A great many religious people undertake, at least for a time, a serious dedication to prayer. They are moved by a longing for a deeper encounter with God, and the possibility of this beckons them as a distant light at night on the sea. Yet far fewer in number become true contemplative souls, for it is difficult to continue the quest for God in the face of many obstacles.
For those who are spiritually courageous and full of desire for God, this book cannot but provoke them to begin or to persevere in this ultimate adventure in life-the more complete discovery of the living God. Thematically unified by the notion of God's ultimate transcendence to our limited human knowledge, Contemplative Provocations offers a rich profusion of insights on the life of prayer and the pursuit of God.
A key to spiritual growth is the understanding that the hiddenness of God becomes a paradox in the experience of a soul seeking him wholeheartedly. Rather than enjoying a more intimate familiarity with God, the soul advancing in prayer is likely to experience more intensely, more provocatively, the concealment of God. This surprising truth undergirds true contemplative prayer. It is a reason why every contemplative soul, and every saint, is inflamed with a never satisfied thirst for God.
Fr. Donald Haggerty, of the Archdiocese of New York, is a Professor of Moral Theology at the Capuchin Institute of Philosophy and Theology in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He previously taught at Saint Joseph's Seminary in New York and Mount Saint Mary's Seminary in Maryland. He is the editor of Modern Moral Problems, a collection of writings by Msgr. William B. Smith.
The format and style of this book has a contemplative appeal. The reflections based upon the Church's rich tradition of contemplative prayer are short and concise, stimulating the intuition. They can be read independently a few at a time, or as a series of connected thoughts. Most importantly, they provoke a desire to enter more generously into one's own relationship with God."This is a masterful work. It contains a tremendous amount of very helpful spiritual advice."
- Fr. Joseph Koterski, S.J., Fordham University
"The work has the feel and style of a spiritual classic, and I hope it will be recognized as one."
- Rev. John J. Coughlin, O.F.M., University of Notre Dame
"Insights into the spiritual life far surpassing the vast majority of books on spirituality."
- John M. McDermott, S.J., Sacred Heart Major Seminary