Contemplative Enigmas

Insights and Aid on the Path to Deeper Prayer

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Despite signs in recent decades of a crisis in the Church, a countercurrent of intense interest in prayer and a close relationship with God is clearly at work today. A deeper esteem for contemplation has accompanied this turning to prayer, and many people desire spiritual direction and guidance.

Written by a recognized expert on contemplative prayer, this book concentrates on the interior hardships experienced by souls who give themselves to God wholeheartedly. More than a summary of the symptoms of interior trial, these poignant observations are the fruit of the author's many years in retreat work. Personal experience, not simply knowledge of the spiritual tradition, inform his concise, carefully crafted comments.

Throughout the book, the writing invites the reader to ponder the subject of spiritual darkness, perplexity, and other struggles in the spiritual life always in the light of the loving God, who draws souls into greater surrender to himself.

Fr. Donald Haggerty

Fr. Donald Haggerty, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, has been a Professor of Moral Theology at St. Joseph's Seminary in New York and Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Maryland. He has a long association as a spiritual director for Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity. He is the author of the books Contemplative Hunger and Contemplative Provocations.

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"This penetrating yet accessible, deep but readable guide will leave us more consoled, competent, and conversant in the noble art of prayer."
— Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York 

"Father Haggerty's keen insights are a great aid to seeing that the enigma of darkness in prayer is not a sign that something is wrong. The book is an unusual enticement to richer prayer, firmer faith, and greater love for the One we hope to see face to face."
Father Sebastian White, O.P., Editor-in-Chief, Magnifica

"A tonic for those who struggle to remain faithful to prayer over the long haul. Its short meditations encourage anyone who experiences times of aridity and weariness. At the same time, they offer a challenge and a summons."
—Sister Sara Butler, M.S.B.T., Professor Emerita of Theology, University of St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein, IL

"Even saints sometimes find the ways of God baffling and seek to make sense out of the enigmas they encounter in prayer. Father Haggerty shares some of their great secrets for both those experienced in prayer and those just beginning."
—Romanus Cessario, O.P., Saint John's Seminary, Brighton, MA

"A substantive work of profound truth born of Father Haggerty's own suffering to remain in prayer. No other recent book in Catholic spiritual living has led me into prayer more often than this one."
—Deacon James Keating, Ph.D., Director of Theological Formation, Institute for Priestly Formation, Omaha, NE

"With reverent honesty, Father Haggerty encourages us as we respond to God's undeniable promptings to an ever deeper union."
—Mother Agnes Mary Donovan, S.V., Sisters of Life

"In words both simple and piercing, Father Haggerty bids us enter into that contemplative silence which is at once dark cloud and burning bush."
—Father Robert Imbelli, Associate Professor Emeritus of Theology, Boston College; Author, Rekindling the Christic Imagination

"With extraordinary lucidity, intelligence, and faith, Contemplative Enigmas illuminates a path for us in the encounter with the great mystery that is God."
—Archbishop Charles Brown, Apostolic Nuncio, Albania