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Friday, 29 October 2021 13:19

Book Review: Walk With Us

This work of 176 pages collects some of the presentations given at the 2016 International Course for Formators and Vocation Promoters of the Order in Batu, Malang, Indonesia. So one would logically think it is for those involved in Carmelite formation programs. And you would be correct.

The title however, with its subtitle Growing in the Contemplative Dimension of One’s Life, would indicate its focus on something much larger than topics in Carmelite formation programs. And you would be correct. In fact, I picked the book up because of its apparent focus on how to develop one’s contemplative side. I was not disappointed.

This book really has four possible audiences: formators but not necessarily of Carmelite programs; those interested in the Bible as a source of contemplation and specifically the Carmelite history of contemplation; some of the psychological aspects of human development; and vocation ministry. There is something for people of each focus in one or the other parts of the book.

The schedule of the conference called for conferences to be held in the morning and practices of contemplative prayer in the afternoon—a purposeful integration of theory and practice.

I wish to focus here on the first two talks. The first talk, The Bible as the Source of Contemplation, is, as its author Carmelite Berthold Pareira states upfront, “not about contemplation in the Bible but about the Bible as the source of contemplation.” Fr. Pareira takes the reader through a myriad of examples to bring home this point. What is most appreciative is that it a practical guide to liturgy, the psalms, the Song of Songs, and contemplation.

The second talk is a historical review of contemplation in Carmelite history by German Carmelite Michael Plattig. But do not let yourself fall into thinking this is just another history lesson. I have had the pleasure of hearing Plattig “live” on a couple of occasions. But his written word is just as engaging. The material he presents is thought provoking even for those who have heard conferences before on the Order’s long history with the practice of contemplation.

Other chapters in the book focus on two talks by Quinn Conners, O. Carm.: “The ability to give love and give of oneself” and “The capacity for responsible are and stewardship, expressed in ‘service in the midst of the people;’” and two talks by Spanish Carmelite Desiderio García Martínez: “With other eyes: accompanying formandi in a multicultural community that grows through contemplation” and “We are going to build ourselves a city: accompanying formandi growing in contemplation in the presence of the influence of technology.” The book concludes with two chapters on vocations ministry. One is by Daryl Moresco on “The theological basis of vocation promotion.” The other is by Irvin Mangmang on “Rising to the Challenge of Vocation Ministry in the 21st Century: the Philippine Experience.”

The book is published by Edizioni Carmelitane, and the price is 10 euros.

Click here to access this and other many fine publications at Edizioni Carmelitane.

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