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Tropical Leaves

Video Library

Over the last two years, COMW has recorded most of our virtual Half-Day Retreats. The range of topics and expertise of our retreat leaders is quite impressive.


Click here to place your order for the video recordings of our Half-Day Retreat programs. Videos are available with a COMW contribution of $20. Program attendees receive our videos free-of-charge with their registration and $25 program contribution.

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"Thomas Merton: Finding the Gate to Paradise Everywhere"

Led by Bishop Porter Taylor

Bishop Porter Taylor helps us explore Merton's invitation to God seekers to go deeper and wider. We go deeper as we discover the difference between our “True Self” and our “False Self.” As we let go of defining our self by power, prestige, and possessions and discover that we are more than what we do, what people say about us, and what we own, we are then able to remember that we are made in God’s image--and with us God is well pleased.


As we discover the holy in us, we become equipped to be a vehicle of the Good News by what we do, by what we say, and mostly by who we are. Merton wrote, “At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusions, a point of truth, a point or spark which belongs to God.” Therefore, “to be a saint is to be myself.”

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“Lectio Terra: Awakening to the Unity of Life"

Led by the Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton, Bishop of Maryland

When practiced regularly, the monastic approach to Lectio Divina can lead to a full immersion of the senses in the written word of God. So, too, a regular practice of Lectio Terra can lead to a deeper connection with the natural world, which mystics throughout the ages have referred to as the original, or "big," book of scripture.

During this retreat, Mary Jane Yates will introduce participants to simple practices for immersing ourselves in nature as a way of enhancing our union with God and understanding our role in “co-creating and co-redeeming the world with Christ” (Contemplative Outreach Theological Principle #14).

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“How Contemplation Can Heal a Violent World"

Led by the Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton, Bishop of Maryland

In the 25th Anniversary celebration of Contemplative Outreach of Maryland and Washington (COMW), the Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton, leads a full-day retreat on how contemplation is as relevant as ever in today’s world of violence at all levels of our lives, both domestically and globally. Indeed, Centering Prayer, as one form of contemplation, is a method for stilling our minds and in silence opening our hearts to peace and understanding, thereby creating a foundation for a nonviolent response to any event that occurs in our lives.

These videos were recorded at the COMW 25th Anniversary Retreat (Christ Church, Columbia MD) and Bishop Sutton’s presentation has been edited into four parts:
Part One: The Different Faces of Violence
Part Two: The Spirituality of Non-violence
Part Three: Non-violence in Action
Part Four: Final Prayer and Blessing
A minimum donation of $30 is requested for this special four-video set. 

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Centering Prayer and Interspirituality“

Led by Netanel Miles-Yepez, D.D.

At our November retreat, Netanel Miles-Yepez, professor of Religious Studies at Naropa University and co-founder of Charis Foundation for New Monasticism and Interspirituality, will explore the roots of Centering Prayer as a receptive meditation practice in Christianity, and explore its applicability to the interspiritual milieu in which we live today.


“How Contemplation Can Heal a Violent World: Going Deeper“

Led by Kathleen Blank Riether (with video clips of the Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton)

The excerpts focus on the different faces of violence, the spirituality of nonviolence and nonviolence in action. Before each video, we prepare ourselves to listen deeply by sitting together in Centering Prayer. We listen to each video as though engaging in Lectio Divina, noting any word or phrase that especially resonates as God speaking to us personally. After each video, we are invited to share the word or phrase that resonated with us as the Spirit’s call to non-violent action in our personal and communal lives. We conclude our retreat with a final prayer and blessing.



“Mystical Poetry and the Contemplative Path“

Led by the Rt. Rev. G. Porter Taylor

If silence is the first language of God, as Thomas Keating writes, mystical poetry is a language by which we mortals may share our experience of God. What can we learn about spiritual practice, growth, and vitality from devout mystics who step beyond the limits of prose, into poetry? This workshop offers an opportunity to study and react to a sampling of such poetry from the early Middle Ages into our current century.



“Thomas Keating and the Snowmass Dialogue“

Led by Netanel Miles-Yepez

Netanel Miles-Yepez, discusses the famous Snowmass Interreligious Conference (as described in his book, “The Common Heart, An Experience of Interreligious Dialogue”), that was convened by Father Thomas Keating, bringing religious leaders into retreat with one another from 1984 to 2015. He also talks about Father Thomas’ views on contemplative practice, dialogue, and interspirituality.



“Unbinding Thomas Merton and Ourselves“

Led by Leslye Colvin

During his apostolic visit to the United States in 2015, Pope Francis described Thomas Merton as “a man of prayer, a thinker who challenged the certitudes of his time and opened new horizons for souls and for the Church.” This is beyond the man we know as a monk and writer, or is it?

Through her research of Merton, Leslye Colvin began to understand this description as she began to see him as model of the dynamic relationship between contemplation and activism that unbinds us to live the Gospel of Christ Jesus today – in our time and place.

