(Photo from Father Lawrence Lew, O.P. - God’s Excessive Love - Used With Permission)
" "Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin." — St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Monday, May 14, 2018

Book Review of Wisdom From the Christian Mystics - How To Pray The Christian Way

Have we been selling ourselves short on the importance of prayer and our need to persevere in prayer? St. Teresa of Avila warns us against doing so: “You must believe that if you give up prayer, you are, in my opinion, courting danger.”

Who among us is not distracted during prayer? How many of us feel like our prayer time is lifeless and useless? Why do so many give up on prayer and never reach the point where God gives them the undeserved blessing and gift of infused contemplation? What is infused contemplation and how does it differ from meditation? Why are we not taught about this form of prayer? What are the origins of this type of mystical prayer? Who is called to such prayer? How many have abandoned their prayer life just when they might be on the precipice of real communion with the Lord they love?

David Torkington, noted Spiritual Theologian, Author and Speaker, answers these questions and countless others in his easy to read, instructive and inspiring book, Wisdom From the Christian Mystics - How To Pray The Christian Way.

The author writes in a clear, compelling and interesting way. He is a master of the written word, as you can appreciate from the following excerpt:

“Two things are necessary for prayer to grow beyond the stage of set formulas and petitions, to the stage when it becomes a personal encounter with the most loveable man ever to walk on this earth. The first thing is to find some space and time in which to stop being busy about many things so that there can be time to come to terms with Christ’s death, and to celebrate his life and love, and his continuing life and love. The second thing needed is to read and re-read every word that has been written about him in the Gospels and to read everything that he said, because what he said is addressed to us personally… These sacred words are precious, so they should be read slowly and carefully, as you would pore over poetry to penetrate its meaning and experience its impact. Gradually in time and under the influence of the Holy Spirit, the faith that once seemed solely cerebral will deepen, as hearts and minds that were like stone before, soften and become porous to receive and experience the love of Christ ever more deeply…

I particularly enjoyed the way in which he seamlessly weaved into his narrative the words and wisdom of several saints. Here are two of my favorite quotes:

If the heart does not pray, then the tongue labours in vain”. – St. Bernardine of Siena

“You will never love someone unless you know them, but you will never really know them unless you love them.” – St. Thierry

Wisdom from the Christian Mystics - How To Pray The Christian Way includes "A Blueprint for Daily Prayer". It is a must have volume on your book shelf. This book is a resource that will give you the tools to enrich your prayer life. You will consult it regularly. It is a treasure-trove of meditative resources. It will draw both the prayer novice and veteran closer to the loving embrace of God.

Blessed indeed was the day David asked me to review this book. I shall be forever indebted to him, as will all read it. Get a copy now.

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