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Christian Meditation


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James Finley is a former Trappist monk who studied closely with Thomas Merton. He is the author of Thomas Merton's Palace of Nowhere. He is now a renowned psychological and spiritual counselor in Santa Monica, CA, who leads retreats and workshops on a regular basis throughout North America.


Finley, a spiritual counselor who studied with Thomas Merton, presents a clear introduction to meditating as a Christian. He situates meditation-by which he principally means "a form of prayerful reflection, using thoughts and images"-in a historic tradition of Christian spiritual practice. The book's first seven chapters examine some major themes of Christian meditation, e.g. "entering the mind of Christ" and "hearing the Lord's voice." Finley is to be commended especially for the way he interweaves theology and practice, as in his examination of the role of the body in Christian meditation. Through meditation, we learn to inhabit our bodies better, he observes, and gain insight into the true meaning of the Incarnation-the Word becoming flesh. Another section that deserves special mention is the treatment of "Trinitarian mysticism." Many Christian titles aimed at a broad market skip over the complicated doctrine of the Trinity, but Finley suggests that meditating on the triune nature of the Christian God is crucial. These heady discussions are rounded out by concluding chapters-a revision of portions of Finley's 2000 title The Contemplative Heart-that are full of practical instruction. The evangelical market may find this title a bit too New Agey, but many other Christian readers will delight in it. (June) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Finley, a former Trappist monk and student of Thomas Merton, has written a very fine study of the practice of Christian meditation, considering-among many other matters-the importance of simple tasks such as breathing naturally. Meditation, Finley concedes, involves coming to terms with many difficulties, but its result is an ever-deepening contact with what he terms "the oceanic love of God," and the effect of that contact goes well beyond personal religious reward. While Finley does not write with the creative charm of his master, Merton, many readers should find this an indispensable companion to Merton's works and their own spiritual journeys. Highly recommended. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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