Below is a list of wisdom leaders recommended by The Front Porch. These individuals’ writings and related websites will guide you further along your journey. Check back, as we will be updating this resource periodically!
FR. THOMAS KEATING
“For human beings, the most daunting challenge is to become fully human. For to become fully human is to become fully divine.”
A founding member and the spiritual guide of Contemplative Outreach. Fr. Keating was one of the principal architects and teachers of the Christian contemplative prayer movement.
Contemplative Outreach, Ltd
Contemplative Outreach is a spiritual network of individuals and small faith communities committed to living the contemplative dimension of the Gospel. The common desire for Divine transformation, primarily expressed through a commitment to a daily Centering Prayer practice, unites our international, interdenominational community. Founded by Fr. Thomas Keating.
Consenting to God as God is – See on Amazon
This book collects the intimate talks and daily presentations made by Trappist monk Thomas Keating to members of Contemplative Outreach, the book is oriented toward people who have been practicing centering prayer for several years. (Amazon)
Open Mind, Open Heart – See on Amazon
Father Keating gives the reader an overview of what contemplative prayer both is and isn’t; he discusses the history of contemplative prayer in the Christian tradition and then explores the method step by step. (Amazon)
Intimacy with God – See on Amazon
This guide explains its origins, theological basis, and psychology by drawing on the writings of important Catholic figures, such as St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross, and significant texts, such as The Cloud of Unknowing. Describing the theological basis for the Centering Prayer while staying rooted in the heart of a practice that is very personal and intimate. (Amazon)
Invitation to Love – See on Amazon
Invitation to Love provides a road map for the journey that begins when Centering Prayer is seriously undertaken. Father Keating addresses common questions regarding contemplative practice: How will it affect my life? Where does it lead us spiritually? What obstacles will I encounter along the way? How does it work? (Amazon
“Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another.”
The Seven Storey Mountain – See on Amazon
A modern-day Confessions of Saint Augustine, The Seven Storey Mountain tells of the growing restlessness of a brilliant and passionate young man whose search for peace and faith leads him, at the age of twenty-six, to take vows in one of the most demanding Catholic orders–the Trappist monks. (Amazon)
Sign of Jonas – See on Amazon
The Sign of Jonas is an extraordinary view of Merton’s life in a Trappist monastery, and it serves also as a spiritual log recording the deep meaning and increasing sureness he felt in his vocation: the growth of a mind that finds in its contracted physical world new intellectual and spiritual dimensions. (Amazon)
New Seeds of Contemplation – See on Amazon
New Seeds of Contemplation is one of Thomas Merton’s most widely read and best-loved books. Christians and non-Christians alike have joined in praising it as a notable successor in the meditative tradition of St. John of the Cross, The Cloud of Unknowing, and the medieval mystics. (Amazon)
Thoughts In Solitude – See on Amazon
Thoughts in Solitude addresses the pleasure of a solitary life, as well as the necessity for quiet reflection in an age when so little is private. (Amazon)
THICH NHAT HANH
“The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.”
A Vietnamese Thiền Buddhist monk, peace activist, and founder of the Plum Village Tradition. Thích Nhất Hạnh spent most of his later life residing at the Plum Village Monastery in southwest France near Thénac travelling internationally to give retreats and talks.
A global community of mindfulness practice centres offering retreats and teachings on engaged Buddhism and the art of mindful living, founded by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh.
The Energy of Prayer: How to Deepen your Spiritual Practice – See on Amazon
In The Energy of Prayer, Thich Nhat Hanh looks at the applications and effectiveness of prayer in Buddhist and other spiritual traditions and closely examines the question of why we pray. (Amazon)
Living Buddha, Living Christ – See on Amazon
Buddha and Christ each left a legacy of teachings and practices that have shaped the lives of billions of people. If they were to meet today, what would each think of the other’s spiritual views and practices? (Amazon)
“Most of us were taught that God would love us if and when we change. In fact, God loves you so that you can change. What empowers change, what makes you desirous of change is the experience of love. It is that inherent experience of love that becomes the engine of change.”
Richard Rohr is a Franciscan priest of the New Mexico Province. He is the founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation and academic dean of the CAC’s Living School. An internationally recognized author and spiritual leader, Fr. Richard teaches primarily on incarnational mysticism, nondual consciousness, and contemplation, with a particular emphasis on how these affect the social justice issues of our time.
CENTER FOR ACTION AND CONTEMPLATION
The Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC) is an educational nonprofit introducing seekers to the contemplative Christian path of transformation.
The Universal Christ – See on Amazon
Rohr articulates a transformative view of Jesus Christ as a portrait of God’s constant, unfolding work in the world. “God loves things by becoming them,” he writes, and Jesus’s life was meant to declare that humanity has never been separate from God—except by its own negative choice. (Amazon)
Falling Upward – See on Amazon
In Falling Upward, Fr. Richard Rohr seeks to help readers understand the tasks of the two halves of life. Most of us tend to think of the second half of life as largely about getting old, dealing with health issues, and letting go of life. What looks like falling down can largely be experienced as “falling upward.” (Amazon)
Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps –See on Amazon
The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous is America’s most significant and authentic contribution to the history of spirituality, says Richard Rohr. He makes a case that the Twelve Steps relate well to Christian teaching and can rescue people who are drowning in addiction and may not even realize it. (Amazon)
Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer – See on Amazon
Rohr share only when we rest in God can they find the certainty and the freedom to become all that they can be. Contemplation has its place at the heart of Christianity, a place that allows people to experience how “everything belongs.” (Amazon)
FR. WILLIAM MENINGER
“We cannot do anything to earn God’s grace but we can remove obstacles.”
Father William Meninger, a Trappist monk and retreat master at St. Josephs Abbey in Spencer, Mass. found a dusty little book in the abbey library, The Cloud of Unknowing. As he read it he was delighted to discover that this anonymous 14th century book presented contemplative meditation as a teachable, spiritual process enabling the ordinary person to enter and receive a direct experience of union with God.
The Loving Search for God: Contemplative Prayer and the Cloud of Unknowing – See on Amazon
Julian of Norwich: A Mystic for Today – See on Amazon
This book is not a translation or paraphrase of Julian’s Showings of Divine Love. Rather, it is a commentary―in 86 brief, meditative chapters―intended to provide information, reflections, and further theological understanding that will enhance the modern Christian’s reading of Julian’s book.
St. John of the Cross for Beginners – See on Amazon
Fr. William Meninger guides the reader through two basic works of inner development, The Ascent of Mount Carmel and The Dark Night of the Soul, by St. John of the Cross (1542–1591) . He unfolds for modern readers the essence of these classical texts, section by section.
All Manner of Things – See on Amazon
This book is a commentary intended to provide information, reflections, and further theological understanding that may enhance the modern Christian’s reading of Julian of Norwich’s book. All Manner of Things will aid focused devotion and provide profound inspiration along the path of prayer and meditation.