At the age of thirty, May 13, 1373, Julian was struck with a serious illness. As she prayed and prepared for death, she received a series of sixteen visions on the Passion of Christ and the Virgin Mary. Saved from the brink of death, Julian of Norwich dedicated her life to solitary prayer and the contemplation of the visions she had received. She wrote a short account of her visions probably soon after the event.
About twenty or thirty years after her illness, near the end of the fourteenth century, she wrote down her visions and her understanding of them. Whereas Latin was the language of religion in her day, Julian of Norwich wrote in a straightforward Middle English, perhaps because she had no other medium in which to express herself (she describes herself as a simple creature unlettered, Rev. chap. 2).
In brief lyrics and complex narratives, late medieval English writers including William Langland, Julian of Norwich, Walter Hilton, and the anonymous author of the Charters of Christ took the relationship between God and humanity as a jumping-off point for their meditations on the nature of language and thought, the elision between the concrete and the abstract, the complex relationship between acting and being, the work done by poetry itself in and through time, and the meaning latent within poetical forms. Where Passion-devoted writing would focus on the vulnerability and suffering of the fleshly body, these texts took imaginative leaps, such as when they depict the body of Christ as a lily or the written word. Their Incarnational poetics repeatedly call attention to the fact that, in theology as in poetics, form matters.
It is part of four works by John dealing with the so-called Dark Night of the Soul, when the individual Soul undergoes earthly and spiritual privations in search of union with God. Along with the other three, The Dark Night Of the Soul, The Living Flame of God and the Spiritual Canticle, it is regarded as one of the greatest works of mysticism in Christianity and in the Spanish language.
St. Teresa of Avila's detailed directions on the achievement of spiritual perfection designate three essentials — fraternal love, detachment from material things, and true humility. She discusses a variety of maxims related to the practice of prayer and concludes with a thought-provoking commentary on the Lord's Prayer. A work of sublime mystical beauty, The Way of Perfection is above all a treatise of utter simplicity that offers lucid instruction to all seekers of a more meaningful way of life.
He is known for his rich use of symbolism and imagery within his poetry.
Dark Night of the Soul is the title of a poem written by 16th-century Spanish poet and Roman Catholic mystic Saint John of the Cross, as well as of a treatise he wrote later, commenting on the poem.
In 1961 a young anthropologist subjected himself to an extraordinary apprenticeship to bring back a fascinating glimpse of a Yaqui Indian's world of "non-ordinary reality" and the difficult and dangerous road a man must travel to become "a man of knowledge." Yet on the bring of that world, challenging to all that we believe, he drew back.
Then in 1968, Carlos Castaneda returned to Mexico, to don Juan and his hallucinogenic drugs, and to a world of experience no man from our Western civilization had ever entered before.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Four Quartets is a rich composition that expands the spiritual vision introduced in “The Waste Land.” Here, in four linked poems (“Burnt Norton,” “East Coker,” “The Dry Salvages,” and “Little Gidding”), spiritual, philosophical, and personal themes emerge through symbolic allusions and literary and religious references from both Eastern and Western thought. It is the culminating achievement by a man considered the greatest poet of the twentieth century and one of the seminal figures in the evolution of modernism.
In seizing the inspiration that came to him through Rembrandt's depiction of the powerful Gospel story, Henri Nouwen probes the several movements of the parable: the younger son's return, the father's restoration of sonship, the elder son's vengefulness, and the father's compassion. In his reflection on Rembrandt in light of his own life journey, the author evokes a powerful drama of the parable in a rich, capativating way that is sure to reverberate in the hearts of readers. The themes of homecoming, affirmation, and reconciliation will be newly discovered by all who have known loneliness, dejection, jealousy, or anger. The challenge to love as the father and be loved as the son will be seen as the ultimate revelation of the parable known to Christians throughout time, and here represented with a vigor and power fresh for our times.
