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Sources of Transformation, Revitalising Christian Spirituality – Edward Howells & Peter Tyler

ISBN: 9781 4411 2575 0

Continuum, London & NY, 2010, 203 pp, £17.99

This is a collection of essays which encourages us to look again at classical texts of Christian spirituality as a means of encouraging our own spiritual growth, our transformation into Christ which is our lifetime’s work and will only be completed the other side of death, as Bernard McGinn, in the Preface, reminds us.

The essays in the first part range over topics such as the coming of the Holy Spirit in St Luke’s gospel, an under-standing of humans as ‘imago Dei’, reading as a transformative action, an overview of Anthony de Mello’s teaching on the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola, and Moninne/Darerca (a fifth century Irish woman) as an example of a visionary woman of faith.

In the second part of the book, shorter essays discuss topics such as a short work by  William of St Thierry, attitudes to the body in the fourteenth century with particular reference to the English mystics, the Carmelite Rule, and Teresa of Avila and ‘Waiting for Godot’ as a religious text.  The poet Patrick Kavanagh is discussed as someone for whom the Incarnation was recognised in a multitude of ways, and the final two essays are based on transformation through the recovery of sexual integrity.

While some of the essays will appeal much more to those who engage in the study of spirituality as an academic subject, others will invite the reader to a reappraisal of their own experience of faith and what nourishes it. There is encouragement to read literature – classical and modern, religious and secular – as texts that can facilitate spiritual growth and to consider one’s life experiences as vehicles for the power of the Holy Spirit to transform us into the people God calls us to be.

Maureen CSF