|Publication Date: 16 Nov 2017|
|Publisher: SPCK Publishing|
|Page Count: 108|
|Author: James McCaffrey|
|ISBN-13: 9780281075294, 9780281075300|
The Way of the Carmelites
This beautifully written book, replete with reflections on the Bible, is a spiritual companion and guide for Lent – and the rest of the year – that will introduce readers to the riches of the Carmelite tradition. It also includes questions at the end of each chapter that enable us to follow the profound and practical way of the Carmelites.
‘This book . . . [allows] the gentle light of Carmel’s wisdom to bring insight to our own dark nights.’
Margaret Silf, author and retreat facilitator
‘In a world marked by division and uncertainty . . . too many hearts are beset by lingering weakness and unhealed wounds . . . God beckons with silence . . . Father McCaffrey poignantly captures this spiritual adventure.’
Monsignor Joseph Reilly, Rector and Dean of Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology
‘Scholarly and practical, humble yet brilliant. I warmly commend it.’
Professor Peter Tyler, St Mary’s University, Twickenham, London
We are living through times of disillusionment and bewilderment – a global “dark night of the soul”. Carmelite spirituality understands this terrain. This book guides us expertly into the spirit of Carmel, outlining its background, introducing us to major Carmelite visionaries, from Teresa of Avila to Edith Stein, and inviting us to explore the Carmelite method of quiet contemplative prayer, just “gazing on God”. A series of very practical contemporary questions encourages us to apply Carmelite wisdom to our own situations, and allow the gentle light of Carmel’s wisdom to bring insight to our own dark nights.
For any Christians who have asked themselves the question, “How do I pray?”, especially during the sacred season of Lent, this book will come as a timely help. Fr McCaffrey, drawing upon a lifetime’s experience of Carmelite life and his own unsurpassable biblical scholarship, presents a satisfying synthesis – scholarly and practical, humble yet brilliant. I warmly commend it.
Partly because of the intense mystical experiences of individual Carmelites, and particularly of Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross, it is too easy to see Carmelite spirituality as “difficult” or even esoteric; as only suited to very advanced souls. Fr McCaffrey ocd does an extraordinarily lovely job of making this spiritual tradition somehow “pure” – sensible has become too prosaic a word. The underlying themes of “openness to the spirit” through the Scriptures are made accessible, enriching, worthwhile. It is the sort of Lent book many of us need – expanding and deepening our practice as an exploration into the new which at the same time has been tested through the tradition. It is both useful and beautiful.
In a world marked by division and uncertainty, God calls us to communion. Too many hearts are beset by lingering weakness and unhealed wounds. God beckons with silence. Our lives are filled with the disposable and casual. God entices us with his eternal Presence. With keen spiritual insight, Fr McCaffrey poignantly captures this spiritual adventure, this journey of accompaniment with the Holy Spirit, which the Church invites us to set out upon during Lent. With wisdom born of faith, Fr McCaffrey delves into the riches of his own Carmelite tradition. His confident assurance is that God is inviting us, yet again this Lent, into a “privileged time for prayer”, when the gentle hand of God can transform each of us into the likeness of Jesus Christ.