This poem and treatise from the sixteenth century Catholic mystic describes the soul’s journey from its bodily form to its ultimate reunion with God, the Creator. St John’s riveting descriptions of the soul’s transition from the physical world to spiritual purification continue to enjoy allusions in popular culture and should delight literary scholars and theologians alike.
In this highly acclaimed and lyrical book, the best-selling author Barbara Brown Taylor reveals the countless ways we can discover divine depths in the small things we do and see every day. People go to extraordinary lenghts, she writes, to discover this treasure. 'They will spend hours launching prayers into the heavens. They will travel half way around the world to visit a monastery in India...The last place most people will look is right under their feet, in the everyday activities, accidents and encounters of their lives...the reason so many of us cannot see the red X marks the spot is because we're standing on it.' An Altar in the the World shows us how heaven and earth meet in such ordinary occurrences as hanging out the wahing, doing the supermarket shop, feeding an animal, losing our way. It will transfrom our understanding of ourselves and the word we live in and renew our sense of wonder at the extraordinary gift of life.
How are Christians to live in a violent and wounded world? Rather than contending for privilege by wielding power and authority, we can witness prophetically from a position of weakness. The church has much to learn from an often overlooked community--those with disabilities, who point us anew to the very heart of the gospel.
In this fascinating book, theologian Stanley Hauerwas collaborates with Jean Vanier, founder of the worldwide L'Arche communities. L'Arche provide a unique model of inclusive community that is underpinned by a deep spirituality and theology. Together, Vanier and Hauerwas carefully explore the contours of a countercultural community that embodies a different way of being and witnesses to a new order--one marked by radical forms of gentleness, peacemaking and faithfulness.
The authors' explorations shed light on what it means to be human and how we are to live. The toughness of Hauerwas and the gentleness of Vanier offer a synergy of ideas that, if listened to carefully, will lead the church to a fresh practicing of peace, love and friendship. This invigorating conversation is for everyday Christians who desire to live faithfully in a world that is violent and broken.
by Laurence Freeman
In The Selfless Self, the Benedictine monk and teacher Laurence Freeman describes the essential dynamic of contemplative prayer. This kind of prayer, he says, is like exploring a sea-cave discovered in the holidays of childhood. Though its recesses may seem dark and deep, something calls to our spirit of adventure and entices us inward to a hidden treasure. Meditation is the spiritual journey into the cave of the heart, which has its own hidden and unlit places. Though we are entering the unknown, each successive step of faith brings light into our darkness and dispels our primal fears. Then the journey becomes a two-way process: with enlightened vision, we return to the world with renewed understanding of our place in it and our responsibilities towards it. We are better able to resist its illusory attractions and to discover instead its true joys.
Silence, stillness and simplicity are the keys that open the cave of the heart. Laurence Freeman is a universal guide with whom anyone can discover the world-transforming power of meditation.
In Every Place is Holy Ground, Sally Welch opens our eyes and our senses to places we may already think we know well: our own homes, local churches and the community where we live. We discover that even the most familiar surroundings can become places of sacred encounter as we learn to see them as though we were pilgrims on a journey. This practical guidebook helps us enter those spaces as never before, with fresh awareness of their potential to bring us into the presence of God.
Guided meditations using stories, symbols, reflections and prayers are provided for prayer journeys inspired by everyday sights. They trace the pattern of traditional pilgrimages to far-off holy places and reflect both the joys and trials of such journeys: encouraging, challenging, questioning and stretching us so that we may cultivate a richer sense of being fully alive in the present moment. Every Place is Holy Ground will enable us to see our everyday surroundings with eyes alert to the signs of God's glory in creation and to the blessings to be found on our own doorsteps.
The adventure of pilgrimage changes people. As Bishop John Pritchard writes in the foreword, 'Even if we are taking the route of pilgrimage in our own home, we will find that we have travelled far and thought deep ... And through it all we will also get to know better the Good Companion who travels with us every step of the journey, the Lord of the Pilgrimage, God himself.'