Five Pillars of the Spiritual Life: A Practical Guide to Prayer for Active People


Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, presents his profound meditations on the nature and person of God, building a bridge between theology and spirituality as he makes wide use of the Sacred Scriptures to reveal the beauty and mystery of who God is. He writes about each of the three persons in the Holy Trinity, showing the different attributes of each person, and that "God is three and God is one."

God is-and the Christian faith adds: God is as ...
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Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, presents his profound meditations on the nature and person of God, building a bridge between theology and spirituality as he makes wide use of the Sacred Scriptures to reveal the beauty and mystery of who God is. He writes about each of the three persons in the Holy Trinity, showing the different attributes of each person, and that "God is three and God is one."

God is-and the Christian faith adds: God is as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three and one. This is the very heart of Christianity, but it is so often shrouded in a silence born of perplexity. Has the Church perhaps gone one step too far here? Ought we not rather leave something so great and inaccessible as God in his inaccessibility? Can something like the Trinity have any real meaning for us? It is certainly true that the proposition that "God is three and God is one" is and remains the expression of his otherness, which is infinitely greater than us and transcends all our thinking and our existence. But, as Cardinal Ratzinger shows, if this proposition meant nothing to us, it would not have been revealed! And as a matter of fact, it could be clothed in human language only because it had already penetrated human thinking and living to some extent.

" Without Jesus, we do not know what "Father" truly is. This becomes visible in his prayer, which is the foundation of his being. A Jesus who was not continuously absorbed in the Father, and was not in continuous intimate communication with him, would be a completely different being from the Jesus of the Bible, the real Jesus of history . . . In Jesus' prayer, the Father becomes visible and Jesus makes himself known as the Son. The unitywhich this reveals is the Trinity. Accordingly, becoming a Christian means sharing in Jesus' prayer, entering into the model provided by his life, i.e. the model of prayer. Becomng a Christian means saying "Father" with Jesus, and thus becoming a child, God's son-God-in the unity of the Spirit, who allows us to be ourselves and precisely in this way draws us into the unity of God. Being a Christian means looking at the world from this central point, which gives us freedom, hope, decisiveness, and consolation."
-Pope Benedict XVI
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781586172015
  • Publisher: Ignatius Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2008
  • Pages: 171
  • Sales rank: 382,079
  • Product dimensions: 6.02 (w) x 9.13 (h) x 0.44 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction     13
First Pillar: The Holy Eucharist     15
Introduction     15
The Institution and Grace of the Eucharist     15
The Eucharist as Universal Prayer     19
The Eucharist and the Liturgy     22
The Eucharist and the Other Sacraments     23
Summary     24
Second Pillar: Spontaneous Prayer     26
Introduction     26
Prayers in Times of Trial, Suffering, and Anxiety     26
Prayers for Forgiveness     30
Prayers Offering Forgiveness     33
"Thy Will Be Done"     36
Third Pillar: The Beatitudes     39
Introduction     39
Blessed Are the Humble-Hearted (the Poor in Spirit)     42
Blessed Are the Gentle-Hearted (Meek)     47
Blessed Are Those Who Hunger and Thirst for the Will of God (Holiness)     51
Blessed Are the Forgiving and Merciful     52
Blessed Are the Pure of Heart     58
Blessed Are the Peacemakers     60
God in Light of the Beatitudes     61
Fourth Pillar: Partnership with the Holy Spirit Peace, Inspiration, and Transformation     66
Introduction     66
A Peace Beyond AllUnderstanding     66
Peace in Times of Suffering     67
Peace in Times of Persecution     68
The Peace Necessary for Good Judgment     69
Inspiration and Guidance     70
Words of Help and Edification     71
The Sensus Fidei     72
Guidance on Our Way     74
Transformation in the Heart of Christ     76
Working with the Holy Spirit     80
Fourth Pillar: Partnership with the Holy Spirit (Continued) Consolation, Desolation, and Spiritual Discernment     83
Introduction     83
Spiritual Consolation and Desolation     84
Affective Consolation and Desolation     86
Affective Consolation     86
Affective Desolation     91
Three Rules for the Discernment of Spirits     95
Fifth Pillar: The Contemplative Life. Getting Started: Building a Contemplative Base     100
Introduction     100
Creation     103
Creation of Our Human Souls     105
Redemption in Jesus Christ     107
The Presence and Guidance of the Holy Spirit in Our Lives     115
Fifth Pillar: The Contemplative Life (Continued) Ignatian Contemplation on the Heart of Jesus      123
Introduction     123
The Wedding Feast at Cana (Jn 2:1-11)     124
The Call of Nathanael (Jn 1:43-50)     125
The Samaritan Woman (Jn 4:1-29)     127
A Collage of Peter     129
The Death of Lazarus (Jn 11:1-57)     132
The Road to Emmaus (Lk 24:13-32)     135
The Prodigal Son (Lk 15:11-32)     138
A Note on Contemplating the Mysteries of the Rosary     143
Fifth Pillar: The Contemplative Life (Continued) Contemplation in Everyday Life     147
Introduction     147
Praise     148
From Gratitude to the Freedom to Love: The Examen Prayer     152
Epilogue     159
A Checklist for Growth in the Spiritual Life     167
References     169

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  • Posted August 22, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Worth reading over and over

    Father Spitzer presents a wonderful program for deepening personal spirituality by following recommendations that have a decidedly Jesuit aspect - and that is a very good thing. His writing is clear, he uses himself for examples of learning experiences, his kindness and love for his fellow humans is evident. I will read this over and over and have given a copy to my husband, saying to him "this may be the best gift I have ever given anyone."

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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