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At the root of all our longing is a profound hunger for God. It's a hunger that can't be satisfied with feel-good recipes or pious platitudes. It is, in reality, the same hunger that has for centuries motivated the world's great spiritual teachers, a hunger only God can fill.
Here is a book that takes this God hunger seriously by providing 50 challenging experiences for the soul built around the core spiritual insights of ten great Western mystics (Christian, Jewish, and Islamic).
Crossing centuries and traditions, it takes the searcher on a journey of discovery of the very best that Western spirituality has to offer. It leads the reader on an accessible path from the Islamic poet Rumi in the 13th century to the monk an mystic Thomas Merton in the 20th, from Gregory of Nyssa in the 4th century to the Kaballah in the 12th, and on to C.S. Lewis and Evelyn Underhill, mystics of our time.
About the Author:
Born in 1932, John Kirvan grew up in near poverty in a small Canadian town where his father earned six dollars a week as a truck driver. Flying through eight grades in six years, Kirvan spent his teenage years writing newspaper columns about Big Bands and the birth of jazz -- all the while working in a barbershop frequently raided as a bookie joint.
Never graduating from high school, Kirvan entered the seminary and managed to get an M.A. in religious studies and an M.S. in Library Science at the Catholic University of America. While at the University, he started a publishing agency -- the Paulist Writers Bureau.
Ordained in 1958, Kirvan became a seminary professor and began to write about theology and the arts in his spare time. That hobby led to regular appearances on NBC's Catholic Hour, and a program called Religion and the Arts.
A chaplain at Wayne State University in Detroit from 1963-1968, Kirvan was a leader for students who added religious restlessness to their political concerns. In between entertaining the FBI, who raided his campus facility every time he changed the locks, Kirvan wrote about his experience with his students in the bestselling book Restless Believers.
In 1974 Kirvan left the priesthood to devote his energies to all aspects of publishing, working with his own company and later with Winston Press and C.R. Gibson.
In the 1980s, Kirvan took a break from the publishing business to run a California art gallery specializing in glass and ceramics. Calling this period "the most important in my life," Kirvan was finally able to separate the spiritual needs of ordinary folks from institutional agendas. Growing intensely aware of the enormous spiritual hunger that had become part of a generation that knew much about pain and suffering, death and dying, Kirvan developed a dozen books on the mystics in the series 30 Days With a Great Spiritual Teacher.
Currently, Kirvan is the director of product development for Sorin Books. He lives in southern California.
|Publisher:||Ave Maria Press|
|Product dimensions:||4.39(w) x 7.24(h) x 0.49(d)|
Read an Excerpt
For the first time in our adult lives many of us are freely admitting to an aching spiritual emptiness, the full depth of which we are only gradually becoming aware.
The good news is that it is now possible to make this admission without being considered a religious nut -- or a psychotic.
The bad news is that "spirituality" is in danger of becoming a meaningless word used to describe anything that can't be tied down, a synonym for warm-fuzziness.
The world-class model hyping her book of beauty hints on TV reduces spirituality to "the big beauty tip of the decade." Others diminish spirituality to the instant, unquestioning acceptance of a pet, the after-glow of a tennis tournament, or the interior decor of a blues club.
We are offered pop psychology, greeting-card wisdom, and gift-book comfort. They are not enough to satisfy the wrenching spiritual hunger that many of us are feeling. "The very best" is no longer good enough. From experience we know we need more than the "fix" of a self-help book, or even the rewards of the most responsible therapy. We know that the spiritual life we seek goes far beyond and deeper than being well adjusted. We know, too, that the spirituality for which we hunger is not the same as a renewed morality, that it goes beyond a life of good behavior, kind deeds and motivations. It goes beyond an archeological dig into childhood religion. We need more than talk of "soul" that reduces our spirit to a measure of energy.
We are more than a little weary of spiritual junk food.
We are beginning to realize that we hunger for God and that for far too long we have settled for far too little. This basic, primal hunger for God may be the least recognized and acknowledged aspect of today's highly publicized spiritual quest and our own personal journey.
We want what the great mystics, sought and found -- not an occasional comforting word but a perspective-shattering glimpse of God, not one more promise of bliss in ten days and ten steps but a here-and-now taste of eternity. Nothing less will satisfy this hunger, too long denied.
Table of Contents
Part One: God Hunger
Part Two: God Seeking: 50 Experiences for the Soul
Longing -- C.S. Lewis
Looking -- Thomas Merton
Home -- Rumi
Foolishness -- Ramon Lull
More -- Gregory of Nyssa
Dying -- Francis of Assisi
Unknowing -- Angelus Silesius
Ayin (Nothingness) -- The Kabbalah
Passion -- Hildegard of Bingen
Resurrection -- Evelyn Underhill