Ponder with Leslye the connection between Merton’s activism and contemplation, and its lessons for contemplatives today.



“Practical Mysticism: Teachings from Evelyn Underhill“

Led by the Rt. Rev. Porter Taylor

Evelyn Underhill wrote, “God is the only reality, and we are only real in so far as we are in God’s order and God is in us…. So those who wonder where they are to begin might begin here, by trying to give spiritual quality to every detail of their everyday lives.”

As followers of Jesus, how do we give spiritual quality to every detail of our everyday lives? In a time of conflict across the globe and COVID 19 and deep divisions in this country, how do we discover and maintain our connection to the only reality?

However, our calling is not merely to be connected to God. Underhill wrote, “We are transmitters as well as receivers.” She is calling for us to be “agents of the Creative Spirit in this world.” What does that look like in 2022 especially in the state of this country?



“The Welcoming Prayer“

Led by Mary Dwyer

The Welcoming Prayer is a method of consenting to God’s presence and action in the midst of the ordinary routines of our daily lives. To practice Welcoming allows us to make choices free of the domination of the false self system. We begin to respond rather than automatically react to life on life’s terms. As the originator of Welcoming, Mary Mrozowski, stated, “To welcome and to let go is one of the most radically loving, faith-filled gestures we can make in each moment of each day. It is an open-hearted embrace of all that is in ourselves and in the world.” During this recorded Workshop we learned the conceptual background, The Welcoming Prayer practice, and practiced it in community.



“God is Love, the Heart of All Creation“ Part 2

An Interview of Thomas Keating by Carl J. Arico

Video and Discussion led by Kathleen Blank Riether

In Part 2 of our two part series based on God Is Love, The Heart of All Creation, we will begin with Thomas Keating reflecting on the silence in Centering Prayer as the first step in what Christian theology understands as the path of contemplation taking us into divine union. Centering Prayer reduces the obstacles to our awareness of God’s presence and communications to us. 



“God is Love, the Heart of All Creation“

An Interview of Thomas Keating by Carl J. Arico

Video and Discussion led by Benedicte Christensen

The video series God is Love, The Heart of All Creation was filmed in Snowmass, CO, in 2013. This half-day retreat focused on two segments: Prologue on cosmology and the human evolution. Thomas Keating explains how scientific discoveries have led us to a new cosmology based on our evolving understanding of God and how the Universe was created. 



“Icons as Portals for Unlocking the Contemplative Heart“

Led by Mary Altalo

Icons are considered as “writings of the heart” which open the contemplative to “Behold” the Glory of the Lord. This “Beholding” transfigures the way we see the world, how we act in it, and conveys the great hope of God’s enduring love and wisdom as promised in the Covenant of Peace. Here we practice contemplative “Beholding” through Visio Divina of icons and see that there are really two Christmas stories of Incarnation occurring during this season. Mary Altalo also provides a PowerPoint presentation, which includes more icons than presented at the Retreat. They can be used in conjunction with the Visio Divina practice explained in slide 4. Download Handouts


“Lectio Divina Retreat”

Led by Mike Potter

How does the dynamic of the four moments of Lectio Divina play out in daily life? This retreat video offers an introduction to and practice of the monastic form of Lectio Divina, and extends it to our own lives through a guided meditation, as we read the scriptures of our lives in a lectio manner and try to be attentive to what God is saying to us.


“The Cloud of Unknowing” Sequel

Led by LJ Milone

“Just a wonderful contemplative approach to this author!” Quote from Attendee

A sequel to his program offered in June, LJ Milone takes a deeper look into the writings of this mysterious author and offers helpful ways to enhance your contemplative practice. (See June 26 video recording.)


“Finding Your True Self”

Led by David Morgan
“What you’re looking for is where you’re looking from.”  St. Francis of Assisi

In his book, New Seeds of Contemplation, Thomas Merton called our “thought-made self,” the story we tell ourselves about who we are, our “false self” distinguishing it from our deepest “true self.” In this half-day retreat, David Morgan from the COMW leadership team helps us explore our true selves and facilitate a discussion on the teachings of Thomas Merton, Richard Rohr, Basil Pennington, Thomas Keating and others.


“Guard of the Heart”

Led by Bob Mischke

“Guard of the Heart … disposes us to let go of personal likes and dislikes and to accept painful situations as they arise.” Fr. Thomas Keating as told to Bob Mischke. A traditional way to enrich your contemplative practice.


“The Cloud of Unknowing”

Led by L.J. Milone

In this half-day retreat, we learn how to deepen our practice of Centering Prayer from the mysterious author of “The Cloud of Unknowing.” There is deep teaching in this work concerning how we deal with thoughts, humility, intention, and growth in divine unity.


“In The Shadow of Your Wings”

Led by Fr. Vincent Pizzuto

“In the shadow of your wings I take refuge, until the times of destruction pass.” PSALM 57:1

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