TRUE PRAYER: An Invitation to Christian Spirituality by Kenneth Leech

TRUE PRAYER: An Invitation to Christian Spirituality

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A broad--perhaps too broad--and well-informed survey of the interior life from an Anglo-Catholic standpoint. Fr. Leech says that he wrote it with the ""ordinary, intelligent Christian in mind""; but, in his unassuming way, Leech manages to cite an array of ancient, medieval, and modern church fathers, mystics, and theologians that is liable to intimidate if not stagger the beginner. Still, his approach is for the most part traditional, and his exposition is uniformly clear and straightforward. About the only thing one might not expect in this sensible treatment of predictable topics like contemplation, penance, Eucharistic piety, obstacles to holiness, etc., is Leech's forthright insistence on the political implications of prayer. True spirituality impinges on everyday life not just because it necessarily leads to acts of charity, but because it is ""essentially subversive."" Christian prayer takes the believer on a collision course with the heartless and soulless structures of oppression that rule Modern Society. Christian worshippers, argues Leech, are ipso facto ""deserters from technocracy,"" and by the same token the Mass is a ""sacrament of equality in an unequal world."" Apart from this one flash of radicalism, however, Leech holds to a very moderate sort of liberal theology, and he has kind words for Marian devotion, the rosary, Benediction, and other practices congenial to conservatives. Given his subject, Leech is right in avoiding such painfully vexed questions as the status of Scripture, the nature of God, the afterlife, and so forth. So his book will appeal to those hungry for religious experience rather than to critical seekers. But for anyone in the former group (assuming R.C./High Church sympathies), it should be a reliable and useful guide.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1980
Publisher: Harper & Row