The Pursuit of Holiness

The Pursuit of Holiness
£9.95

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'Holiness is a word that may well alarm many potential readers; it suggests something solemn and hushed, at best something for only a few people, something belonging to admirable but not -- if we're honest -- a ll that attractive figures. Stephen Haskell offers us in this lucid, learned and intelligent book a wide-ranging picture of how the teachings of the great Carmelite spiritual reformers of the sixteenth century, Teresa and John of the Cross, can be understood and applied in all our lives, so that we grow in that authentic and joyful humanity for which we were made. And this is holiness -- not an 'extra' added to the human mix, but the essentially human, stripped of the embarrassing, destructive and futile habits with which we normally cover it up.'


Rowan Williams
Magdalene College, Cambridge

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'Holiness is a word that may well alarm many potential readers; it suggests something solemn and hushed, at best something for only a few people, something belonging to admirable but not -- if we're honest -- all that attractive figures. Stephen Haskell offers us in this lucid, learned and intelligent book a wide-ranging picture of how the teachings of the great Carmelite spiritual reformers of the sixteenth century, Teresa and John of the Cross, can be understood and applied in all our lives, so that we grow in that authentic and joyful humanity for which we were made. And this is holiness -- not an 'extra' added to the human mix, but the essentially human, stripped of the embarrassing, destructive and futile habits with which we normally cover it up.

Stephen Haskell begins with a brilliant summary of the sophisticated teachings of Teresa and John, but immediately turns to practical issues around our daily routines and vivid examples of the choices we face in those routines, the choices which if we understand them aright are about how we grow or fail to grow in holiness. We see that what the great contemplative saints have to say about the spiritual journey is not about a purely interior series of refinements but very specifically about the constant discernment of where God is calling us away from the slavery of our self-concern and our false and distorting perceptions of the world we live in and the people we live with.

Holiness, the Bible suggests, is something to do with truth: Jesus prays in the Gospel of St John that his friends will be 'sanctified in the truth', and this book shows how our friendship with God opens up new levels of truthfulness just as it leads us to new levels of at-homeness with God. This is a really unusual work of profound pastoral theology, accessible to all, coming out of a deep contemplative encounter with God in Christ that pervades the whole of human existence. We learn here about how we may better understand our sacramental practice, our engagement in Christian service in the world and our calling deeper into the silence in which the true God can make himself known to us as our fantasies about him and ourselves are put aside. I have found it a treasure of wisdom and insight and am very grateful indeed to Stephen for writing it.'

Rowan Williams
Magdalene College, Cambridge

FOREWORD by Rowan Williams.

STEPHEN HASKELL was born in 1931. He won scholarships to Eton College and Cambridge, where he obtained  firsts in Classics and English. He also has an MA in Christian Spirituality from Heythrop College. Most of his working life was spent in teaching; but after a severe breakdown he became a milkman for seven years. He has a stepdaughter and two daughters, and lives in London.

 

Additional Information

Additional Information

Title The Pursuit of Holiness
Author Stephen Haskell
Price £9.95
Format Paperback
Dimensions 13 x 21 cm
Printed Pages 224
Publisher St Pauls Publishing
Year Of Publication 2016
Isbn / Product Code 9781910365052
Reviews

Customer Reviews 4 item(s)

Very readable, full of insight
I can only agree with Rowan Williams' introduction - this is an inspiring and insightful book about prayer. It is well written and easy to read. I recommend it.
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Review by Clare / (Posted on 17/05/2016)
Excellent introduction to a spiritual way for our busy world
Much of the advice on spirituality that we receive has its origin in monastic or clerical situations, and cannot readily be applied to the lives of busy laypeople. Most of us simply do not, for example, have the opportunity to devote hours each day to prayer and contemplative practices.This book, written in an attractive and simple style, focuses on a strand of traditional practice that is applicable to the lives of all of us. This is the "little way" of St.Therese of Lisieux, which some have tended to dismiss because of the apparent sentimentality of some her writings. To be put off in this way is, the author convinces us, is to fail to see the wood for the trees. He sets Therese's work within the wider perspectives of the Carmelite tradition, and shows - by many simple examples of the kind of situation in which we all find ourselves - that this "little way" can provide a helpful path even for the busiest laypeople. The book is a good historical introduction but it is, above all, a practical guide, which should be widely read both within and beyond the Roman Catholic church to which the author belongs. The former Archbishop of Canterbury has called this book "a treasure of wisdom and insight" and his judgment will surely be shared by all who read it.
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Review by Father Christopher Knight, Rector of the Orthodox Parish of the Holy Transfiguration, Walsingham. / (Posted on 11/05/2016)
A very positive read - whatever your faith, or lack of it.
A remarkable book. Remarkable for its unobtrusive learning, for its elegant but simple style and for its sheer usefulness to its readers. But not only a remarkable book, as Rowan Williams points out in his Introduction, but a book to keep at our side, as 'a guide' philosopher and friend.'
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Review by Paul / (Posted on 09/05/2016)
An invaluable bridge between the writings of the mystics and lay people in conventional busy lives.
Stephen Haskell's book seeks, successfully, to make the writings of St Teresa of Avila and St John of the Cross accessible to all of us who are not in the monastic situations of their first readers. He also writes of the more direct counsel of St Therese of Lisieux.
For lay people there are formidable problems, with the mystics, of finding time to read, let alone absorb, the key texts; and then to work out how to practice what one has learnt in the rush of daily family and working life. Stephen's book makes this possible while in no way trivialising the authors' teaching.
The book would make an excellent challenge for an Advent or Lent study group, not solely in the Catholic tradition. It would also stimulate, if it could find them,the many people outside the churches who seek spiritual sustenance and know it is to be found, but who cannot find it yet within the walls of our churches.
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Review by Anthony / (Posted on 26/04/2016)

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