Julian of Norwich proclaimed that “All shall be well.” The Cloud of Unknowing reminded us that love is the key to divine union. Evelyn Underhill insisted that artists are mystics in their own way, for beauty gives us access to the presence of God. These are just a few examples of the wisdom and wit of the English mystics and contemplatives, spiritual teachers whose insight remains surprisingly relevant for seekers today.
This retreat will draw from the poetic words of the English mystics themselves, always with an eye to how their teachings invite us into a deeper and more beautiful encounter with the mystery of God. We will balance consideration of the writings of the mystics with time for prayer, journaling, imaginative meditation, contemplative silence, and personal reflection. It’s been said that “the mystic is not a special kind of person; each person is a special kind of mystic.” With that in mind, we will explore the unique gifts of each mystic we consider, with an eye to how we can discern, claim and celebrate our own unique way of “being a mystic” — our unique way of responding to God’s love in our lives.
This retreat will include a 24-hour period of silence, as well as other shorter stretches of observed silence, including some of the mealtimes. Check-in begins at 4pm and a brief orientation session will be held prior to dinner at 5pm. Dinner will follow at 6pm and the opening session of the retreat begins after dinner. Silence outside of presentation and group sharing times will begin at that time. Guided by Carl McColman.
Carl McColman is a spiritual director, blogger, and the author of numerous books on contemplative spirituality, including The New Big Book of Christian Mysticism, Befriending Silence and Eternal Heart. Carl is a life-professed lay associate of the Trappist Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Georgia and a commissioned presenter of Centering Prayer introductory workshops. He lives near Atlanta.