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'.
The most important journey in life is the journey inwards, to the depths of our own being. It is a journey we are all invited to make. It takes us beyond words and images into silence. The silence allows the restless mind to become still and in the stillness we enter a new world. We return to our hearts. Here we find our true selves. We discover an ancient way of finding God that has almost become lost. Slowly, we realize that we are in union with the source of life and love itself. Our whole life changes. Our goal now is to take God’s love to others in our everyday lives.
In Word by Word Marilyn McEntyre invites you to dwell with and savour 15 specific words - listen, receive, enjoy and a dozen more - as she gives each word a week, reflecting on it for seven dasy from seven different angles. Drawing on the spiritual practices of lectiodivina and centring prayer, Marilyn's evocative reflections open up rich new layers of meaning to nourish your heart, mind and soul.
We hear a lot, these days, about 'spirituality', yet the meaning of that word can be hard to pin down. Often it is use in a vague way to refer to the relationship between our 'spirit' and God, resulting in the belief that we can only relate to God with our 'inner' being and not with any other part of ourselves.
Within Christianity, this view is commonly based on the assumption that the Bible contrasts the body and all this is physical with the 'spirit' which is good. But is that really what the Bible says? To answer that question, Paula Gooder explores the evidence, dispelling popular misconceptions, and leading us to a deeper understanding of the value of our bodies in the eyes of God.