Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hey There, Flabby

You're flabby, complacent, and despite a regular prayer life and involvement in the parish ministry you still haven't attained to the transforming union with Christ; although you're basically a good Catholic, going to Mass and avoiding serious sin, you're more or less just getting by.

If you can identify to any degree with these statements, I'm talking to you. If you emphatically believe that this does not apply to you, I'm most definitely talking to you. I know that I'm not excepted from this, and very few of us are saints or near-saints; ergo, you could use a few spiritual push ups.

This book, Temptation & Prayer, will kick your butt. It will challenge you like books many times its length will not. It's short. Really short. Chapters are about one or two pages each. It's also easy to understand. It's -- how shall we say it? -- practical, incisive, cuts to the chase.

[Joseph I. Cisetti] Grounding himself in the thought of Ignatius of Loyola and John of the Cross, Galilea offers brief, even pithy chapters, seldom more than two pages, that are sharp, practical and insightful.

Acknowledging that temptation is part of any human as well as Christian life, Galilea observes that those with a mature spirituality generally resist temptation to intentional evil but instead face the temptations of mediocrity, tepidity and stagnation.

Often these evils can appear as good and hence the need for greater discernment. After initially reflecting on discernment as a type of salve applied to the eyes so that we might see, Galilea divides the book up into two sections regarding ministry and prayer. Each concise chapter concerns itself with a "demon" of ministry or of prayer.

Galilea first describes sixteen demons of prayer that include activism, sectarianism, entrenchment, pastoral envy and losing a sense of humor. In his analysis Galilea shares some succinct but sharp wisdom.

The second section lists twenty-one demons of prayer ranging from discouragement and neglecting one's lifestyle to putting quantity above quality and not putting sensations and feelings in their proper place.
I have this book and I periodically refer back to it to shake myself out of complacency. Galilea doesn't leave you much wiggle room. Everyone can find something to benefit from in this little book.


RAnn said...

Unfortunately that sounds like a book I could use. Thanks for the review. You did a good job with the review; have you considered joining either Tiber River or The Catholic Company's review programs?

Nod said...

That's very kind, RAnn, thank you; but most of the good stuff got said by Joseph I. Cisetti.


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