Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Spirituality Revisited

The Fulfillment of All Desire:  A Guidebook to God Based on the Wisdom of the Saints. 
Martin, Ralph (2006-07-01). 
Emmaus Road Publishing. Kindle Edition.

"Part of Catherine's special mission as a Doctor in the Church is to teach the biblical worldview that is found in the Scripture, augmented by the particular insights that the Father gives her for this purpose. But all the Doctors of the Church that we are considering share this worldview, in all its essentials. All of them write in light of the seriousness of the situation of the human race apart from Christ, the reality of heaven and hell, and the urgent necessity to order one's life as much as possible to the following of Jesus— right now. As Bernard bluntly puts it: 

Lord Jesus , whoever refuses to live for you is clearly worthy of death, and is in fact dead already. Whoever does not know you is a fool. And whoever wants to become something without you, without doubt that man is considered nothing and is just that. . . . You have made all things for yourself, O God, and whoever wants to live for himself and not for you, in all that he does, is nothing. “Fear God, and keep his commandments,” it is said, “for this is the whole duty of man (Eccles. 12: 13).” (p. 61)

Ralph Martin never disappoints. This title was one of the highlights of my summer reading. It is the fruit of his years of studying and lecturing. The book binds the great Western mystics, especially Catherine of Siena, Teresa of Avila, Bernard of Clairvaux, John of the Cross, Francis de Sales, Therese of Lisieux, to Sacred Scripture in contemporary fashion; it offers some very special challenges and a good measure of hope to lay people in their quest for a deep prayer life.

Some of those who read me faithfully might be aware that with the exception of Francis de Sales, I struggle with this category of saints and find it hard not to class them obscure. Let us just say that I am most grateful to have had the possibility of standing on Ralph Martin's shoulders to get a better look! Thank you, Ralph! Readers, give this one a try! You will be handsomely rewarded.

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