Befriending Silence

Discovering the Gifts of Cistercian Spirituality
Author: Carl McColman

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Format: Paperback

Publication date: November 20, 2015

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

In Befriending Silence: Discovering the Gifts of Cistercian Spirituality 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 method of 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

Pages: 192

Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5 inches

ISBN: 9781594716157

Imprint: Ave Maria Press

  • “A joy on many levels.”


    “Befriending Silence is a great gift to all who hunger for meaning, mystery, peace, hope, and God. It takes wisdom from an important contemplative tradition and offers it to all. It is beautifully and humbly written—a joy on many levels.”

    Brian D. McLaren
    Author of We Make the Road by Walking

  • “Manifests in a wonderful way the Cistercian charism.”


    Befriending Silence manifests in a wonderful way the Cistercian charism which today is shared by lay Cistercians and also guides mature seekers.”

    Br. Patrick Hart, O.C.S.O.
    Cistercian monk and former secretary of Thomas Merton

  • “A gentle, conversational, and humbly persuasive presentation.”


    “Carl McColman gives us a gentle, conversational, and humbly persuasive presentation of the spiritual benefits (and joys) of vowed and disciplined association with monastic life and practice for Christian lay folk. Himself a lay Cistercian, McColman speaks with quiet assurance about our human need to be ever more mindful of, and intentional about, our 'God-hunger' and the holy yearning from which it comes. In doing so, he has added a practical as well as an informing volume to the literature of faith.”

    Phyllis Tickle
    Founding Editor of the Religion Department of Publishers Weekly

  • “An accessible introduction to the beauty of Cistercian spirituality.”


    “Drawing on his personal experience and expansive knowledge, Carl McColman skillfully presents readers with an accessible introduction to the beauty of Cistercian spirituality. Not only does Befriending Silence guide us in the gifts of Cistercian spirituality, but it’s also a tremendous gift to all spiritual seekers!”

    Rev. Daniel P. Horan, O.F.M.
    Author of The Franciscan Heart of Thomas Merton

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