The Tradition of Catholic Prayer

Christian Raab, Editor, Harry Hagan, Editor . Liturgical $24.95 (298p) ISBN 978-0-8146-3184-3

A novice monk's interest in the tradition of prayer led to this book by the monks of St. Meinrad Archabbey in Indiana. Although Hagan, a priest and one of the authors and editors of the volume, had envisioned having various monks write such a book, it wasn't until his biweekly meetings with Raab, a novice he was guiding, that the project began to take shape. Beginning with prayer as found in the Hebrew scriptures, the monks traverse the history of Catholic prayer into modern times, spanning Christianity's early centuries, the monastic movement, medieval spirituality and the Counter-Reformation. They go on to cover such practices as liturgical and fixed-hour prayer, ending with chapters on what they call the “scenic landscapes” of prayer: lectio divina (holy reading), Mary and the saints, praying with images of Jesus and prayer's role in conversion. The guide reads like a textbook in places, but it is full of interesting details, particularly those drawn from sources dating to Christianity's earliest days. For example, Cyprian Davis, in “Prayer as a Battle,” cites Evagrius of Pontius, a fourth-century deacon who advocated cultivating inner calm and warned how it can be upset by logismoi, obsessive thoughts fostered by demons. Students and practitioners of prayer will find this to be most enlightening reading. (Dec.)

Reviewed on: 09/24/2007
Release date: 12/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
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