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Introduction To The Spiritual Life
by Louis Bouyer
Publisher:Ave Maria Press from Alban Bks
This republished work of Louis Bouyer, a Catholic priest and theologian who was influential at Vatican II, takes a wide-angle lens to the spiritual life of the Catholic. Bouyer deals with the essentials of all Christian’s spiritual lives—Scripture, prayer, asceticism, the sacraments.
Bouyer contends that the upward trajectory of all spiritual life moves toward the mystic life, and in his last chapter lays out clearly what Christian mysticism is, when confronted with the rise in both psychological theories of religion and syncretism between world religions.
On the way, Bouyer very helpfully takes the reader through the kaleidoscope of different prayers and their usefulness to the believer, through the necessity of the sacraments, and spends a number of chapters elucidating asceticism and making clear how all are called to the life of the ascetic even when not called to the monastery.
Reading as a Protestant, some of the language used takes some time to get used to, and some of the theology is different from what might normally be comfortable. However, Bouyer provides great depth and clarity when it comes to understanding the ascetic call of all Christians, and of particular note what the way in which Bouyer explains the sacraments in a way that forces the mind upon Christ. Whilst not always an easy read, the rewards for perseverance are well worth it.
Reviewer: Tim Goodall (11/10/14)