Spiritual Book News

January 14, 2022

Karl Rahner, the pre-eminent Catholic theologian of our century, once said: “In the coming age we must all become mystics – or be nothing at all.” In an engaging and readable manner, Frank Tuoti – a former Trappist and student of Thomas Merton – invites us to respond to Rahner’s challenge. He lays out the foundations of a Christian mysticism that is available to all and discusses the basic steps and stages of contemplative prayer. “We are all mystics at our core,” he says, “since God’s own seed is within us. Indeed it is this very seed which holds us lovingly in being.”

Tuoti draws liberally from contemporary writers such as Thomas Merton, Thomas Keating, and George Maloney, as well as from the works of Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, and The Cloud of Un/mowing. The book, however, is neither a complex treatise nor a derivative text. Rather, it is a clear introductory guidebook for those beginning or already engaged in the practice of contemplative prayer. It possesses the great virtue of simplicity, written by one who has learned through experience the value of what he describes. A married layman, Tuoti says he lived a “checkered life” after his time at the Abbey of Gethsemani, having “crashed and burned” numerous times but still struggling to live a contemplative life in the midst of a tough world.

In concise, sensible chapters Tuoti addresses a host of practical concerns: how to find time for prayer, how to handle distractions, what attitudes are needed during periods of darkness, and how to choose a spiritual director. He gives wise advice on the need for silence, on the relationship between personality and prayer styles, and on the transformation of the self through prayer.

This is an excellent handbook on contemplative prayer filled with engaging stories from many spiritual traditions and wonderful quotes from spiritual masters new and old.

We would love for you to receive our newsletter and update emails. Please subscribe here.