For all who ask, "Where has my struggle led me?" or for those "on the road" who have had the courage to embark on the journey but seek the illumination of a known way and safe passage, this work will inspire and guide each time it is read.
"The Return of the Prodigal Son is a beautiful book, as beautiful in the simple clarity of its wisdom as in the terrible beauty of the transformation to which it calls us." --New Oxford Review
THE CITY OF LADIES provides positive images of women, ranging from warriors and inventors, scholars to prophetesses, and artists to saints. The book also offers a fascinating insight into the debates and controversies about the position of women in medieval culture.
Gilbert Keith Chesterton was all of those things; a true renaissance man of the modern era, whose impact on modern Christianity, and Christian apologetics, is unfortunately becoming increasingly forgotten.
Although C. S. Lewis may be a more well-known Christian apologist across the denominations, it was the works of G. K. Chesterton who helped Lewis to re-embrace his Christian faith. Many are those who have found their way because G. K. Chesterton dared to believe in God and in miracles in an ever more secular and skeptical world.
His biographer, and president of the American Chesterton Society, Dale Ahlquist, called him “the most unjustly neglected writer of our time” — a title that is not entirely undeserved.
What can the call to discipleship, the adherence to the word of Jesus, mean today to the businessman, the soldier, the laborer, or the aristocrat? What did Jesus mean to say to us? What is his will for us today? Drawing on the Sermon on the Mount, Dietrich Bonhoeffer answers these timeless questions by providing a seminal reading of the dichotomy between “cheap grace” and “costly grace.” “Cheap grace,” Bonhoeffer wrote, “is the grace we bestow on ourselves...grace without discipleship....Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the girl which must be asked for, the door at which a man must know....It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life.”
The Cost of Discipleship is a compelling statement of the demands of sacrifice and ethical consistency from a man whose life and thought were exemplary articulations of a new type of leadership inspired by the Gospel, and imbued with the spirit of Christian humanism and a creative sense of civic duty.
J.R.R. Tolkien spent much of his life studying, translating and teaching the great epic stories of northern Europe, filled with heroes, dragons, trolls, dwarves and magic. He was hugely influential for his advocacy of Beowulf as a great work of literature and, even if he had never written The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, would be recognised today as a significant figure in the rediscovery of these extraordinary tales.
Legends from the Ancient North brings together from Penguin Classics five of the key works behind Tolkien's fiction.They are startling, brutal, strange pieces of writing, with an elemental power brilliantly preserved in these translations.They plunge the reader into a world of treachery, quests, chivalry, trials of strength.They are the most ancient narratives that exist from northern Europe and bring us as near as we will ever get to the origins of the magical landscape of Middle-earth (Midgard) which Tolkien remade in the 20th century.
· Extended excerpt of The Demonologist (in development with Robert Zemeckis and Universal Pictures)
· “Paradise Re-Read: An Essay”
· Q&A with Andrew Pyper
· “Demons of the World: A Selection”
A chilling and spellbinding literary horror story, The Demonologist follows Columbia professor David Ullman’s modern-day descent into hell. When his daughter, Tess, disappears, Professor Ullman—a lifelong skeptic—finds that he must suspend his disbelief and use his knowledge of demonic mythology, and Milton’s Paradise Lost, to rescue her from the Underworld.
Lao Tsu’s philosophy is simple: Accept what is in front of you without wanting the situation to be other than it is. Study the natural order of things and work with it rather than against it, for to try to change what is only sets up resistance. Nature provides everything without requiring payment or thanks. It does so without discrimination. So let us present the same face to everyone and treat them all as equals, however they may behave. If we watch carefully, we will see that work proceeds more quickly and easily if we stop “trying,” if we stop putting in so much extra effort, if we stop looking for results. In the clarity of a still and open mind, truth will be reflected. Te—which may be translated as “virtue” or “strength”—lies always in Tao meaning “the way” or “natural law.” In other words: Simply be.