the Journey," shows what we need to do in response to the contemplative call.
  • "Embarking on the Adventure" considers what those first steps on the path might look like.

Along the way McColman quotes from the great mystics of the Christian tradition who have also traveled this path, including Teresa of Avila, Thomas Merton, Evelyn Underhill, and more.

Carl McColman lives near Atlanta, Georgia, where he is a member of the Lay Cistercians of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit—a contemplative community under the spiritual guidance of Trappist monks. He is the author of Answering the Contemplative Call and The Big Book of Christian Mysticism. Carl frequently leads workshops and retreats on contemplative spirituality at churches, seminaries, monasteries, and retreat centers. Visit his blog ( which is devoted to Christian and world mysticism. His writing has appeared on Huffington Post, Patheos, Beliefnet, and Contemplative Journal. Carl lives near Atlanta, Georgia. Photo credit: Z Jones
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