Two inspiring books from Ignatius Press, each by a Carmelite priest and expert on the spiritual life, are available just in time for the Lenten and Easter seasons: The Way of Prayer: A Commentary on Saint Teresa’s Way of Perfection and The Holy Spirit, Fire of Divine Love.
The Way of Prayer, an acclaimed commentary on Saint Teresa of Avila’s classic work, Way of Perfection, discusses the various forms of Christian prayer, with an emphasis on Teresa’s meditation on the Our Father. The author, Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D. (1893–1953), was a Carmelite priest, a revered master of Carmelite spirituality, and an expert in the spiritual and mystical doctrine of Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross.
Teresa of Avila reformed the Carmelite order in the sixteenth century. Seeing Teresa in deep prayer, her first companions asked her to teach them how to pray. The apostles made the same request of Jesus: “Teach us to pray.” Jesus answered by teaching the Our Father. Teresa responded to her sisters by writing Way of Perfection, which contains an extended commentary upon the Lord’s Prayer.
As Jesus did in his Sermon on the Mount, Teresa, in her Way of Perfection, first teaches the necessary dispositions for prayer before teaching the different kinds of prayer. Named a Doctor of the Church by Pope Paul VI in 1970, Teresa united not only prayer and the apostolate, but contemplation and the apostolate, for contemplation is a particular kind of prayer that tends toward the most sublime intimacy with our Lord.
This book, The Way of Prayer, provides profound commentaries, just in time for the Lenten season, of Saint Teresa’s classic teachings on prayer. It also includes many quotations from Saint Teresa and Saint John of the Cross, which have been conformed to the most current authorized translations.
Father Joseph Koterski, S.J., Professor of Philosophy, at Fordham University, comments, “Father Gabriel’s book beautifully explains the way of Saint Teresa in showing us how to pray. He uses the experience of his monastic community to provide a reliable guide for all Christians to draw closer to God by contemplative prayer.”
In The Holy Spirit, Fire of Divine Love, acclaimed spiritual writer Father Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D. (1927-2013) presents insightful reflections on the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Holy Trinity, emphasizing the importance of the Spirit in the life of a Christian. This is a timely message as Christians prepare for Lent, leading into the Easter season and Pentecost.
He illustrates that the Holy Spirit desires to live in us so that we can love God and others with God’s own love. As the Holy Spirit descended upon the early Church at Pentecost to set the world ablaze with the fire of divine love, so He wants to do with us.
God, who is One, also desires the Church to be one, Father Stinissen writes. The Lord wants to unify all Christians in one holy Church, and all people in one body. The Holy Spirit is the great unifier, he says, for it is he who makes the Father and the Son one God. If Christians let him live within them, they will grow in unity.
Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers, the author of Behold the Man, explains, “Fr. Stinissen masterfully illustrates how the Holy Spirit helps us with discerning and following God’s will, constructs bridges of reconciliation, and builds up the Body of Christ. His powerful reflections invite the reader to experience deeper intimacy with the Lord.”
“From the theoretical to the practical, from Scripture and Sacred Tradition to the lives of the saints, this book comes as close as possible to explaining the Holy Spirit in all his mystery and ministries,” says Steven Ray, author of Crossing the Tiber.
Vinny Flynn, author of 7 Secrets of Divine Mercy, says “Fr. Stinissen’s writing is profound enough for theologians, yet accessible enough for anyone seeking a fuller and more meaningful life. This is an important, inspiring, and timely book.”
Father Wilfred Stinissen was born in Antwerp, Belgium, where he entered the Carmelite Order in 1944. He was sent to Sweden in 1967 to co-found a small contemplative community. His many books on the spiritual life have been translated into multiple languages. Among his works available in English are Into Your Hands, Father; Nourished by the Word: Reading the Bible Contemplatively; and The Gift of Spiritual Direction.