Thomas Merton’s classic study of monastic prayer and contemplation brings a tradition of spirituality alive for the present day. But, as A M Allchin points out in his Introduction to this new edition, Contemplative Prayer also shows us the present day in a new perspective, because we see it in the light of a long and living tradition.
Merton stresses that in meditation we should not look for a ‘method’ or ‘system’ but cultivate an ‘attitude’ or ‘outlook’: faith, openness, attention, reverence, expectation, trust, joy. God is found in the desert of surrender, in giving up any expectation of a particular message and ‘waiting on the Word of God in silence’.
Merton insists on the humility of faith, which he argues ‘will do far more to launch us into the full current of historical reality than the pompous rationalisation of politicians who think they are somehow the directors and manipulators of history’.
George Lings 'accompanied' the Community during 2005 (as part of 'Building Bridges of Hope') and has written this very helpful exploration of where the Northumbria Community fits into the 'fresh expressions of church' scene today. He examines particularly the Community's balance between the interior life ('monastery') and its outward expression (mission'). George Lings concludes: If the need today is for deep people then here is the portal to inner attentiveness in following Jesus and the painful but liberation process of being transformed by Him.' This booklet is part of the Encounters on the Edge series. A downloadable PDF version of the booklet is also available.
his is an illustrated book by Matthew Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn and Dennis Linn. They describe it as follows: 'When we are hurt, we are tempted to either act as a passive doormat or to strike back and escalate the cycle of violence. We can avoid both of these temptations and find creative responses to hurts by moving through the five stages of forgiveness. In so doing, we discover the two hands of nonviolence: one hand that stops the person who hurts us and the other that reaches out, calms that person and offers new life. This book has healing processes so simple that children can use them."
Isn't it a shame that the rich tapestry of Christian belief and practice has so often been rigidly carved up, crammed into denominational boxes and padlocked shut? Richard Foster addresses this by identifying six major strands of Christian spirituality within the worldwide church that have contributed at various times and places across the centuries. They are: The Contemplative tradition - or the Prayer-filled life, The Holiness tradition - or the Virtuous life, The Charismatic tradition - or the Spirit-empowered life, The Social Justice tradition - or the Compassionate life, The Evangelical tradition - or the Word-centred life, The Incarnational tradition - or the Sacramental life, Foster's celebration of spiritual life incorporates history's most significant Christian figures and movements. It serves as a refreshing example of how real peopl have evaded preconceived ideas and lived wonderful Christ-centred lives in spite of constricting labels.
The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen
A chance encounter with a reproduction of Rembrandt’s The Return of the Prodigal Son catapulted Henri Nouwen on a long spiritual adventure. Here he shares the deeply personal and resonant meditation that led him to discover the place within which God has chosen to dwell.
In seizing the inspiration that came to him through Rembrandt’s depiction of the powerful Gospel story, Henri Nouwen probes the several movements of the parable: the younger son’s return, the father’s restoration of sonship, the elder son’s vengefulness, and the father’s compassion. In his reflection on Rembrandt in light of his own life journey, the author evokes the powerful drama of the parable in a rich, captivating way that is sure to reverberate in the hearts of readers. The themes of homecoming, affirmation, and reconciliation will be newly discovered by all who have known loneliness, dejection, jealousy, or anger. The challenge to love as the father and be loved as the son will be seen as the ultimate revelation of the parable known to Christians through time, and here represented with a vigour and power fresh for our times.