Introduction to the Spiritual Life: Walking the Path of Prayer with Jesus

Image. Nov. 2021. 336p. ISBN 9780525572763. $27. REL
Although Pitre (professor of scripture, the Augustine Inst.; Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist) has an advanced degree in theology from a major Catholic university, it was only after graduating that he discovered the richness of the Catholic spiritual tradition. He conveys his enthusiasm for learning Catholic tradition in this well-written introduction, aimed at readers who want to go beyond rote prayers and develop a deeper spiritual life. Drawing from several periods of Christian spirituality—the early Catholic Church, the Middle Ages, the early modern period—Pitre’s book treats of the first stage of the spiritual journey, the purgative stage. Basing his work in the Old and New Testaments as the origin of Christian spiritual life, Pitre identifies the Biblical foundations of key elements of Catholic spirituality: vocal prayer and meditation, remedies for temptation, spiritual exercises, sin and virtue, lectio divina (reading scripture prayerfully), and the dark night of the soul (spiritual dryness).
VERDICT Pitre offers a fine introduction to Catholic spiritual life that would be accessible to any reader seeking to go beyond simple prayers and discover the richness of the Catholic spiritual tradition; it might be appreciated by non-Catholic readers as well.
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